Feeling like your life is out of balance? Too much work on your plate? Too many demands from your family? No time to do it all—let alone do it well or steal an hour of "you time"?

If you've answered yes to any of those questions, then the latest data won't surprise you. According to a recent survey from the Work and Family Institute, 60 percent of working parents feel considerable conflict between work responsibilities and time spent at home. And a recent survey by the Pew Research Center found the majority of full-time working moms would like to trade in their current situation for a part-time position. What's more, the same number of stay-at-home moms said they'd like to give up a bit of the carpooling and PTA for a part-time job as well. And, of course, plenty of new moms or moms-to-be are searching for ways to stay home full-time with their babies.

If you listen to me on Oprah Radio XM Satellite Radio then you know my feelings on this: I'm right in there with you. I don't believe balanced days are actually possible. There are some days when I'm good at work and others when I'm good at home, and if I can find balance over the week or the month, I consider that a success.

Whether getting in balance for you means scaling back on work outside the home or ramping it back up, there's one unfortunate fact of life involved: What we want to do to achieve more balance and what we can afford to do may not totally be in sync. After all, kids are expensive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates it costs the average middle class family $184,000 to raise a baby from birth to age 17. And that's all money spent before college tuition bills are due. Yikes! On the other hand, working outside the home has its costs, too. Child care is the biggie, but you have to factor in transportation, dry cleaning and more takeout food, too.

Whatever your situation, it's important to take a hard look at your financial picture before you make any big changes. With this guide you and your Money Group members can start to ask the important questions that will help make it possible to add more balance in your life. Then complete our three tasks that will get you even closer to achieving your balance goals.

While you're considering your options, keep this vital fact in mind from Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute: There is no evidence that shows children of full-time, part-time or stay-at-home moms turn out any different. "The kind of parent you are makes the biggest difference, not simply whether you are employed or not."
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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