Balancing Act

According to a 2005 survey by the U.S. Depart — ment of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 survey, more than 70% of women with children work outside the home. With an increasing number of these women climbing the corporate ranks, balancing personal goals and career aspirations continues to be a struggle. The demanding expectations of fast — paced industries in competition with hectic family schedules can overwhelm even the most powerful working mothers. A recent survey found that one in four working moms said they were dissatisfied with their work — life balance. So how do you find your equilibrium? BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to two executive mothers who admit it’s not easy and agree that it can’t be achieved without support. Here are their suggestions for how to gain control and create balance.

Wonya Lucas, 45, General Manager and Executive Vice President of marketing,The Weather Channel Networks

If I need to make a call home while I’m traveling for work, I do it. If I need to finish a project report at 3:00 a.m. so I can leave work early to attend a school function, I do that too.”

Lucas, a mother of two daughters, Alexis, 13, and Sydney, 10, describes her approach to managing work and family life as “integrated.” Her girls accompany her to company — sponsored, community volunteer activities on the weekends; conversely, she frequently engages them in the television business, discussing promotion strategies and programming for the networks they watch.

“I find I’m much more efficient and sane when I’m wife, mother, and television executive 24 hours of the day,” says Lucas, who admits she’s not much for compartmentalizing. “My goal is to do what needs to be done. I’m not as concerned with when or where I do it.”

Lucas, who has worked for corporate mammoths that include The Coca — Cola Co. and The Clorox Co., says that a flexible company work philosophy and schedule has allowed her to manage the different aspects of her life. “At the end of the day I accomplish my work goals and provide high — quality work in exchange for the opportunity to work in a way that satisfies me both professionally and personally.”

Lucas shares these tips:
Put first things first. Because Lucas doesn’t adhere to strict work and family hours, she says it’s essential that she prioritize what needs to be done. While her family is always her most important concern, she explains that a company audit that needs to be completed today takes priority over working on her daughter’s science project due at the end of the week.

Keep the lines of communication open. “Don’t keep your efforts to balance your career with that of your personal life secret,” says Lucas. “Discuss your priorities with your boss, your spouse, your co — workers, and your children.” She has an extensive support system that includes her executive assistant; her mother; her husband, Bruce; and her daughters’ nanny.

Stick to the agenda. The family keeps one calendar for all of their activities in a central location. Writing down an out —