Why this site?

I became a wife, a mother and a stepmother in the span of a year. And I worked full time. For some reason, that was the year I decided I also had to get an MBA. A friend asked why me I would want to add graduate school to an already bursting-at-the-seams professional and family life.

“This is 2003, women are now liberated.” I protested. “We can have it all.” About three months later, I ran smack into the concept of “work-life balance.” That’s all anyone talked about as the solution for living a sane existence. For half a year or so I aimed to do just that: balance work and life. But the more I tried, the more I felt like a circus performer balancing precariously on a tightrope, about to fall off either side at a moment’s notice. I kept praying for a net.

Finally, one sleep deprived night in the midst of changing diapers and cramming for an economics exam, I concluded that the notion of work-life balance was a load of proverbial “ca-ca.” Who was the bright-eyed genius who thought this idea up?

Women seem have been struggling with how to manage this three legged chair for decades. Each generation seems to have responded by pulling against the choices of the previous. The 1940s Rosie the Riveter swings to the 1950s belle greeting hubby at the door with cocktails. The recent “mommy wars” versus “the “mommy track” provoked a groundswell of debate and angst, pitting women’s choices against each other. Is “work-life balance” just another pendulum swing? Did “work-life balance” emerge because the 1990s idea of “superwoman” couldn’t cut it?

“The trick, I think,” I remembering saying in a graduate school class. “Is to get all the pieces of one’s world moving in a complementary direction: I bring my work experience to school; what I am learning in the MBA makes me a better employee and being in class for three hours once a week, feels like a vacation from my much-loved family. It all works if I imagine all the parts of my life integrated with each other.”

I’ve started to think this way as my own antidote to the tightrope. I wrote an essay in the Boston Globe about why that is so: “For Maximum Efficiency Call on a Mother”

How does change happen? Sometimes you have to mandate it, with laws and policies and regulations. And sometimes a groundswell of conversation tips it over. People shake it up in a blender. Maybe taking the pressure of having to achieve work-life balance tightrope might lead to new world of invention.

I want to learn from other women and yes, even men, how they orchestrate this work-life integration in their own lives. So this blog is born.

I am a former radio and television producer and a creative writer. What better way to learn than to talk to others? I hope this will be a place to post comments and a conversation. I hope that others – including my two beautiful step-daughters — can invent lives beyond “work-life balance.”

Stay tuned..

Miranda Daniloff

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