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Work-Life Balance Does Not Exist, Except Maybe For Lesbians.

Struggling to find balance between your career and home life? Forget it, says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. There’s no such thing.

“So there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance,” said Sandberg.That doesn’t mean she doesn’t try. She pumped breastmilk between meetings at the office when her kids were babies, and has made a quiet habit of leaving work at the reasonable hour of 5:30 so she can eat dinner with her kids.

But none of this would be possible, says Sandberg, without the support of her spouse. It is crucially important, she says, for women who want to get ahead in the work world after having kids to find the right husband. Or better yet, the right wife.

“The most important thing — and I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it a hundred times — if you marry a man, marry the right one,” she said. “If you can marry a woman, that’s better because the split between two women in the home is pretty even, the data shows.”

Sandberg maintains that the uneven split of parenting responsibilities is the major reason women are not as successful as men in the work world. In order for women to take on their jobs with equal commitment, they need to have less responsibility at home. And even when women and men do share workloads, women are saddled with something men don’t seem to experience: Guilt.

“I feel guilty when my son says, ‘Mommy, put down the BlackBerry, talk to me’ and that happens far too much. I think all women feel guilty. I think what’s interesting is I don’t know many men who feel guilty,”

Does that guilt go both ways? Sandberg admits she has been keeping the fact that she leaves work so early to herself. Instead, she made an effort to show her dedication at other times of the day, sending work emails at 5:30 AM and late at night.  But now that she’s out of the closet, she’s hoping to make more parents—Dads too— feel okay about prioritizing their families as well as their jobs.

Sheryl is part of the very cool PBS/AOL initiative MAKERS which aims to raise awareness of women who are making a difference.  You can see her take on these issues on video at makers.com.

I see work-life balance as a kind of see-saw. It’s a rare and fleeting moment when the weight is equal on both sides. The key, for me, is to keep the weight moving steadily from one side to the other, so that neither is left hanging.  I do often wonder about the de facto expectations of the sexes, though. Do women who marry women really have it easier?

[Via Huffington Post]

image: makers.com



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