It’s not easy being a mom and trying to juggle a career and family life, and now that more women are in the workforce, we have more moms struggling with a work-life balance. Read on to find out how you can get closer to attaining an ideal work-life situation.
A survey by author and career strategist Megan Dalla-Camina found that the majority of women don’t think it’s possible to be successful at work and at home. 40% of respondents said they were barely hanging in there, and over 60% said they don’t have everything they want in life. That being said, over 90% said that owning a business or having a career provides an important balance in their identity as a mom and a professional adult.
While being a working mother required a complex system of multitasking, having access to reliable daycare, time for self-care, and access to appropriate therapy, most women said they would still prefer to work even if money weren’t an issue. Now since women are clearly looking for the perfect work-life balance, we have a few tips to get you in the right mindset to attain that balance.
- Let go of the guilt
Instead of dwelling on how you’re not at home with your child, think instead about how your role in the company is helping your family. Perhaps your child has access to certain education opportunities and you’re able to put money away for college. The most effective working moms have had to come to terms with their choices and they only focus on the priorities – now this sometimes means you will have good days and bad days, which is why you need a partner or support group to discuss your feelings with.
- Get the best childcare
Use your network of family and friends to get references to nannies, babysitters, and day nurseries in your area. Make a list of what’s important to you and set a schedule to visit nurseries and interview qualified childcare specialists. The best nurseries provide proper meals, safety, and fun activities for your kids. On the other hand, the best nannies are ones with a history of long-term commitment to families – this shows they have great experience and are more likely to adapt to various age groups.
You can also arrange a play date with the candidates to see how they interact with your child. A good daycare center should have a low teacher-to-student ratio and it should have an outdoor space, all the proper licenses, and flexible hours.
- Communicate with your employer
Even before you sit down with your employer, construct a written plan that details everything you need – you may have to research what arrangements other employees have and use this information to your advantage. Present a proposal with terms that your employer has already agreed to with your coworkers, but generally try to be as open as you can.
You can also discuss things like maternity leave with your supervisor and find out how much time off you’ll be allowed, and how much of that time you will be paid. Vacation, short term disability, and sick time are also important discussion areas.
- Always stay connected
We can’t overemphasize how important this is for your family. For moms with younger children, consider recording yourself talking or make a video with you singing to a children’s book (try Hallmark they have great recordable storybooks).
If you’re going to miss a child’s event, give them something special in the morning like a good luck charm or write a personal note. If possible, look for ways to film the event so the two of you can watch it later. During work breaks, call your child (and partner too); hearing their voice can get you through a rough day, and your child will be comforted to know you’re near.
- Set boundaries
You must to say “no” to projects and engagements that cut into your family time. This is just one of the ways you’ll learn to balance the work-life scenario. Boundaries must be set in the workplace and also at home, and this will allow you to stay in the present when doing important tasks. When you hang out with family, really be there mentally. It might not be easy but this is important for building a fulfilling career and family life.
When things get hectic (and they will), try these quick stress relief tips:
Whenever you seem to get lost in the mix that is the daily juggle, ask yourself what it is you are passionate about (it could be work related or something outside of work) and fit it into your weekly routine. It helps when you have something of your own that brings back the spark of life in your eyes.