Work-Life Balance? More Like Work-Life Juggling: Insights from a Woman CEO

Natalie Ruiz
3 min readApr 23, 2024


Photo by Peggy Anke on Unsplash

Being a woman and a CEO means fielding a barrage of questions about work-life balance virtually during every meet-and-greet, Q&A, interview, and podcast I participate in. Today’s meet and greet with some of our new hires was no different.

As a mother and executive, I am frequently asked how I balance my personal life and career. The truth is, there is no balance — at least not as far as I have experienced. It often feels like a game of tug-of-war, a never-ending juggling act, or at the very least, a cycle of prioritization and re-prioritization. Also, I live (or perish) by keeping EVERYTHING on my calendar.

When I hear the term “work-life balance,” it suggests that there is some perfect equilibrium where everything fits together seamlessly. In my experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Life doesn’t come with a neatly organized calendar, and being a mom means that unexpected events can turn your day upside down. As a CEO, the same holds true — urgent matters arise, decisions must be made, and meetings can spill over into family time. The key is to navigate these interruptions with grace, humor, and a lot of flexibility. It also helps to have supportive people in your life who you can call on when you’re running late to pick up a child!

How it sometimes feels trying to ‘do it all.’

Juggling these roles requires making choices that aren’t always easy. There are times when I must miss a game or a parent-teacher conference because of an important business trip or meeting. And there are times when I have to reschedule or cancel work commitments because my child is sick or needs extra care from me. Through it all, the most important thing is to remain present in the moment, no matter which hat I’m wearing.

One thing I’ve learned along this journey is that it’s crucial to be kind to yourself. There is no perfect parent or flawless leader; we all make mistakes and have moments of doubt. But I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of my sometimes hectic, unpredictable life. I am grateful for my opportunities — to be a mother, lead a company, and shape the lives of my children and my team. It’s a privilege to live a full, big life, even if it means there’s rarely a dull moment.

So, when people ask me how I balance it all, I tell them I don’t. I do my best to navigate the chaos, make choices that align with my values, and stay flexible in the face of uncertainty. And while the juggling act can be exhausting, it’s also gratifying. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

🌸 About the Author:

Natalie Ruiz is the CEO of AnswerConnect and often says that her path to success has been unconventional, which fuels her to continue to challenge assumptions about what work, success, and the concept of balance in life look like.

Natalie is an award-winning executive recognized as Female Executive of the Year and for Women Helping Women by the Stevie Award Association and a Woman of Influence by the Portland Business Journal.

Outside of her day job, she volunteers, speaks on international stages, lends her voice and words to podcasts and publications, and seeks to leave people and places better than she finds them in all that she does.

Connect with Natalie here: on Medium, on LinkedIn, and Instagram

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Natalie Ruiz

Tech CEO. Mom. Non-Profit Board Member. Working to normalize belonging at work. Living in gratitude. Trying to leave people and places better than I find them.