Work-Life Balance Isn't Just a Mom Thing

Single women want more time and freedom, too

Hey, guess what? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, moms aren’t the only ones striving for work-life balance. The childless and unmarried wonder whether the climb to the top of the corporate ladder is worth everything they have to give up -- namely time and sanity.

Before we enter into the family phase of our lives, we’re supposed to be hungry, ambitious, driven and willing to give up everything for our career (outside interests -- what are those?). But, believe it or not, lots of single women (and men) don’t want to be tied to their desk for 70, 60 or even 50 hours a week, either. In fact, a More magazine survey found that 68 percent of women without kids say they would prefer more time over more money, compared to 62 percent of women with children.

I don’t think it’s a product of women waiting longer to have kids, as the article suggests, so much as it’s a reaction to the demand to spend more hours at the office. After all, who works 40 hours a week anymore? Growing up, I never wanted to get married or have kids (I’m now married and contemplating starting a family), so my career was all I thought about: How to get ahead, how to make money, how to be at the top of my field. When I started to achieve all of those things, I found that -- surprise -- it wasn’t all that satisfying.

Even when I worked a reasonable nine-hour day, I still wouldn’t get home until 7:30, which meant there was time to make a nice dinner or go to the gym, but not both. Then, in those three and a half hours before bed, I was supposed to check the Blackberry and respond to emails, and I still hadn’t had any downtime yet. So I left the corporate world and started freelancing.

Though I’d love to say that I have all the freedom in the world now, I don’t. Some months, I work every weekend in order to meet my deadlines. Other months, I wonder if my paychecks will cover the bills. But for the most part, I do have much more leisure time to pursue interests that blissfully have nothing to do with work. My bank account may be poorer for it, but my life is so much richer. 

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