THE HIGH WIRE BALANCING ACT

BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY

Soon after we were married, Lana and I had the opportunity to go to the circus. The Flying Wallendas were performing. This was before Karl Wallenda’s death in 1978 and he was unarguably the star of the show.

Our seats at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium were perfect for watching the world-famous high-wire act. We sat where we were on the same level as the performers.

At 82 years old Wallenda was fit, alert and a risk-taker. His sense of balance was incredible. As we watched, two of his sons mounted the wire each on bicycles, connected by a pole that was attached to each of their shoulders. Karl climbed up and over one of the boys carrying a balancing pole and a chair. He proceeded to walk out on the pole that was held by his sons, arrange the chair on the pole and then climb up to a standing position on the chair.

You could have heard a pin drop in the arena. But all of us in the audience could hear Dad Wallenda. He would yell, “whoa” or “up-up”, “easy” and occasionally a “good, hold it there”. It was amazing.

Many working parents feel like the Flying Wallendas. It feels like you are working without a net and at any moment it could all fall apart. The pressures of the job, performance reviews, financial concerns pull us in 20 different directions demanding our time and intense attention as we struggle to balance the bicycle.

On a higher level, we have someone at home relying on us to hold the chair, remain calm, never get flustered and not waiver in our commitment to them. The difference is that most parents have no one to offer encouragement or mid-act course corrections and advice.

Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. We can balance it all. By focusing on the moment, not what happened yesterday or what comes next, we will be both great employees and great parents. You can get encouragement from good books about personal growth, a parenting coach and when you remember to have joy in the journey. Planning time for you is critical. Remember, you cannot manage time. We all get the same amount of hours, minutes and seconds every day. Those who balance it all have learned that they will be successful when they manage themselves. You can do this!

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