With women increasingly assuming home and career responsibilities, work-life balance is paramount to feeling accomplished personally and professionally.
Since 1960, the number of mothers serving as the primary earners for their household increased from 11 percent to 40 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Moreover, 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force with more than 75 percent of them employed full-time.
“The roles of women have changed, and they will continue to change,” says Mary Hauptman, president of the Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women. “We all have 24 hours in the day. It’s how you use them that’s important.”
Achieving harmony between family and career is an everlasting work in progress for most Long Island women — but one that if successful, could be rich in rewards.
Stacey Rees, of Northport, is married with four children. She and her husband, Kyle, opened Island Kids Early Childhood Center (two locations), prior to the birth of their first child. Organization, flexibility and collaboration are what she says keep both her family and her business up and running.
“My children have all had chores from very young ages and we work as a team to make our larger family run a little smoother,” she says, noting that family members’ responsibilities may change depending on the daily schedule and needs.
“Delegation” is key at work and at home, she says. “It is important that my staff all understand and can fully carry out our vision for the schools.”
“I know most people say you can’t have it all, but I would beg to disagree,” says Laura Maier of Massapequa.
Maier and her husband, Jeff, have three boys ages 3, 9, and 11 years old. The Maiers are franchise owners of Dairy Queen Grill & Chill (Massapequa, Levittown, Huntington and East Northport) and of Jersey Mike’s Subs (Farmingdale, Massapequa Park and Lindenhurst). Laura Maier plans to run for Town Board of Oyster Bay in the fall. The secret to her family’s success is having “an amazing husband and awesome kids, a supportive family, and restaurant managers that really care and are invested in the company.”
To keep home and businesses operating efficiently, the Maier family strives to maintain an open line of communication. Working outside the home sets an example for her children, she says.
“I’m teaching them that it is just as important for a woman to earn a living as it is for a man,” she says.
Administrating Facebook moms’ group, Long Island Amazing Moms of Nassau and Suffolk, which boasts nearly 22,000 members, has given Fran Daniels, who is also a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Winston Staffing and director of social media for Long Island Loyalty Rewards, great insight into the most common struggles faced by working mothers, as well as what they value most.
“It’s the guilt moms feel when they can’t be there to watch a baseball game or juggling who’s going to watch your child when she’s sick…and about not going to work feeling like you will get into trouble,” notes Daniels.
Daniels, who is married to Howard and has a 12-year-old daughter, says that women thrive on giving and receiving support to get through tough times.
“We see we are not alone on this journey,” she says.
Over the course of her 47-year career, St. James resident Natalie Weinstein learned that being able to prioritize, “accept you can’t do everything,” and doing your best at both jobs — family and career — has an impact on your success and happiness. Finding your “happy place” at home and work is paramount.
With two grown children (shared with her late husband, Bernie) and two grandchildren, Weinstein, owner of Natalie Weinstein Design Associates and Uniquely Natalie/Quality Consignment Home Furnishings, and founder of nonprofit Celebrate St. James, she knows the balancing act well.
“Raising a family isn’t about just being there,” she says. “When you’re there, make it count.” Eat breakfast with them; help them with their homework. “Enjoy the process. Be kind to yourself and value yourself as a person.”