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What Minnesotans would tell Obama about work-life balance

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President Obama Hosts Summit On Working Families
U.S. President Barack Obama waves goodbye after delivering remarks during the White House Summit On Working Families at the Omni Shoreham hotel June 23, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Barack Obama will meet with a working Twin Cities mother as part of his visit Thursday to discuss the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance in today's economic climate. 

As MPR News' Brett Neely reports, Obama will launch the first in a series of day-in-the-life visits by spending the day with a woman named Rebekah.

Obama has been advocating workplace policies that support working families in recent days

On The Daily Circuit, we discussed what Minnesotans want Obama to hear about balancing work and family obligations:

It's time to stop defining who qualifies as "family"

"It's not up to employers to define family because the definition of family is changing," said Nancy Lyons. She served on the first panel for White House Summit on Working Families.

More from Lyons:

We're sandwiched between caring for the elderly folks in our family and caring for children. Family looks like a lot of different things and this balance is necessary to take care of those people in our lives that need us.... Employers need to recognize that in order to support the people that work for them, they've got to create cultures of trust.

Americans need alternative professional jobs that allow flexibility for family time.

Anita, a mother of a daughter with special needs who also helps care for her aging parents, said she'd like to see more part-time positions for working professionals that also offer benefits. 

Current economic conditions for the sandwich generation causes families to make tough choices.

Carmen in Rochester on her family's struggle:

The biggest challenge is time.

Leah's on The Daily Circuit page:

We have three children under five and our biggest challenge is time. Career decisions are based on flexibility of the job - rather than pay - which means I'm not earning as much as my Master's degree would otherwise warrant. I work a day-time job and my husband works nights and weekends. While working opposite shifts allows us to save on day care costs, we lose out on time together. We fear that, over time, working opposite shifts will take a toll on our marriage.

This might not be a problem for the government to fix.

JDan on the page:

The changes that people want can come from entrepreneurship and not the president. We do not need another program we need entrepreneurs that find unique answers to the work place. We do not need to have everyone sit at an office or factory for 8.5 hours a day anymore, for the work(productivity) that is needed in our country.

Responsible Parent on the page:

Why do we always look toward the government for help? If you decide to raise a family why isn't it your responsibility to take care of your responsibility? My wife and I raised 3 children with no public money help. Our extended families were hundreds of miles away so we had no family help. We just did it.

Do you have experience juggling the demands or work and home life? Leave your comments below.