Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, On Work-Life Balance

Posted on April 10, 2012


In an interview posted on the Makers website, Facebook COO Sheryl Sanders tells us, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance.  There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.”  As a mom and a career woman whose resume is filled with a string of high-powered positions in nonprofits, government, and business, she knows whereof she speaks!

On marriage, she goes on to say, “If you can marry a woman, that’s better, because the split between two women in a home is actually pretty even, the data shows.”  I don’t think she’s actually advocating gay marriage here, she’s just making a point:  in general, women carry a heavier burden than men at home and in child-rearing matters.  So, “Find someone to marry who’s going to do half.  Not just support your career by saying, ‘Oh, of course you should work,’ but actually get up and change half the diapers, because that’s what it takes.”   I hear ya, Sheryl!  There have definitely been times in my own career that I could have benefited from having a wife!  Oh, lucky, lucky men.  And they don’t even know how good they’ve got it.

As Sheryl points out elsewhere in her interview, women seem to feel guilt about working full-time and trying to “balance” what really cannot be balanced.  And this is probably why they end up shouldering more of the burden; men typically seem to feel no guilt about working full-time.  Who’s going to pick up the slack?  Naturally, it will be the parent who feels guilty about dividing her time.

My question is, is that guilt somehow inborn in women, or is it a result of imposed societal expectations and long-standing traditional roles?  Do women feel somehow more responsible for their children as a result of that connection that comes from carrying a child and then giving birth?  What are your thoughts?