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Women today are pulled in a million different directions. Between taking care of the kids, trying to stay connected with husbands or partners and, in many cases, caring for an elderly parent, most of us don't have time to make the grocery list, let alone think about balance. That's where your Money Group can help. Use your next meeting time to ask each other the following questions that will help get you thinking about whether or not your life is out of balance and what to do if it is.
  1. How did you grow up? Did your mom work outside the home? Stay home full-time? How did you feel about the situation?
  2. What makes you feel the most guilty at work? At home?
  3. What's your definition of the perfect balance between home and work? (Jean's take: In the morning when I'm getting my kids off to school, I can't wait to get to work. In the evening after I've put in a full day, I can't wait to get home. Taking the time to live in each moment helps me approach that feeling of balance I'm after.)
  4. Have you considered working part-time?
  5. How flexible is your current work situation? Are there any programs at your company that might help—flex-time, job sharing, etc.? Are there other companies in your area that offer more flexibility for your particular position?
  6. Do you think you have enough money to make a change? If not, what would you need to do to afford to work less? How can you cut back your expenses?
  7. How much does your partner help out at home? How much do your older kids? (Jean's take: Women naturally take on more of the at-home jobs—social organizer, meal planner, bill payer, gift buyer, etc. But if it's balance you're looking for, there's one surefire way you can get more of it immediately—delegate. Start assigning some of the chores you've taken on to your spouse and older kids—then use that time strictly for yourself.)
  8. If you had to go back to work tomorrow, where would you start looking?
  9. It's Saturday morning and you're in luck—your family has disappeared for two whole hours. Would you get a manicure or read a novel? Finish unanswered e-mails from work? Go through the homework folders to see what needs to be done by the end of the weekend? (Jean's take: You'll always be out of sync if you don't take the stolen moments for yourself. Go ahead, pretend you're 25 and single again—even if it's only for an hour. You'll be amazed how reenergized you'll feel.)
  10. Who can help you achieve the perfect balance? Your spouse? Your boss? Help from parents and other relatives?
  11. Okay, here's a bonus question: Are you happy? New research shows that men have gotten happier than women over the years. Why? Because they're working less and taking more time for themselves and we're doing the opposite. Do you have the ability to add one more enjoyable task a week to your schedule?
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.

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