The Downside of the Upside

Have you made it to the corner office only to find yourself having trouble in the kitchen, the nursery or the bedroom?

Professional success is a funny thing, especially for women. You seek it for years—attending the best schools, working weekends, skipping vacations and missing dance recitals and little league games for business dinners.

There is no magic wand you can wave to finish that presentation, put a homemade meal on the table, tuck the kids into bed and spend a few minutes of quality time with your spouse before the 10 o’clock news. But, if you make some changes in your thinking and routines, you may find that “having it all” isn’t quite as impossible as it seems.

Ann Farrell, a Winfield corporate success coach, former Fortune 200 executive, wife and mother, says women who are juggling high-powered careers and families “inflict a lot of agony” on themselves. “Having it all is about passion, not perfection,” Farrell says.

Hard-working women sometimes make themselves crazy trying to create the perfect home, raise the perfect children and be perfect leaders. “We beat ourselves up for our failings instead of giving ourselves kudos for what we accomplish,” Farrell says.

The first step to reclaiming your sanity is to set boundaries, Farrell says. That can mean declaring the bedroom a “no Blackberry zone” or committing to eating dinner with your family five nights a week.

Another area where successful women often struggle is taking time for themselves. Farrell advises carving out time every day (other than your morning shower!) when no one is asking you to do anything.

“If we don’t make time to ‘put our own oxygen mask on first,’ then we become resentful every time we see our spouses making time for themselves,” Farrell says.

Even simple things like a 10-minute walk or a nightly journaling session can do wonders for your state of mind.