Black business women are forced to make hard choices in balancing their professional duties with their personal duties. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day, but professional black business women realistically need 36 hours or more in order to honor all of their commitments. Therefore, these black business women recognize that they have two strikes against them from the start; they are black, and they are female—double minorities. There must be sacrifices and a consequential balancing act in order to function in both areas of life.
Black business women realize that to be successful in business they must make more sacrifices. Because they are a double minority, black business women have to perform better, produce more and walk a proverbial tightrope between professional duties and personal duties and responsibilities. For example, for most business professionals, the business day starts at nine and ends at five. For black business women with families, their day may begin at 4:30 a.m. as they try to get in a hour of exercise, find time to prepare the family’s clothing for the day, attend to personal hygiene needs, prepare breakfast, and clean and straighten the house even before the family gets out of bed. Typically, black business women are on call 24/7 as they realize that they must not only be competent, but excellent, or else they will fail in one or both of their roles. Subsequently, by 9:00 a.m., black business women have literally been at work for five hours but know that they must be fresh, alert and prepared for their professional duties when they enter the workplace.
Often because of their professional duties and the requirements to be excellent at work, many black business women must employ a nanny or maid to help her accommodate the needs of her personal life while managing the duties of her professional life. Unequivocally, there is a substantial cost financially and mentally. Many black business women admit feeling guilty for neglecting their roles as a wife and mother. For example, one successful Houston business woman states that she has not cooked a meal in her own kitchen in so long she has probably forgotten and lost all of her culinary skills. She sacrifices by utilizing take-out food, caterers and a live-in maid to help her manage her household so that she can manage her professional duties. Another black business woman admits to considering herself a failure as a mother. Her nanny potty-trained her children, taught them their prayers, and checked their homework. If this mother is extremely lucky, she may have the luxury of putting her children to bed once a week.
Finally, in order to compete in the business world, black business women often admit defeat as wives and mothers because they made a deliberate and conscious decision to choose the boardroom over the bedroom. Many say that success in their businesses is worth the sacrifice, while others would not make the same choice if they were given the opportunity again.