When it comes to juggling responsibilities, working women sometimes face a monumental task. Career, spouse, children, health and hobbies all compete for time. It’s one reason women strive to strike a balance in achieving success on the job and at home.
Carol Skubic, market president for Vectra Bank Colorado in Grand Junction, juggles plenty of duties as a banking executive and volunteer leader in the Grand Valley. But her schedule seems mild compared to what she faced as a single mother in Minnesota in the 1980s. “I was in a position of running banks in my early 30s and I had two boys in hockey,” she recalled. “I didn’t get much sleep. Six hours was a lot.”
Skubic was actively involved in the local community while raising her children. She ran a chamber of commerce and served on a local economic development board.
Some people might look back and wonder if they should have done something differently, but not Skubic. “Looking back, I don’t think I would change anything,” she said.
In Grand Junction, Skubic serves on the board of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, is an incoming member of the board of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and recently served on a Mesa State College advisory board. She’s also active in a Rotary Club.
Jessica Peterson, public relations director for Mesa County, is living through what Skubic experienced when Skubic was raising children. Peterson juggles work with trying to handle two young children. “It’s incredibly hard,” she said. “I struggle every day.”
Because Peterson must keep in mind media deadlines when reporters call with questions, the family can take a back seat at times. “You have to prioritize,” she said. “You find ways to make little concessions.”
A cooperative spouse can also be a big factor in making a hectic schedule work — “if a woman is lucky enough to have a spouse who is willing to put the effort into the children, or at least 50 percent (of the work),” Peterson said.
“You have to schedule yourself,” said Brenda Watson, who owns Image Promotional Products, does extensive volunteer work and commutes 35 miles a day to Grand Junction. “I schedule time for my family when it’s time for my family. And I’m going to exercise right now,” she said during a telephone interview.
While the image of women evolved from that of a housewife to a business professional from the 1950s to the 1990s, women have more recently alternated between the two roles.
Mary Lou Wilson, executive director of the Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce, previously worked as an office manager and stay-at-home spouse before taking the helm at the chamber. “I was featured in a story about taking a hiatus to take care of the family,” she said.
While such transitions might have been unusual in the 1990s, today’s young women view that two-fold approach to life as the new normal. “The women coming into the market, they can choose and can go back and forth,” said Georgann Jouflas, a business professor at Mesa State College. She said young women view such transitions as acceptable in the workplace and at home.
But women who juggle such transitions as well as involvement in other activities also have to know when to say when.
“I’ve learned not to overextend,” said Skubic. She added people sometimes say “yes” too every request to serve on a committee and that she wants to ensure she limits her activity so she can do a good job for each organization she serves.
Said Peterson: “I think for a lot of people, that expectation might be very difficult to meet.”