As a working mom, sometimes it can be very overwhelming to juggle a full-time job and take care of your kids. It’s a big challenge to find balance in my daily routine as a working mother.
In early 2017, I found myself unemployed which led to a small taste of what it would be like to be a stay at home mom. I’m not going to lie, I loved every minute of it and even contemplated doing it full time! My house had never been cleaner, my kids’ schedule had never been more clear, and I was able to have time for relationships that had fallen by the wayside when I was a full time working mother. I found so much joy in doing this, but I also experienced a loss in my sense of self. During this time I realized how much I love to work! I missed my daily adult interactions as well as my monetary independence. My husband never put restrictions on my spending while I was unemployed, but there was always that guilt about spending since I wasn’t really contributing. I desperately needed to find a balance.
After searching for a job, I found myself in a major career change which came with pressures to succeed but also with excitement around my new found profession. With the pressures I put on myself to succeed at home and at work, here are a few things I am doing to take some small steps towards integrating my two lives:
I recently attending a Women in Leadership Symposium and one of the amazing speakers spoke about the 80/20 rule, which really resonated with me. She suggested that before you begin your work day you should ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20% of my priorities or in the bottom 80%?” After doing a bit of research on the 80/20 rule, I asked myself why I hadn’t been applying this to my life sooner.
If your kids are in your 20%, then you will have to make decisions that reflect that priority. Maybe that means taking a job that allows for flexible hours so that you can volunteer in your child’s classroom once a week, or not taking a job that requires that you travel every weekend. Even supermoms can’t be in a million places at once. Decide which aspects are more important than the others, and know that at the end of the day it is your choice. You are free to make decisions that cater to your priorities, and also to negotiate the terms of your employment based on your priorities. The woman who spoke at the Symposium communicated with her boss that she could only take the job if it allowed her to do X things, and if it did not require her to do X things. The company worked with her! She was still able to have the job she wanted while prioritizing her role as a mother. Figure out what is best for you.
2. Unplugging while I am at home
Yes, work can require that I be on call around the clock when there are pending offers, interview preparations, and HR inquiries, but I do my best not to think about work when I am at home with my children. I purposefully leave my phone in my purse so I can be present with them.
3. Being organized
I love my lists, and I am still a believer in writing our schedule down on my hanging Cavalier King Charles Spaniel calendar. It is in a place where I look at it every day and my husband also uses it religiously. It’s wonderful! Find whatever way is best for you and your family to stay organized. You don’t want to scramble to arrange for last minute logistics if something is forgotten.
4. Finding balance and valuing my personal health
Remember to breath. Life can get crazy when it feels like you are living two lives when both are lives that you love. I know– I love my job and I love my family. There is nothing wrong with working to balance the two. It truly can be the best of both worlds, but you have to remind yourself to take a moment to breathe, and find whatever time you can in a day for 10 minutes to yourself. Mine is at 5:30 A.M. when my whole family is still sound asleep. The payoff of taking a few minutes to yourself to recharge and center yourself will be tremendous.
The hardest part of all of this will be to get started, as is the case with any new task. Being organized about these aspects of life will be a huge help! So, on that note, I’m going out to buy myself a planner!