ABC News(NEW YORK) — The author of an upcoming book that urges mothers to stay in the workforce says any person devoting his or her entire life to one thing, whether it be parenting or career, is “woefully imbalanced.”
“If you told me that you were spending all of your time at work I would say to you, ‘Your life is woefully imbalanced,’” author Samantha Ettus said Wednesday on ABC News’ Good Morning America. “It’s the same thing if you’re spending all of your time parenting, your life is woefully imbalanced.”
Ettus writes in her new book, The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction, that a healthy balance of work and personal success is the key to a happy life. The premise of the book, that stay-at-home moms are unfulfilled, has understandably stirred up a debate.
“We got to this place in life where we think that women should either be doing motherhood or work but there are so many other dimensions of us,” Ettus said. “In working with thousands of women, I found that the happiest and most fulfilled are those that play in six or seven slices of their life, not just one or two.”
Ettus describes what she calls the seven slices in the pie of life: Career, health, relationship, children, community, friends and hobbies.
“Instead of thinking of life as just these couple of dimensions, think of all of these seven slices,” she said. “Whether you have kids or not, you should be playing in six or seven of them.”
Ettus explained: “You shouldn’t be saying, ‘Okay, I’ll save friends for later on in life because right now I’m a working mom.’ I’m saying go on the mom’s night out and do it guilt-free. You’re going to be a better parent, a better worker, a better partner, a better friend if you’re happier and more fulfilled.”
Ettus, a married mother of three from Los Angeles, is a Harvard graduate who is now a writer, speaker and radio show host, according to her website. She said multi-tasking women like herself can use tricks to get what she calls a “25th hour” in the day.
“I call it the ‘golden triangle,’” she said of one such time-saving trick. “Do all of your errands between work and home and your child’s school. There’s a hair salon or a gym or a doctor in between those points and you can find one.”
Ettus said being a working mother is not only more fulfilling but also financially smart.
“The statistical reality is that more than 50 percent of women who take time off from the work force can’t go back. They can’t find positions,” she said. “We talk so much about women and choices but the most important thing is that you keep your options open because if you leave the work force, even for just one year, you lose 18 percent of your future earnings forever. And if you leave for three years you lose almost 40 percent of your future earnings forever.”
“At least work part-time, keep that foot in the door,” she said.
The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction is out Sept. 27.
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