Have you ever found yourself lying awake in bed wondering how to manage balancing work and family? Moms are often considered to be superhuman. We work tirelessly (which is sort of a misnomer, cause I work tiredly) 24/7 making sure that our families are taken care of and also trying to maintain our workloads. Many of us are exhausted and are absolutely of the mindset that work life balance for moms does not exist.
In this article I will share why you absolutely can find balance in your home and work life as a working mom. You can cultivate a lifestyle of calm in your home and excel in your career. Continue reading for 12 hacks to balancing work and family as a working mom.
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Why is balancing work and family important?
If you have ever yelled that you can’t take it anymore, while stirring dinner with a nursing baby wrapped to your chest, you probably have wondered why life is so crazy. And this question isn’t in a deep, how do we correct the injustices in society way. This is in a “why is my 8 year old asking me for a snack while I am on the toilet holding my newborn when he was JUST playing piano with his dad,” sort of way. It is the frustration you feel as a mom when you realize on your way to work that you forgot to give the childcare the diaper refill for you baby.
Balancing work and family is key to your sanity and productivity in each aspect of your life. Balance allows you to determine what is important and what can be delayed. Balance allows you to feel like you are actually swimming and not being carried away by the undercurrent.
Is it possible to balance career and family life?
At the end of a busy work week, it can often feel like work life balance for moms is impossible. You may find yourself at the end of your mental and emotional rope with a mountain of home responsibilities that need to be addressed. You may also be feeling the guilt of missing a baseball practice, or not being as patient during a homework session.
With all of these common feelings moms experience when it comes to balancing their career and their family, I adamantly argue that balance is achievable, but it will take deliberate and intentional steps to ensure success.
Success in balancing work and family starts with a shift in your mindset. This mindset shift begins with changing a simple phrase. Instead of saying “I do not have time” to do something. Say “ XXXX is not a priority.” You will quickly see that this simple shift will help encourage you to walk towards finding balance as a mom.
How do you balance work and home responsibilities?
In order to learn how to balance work and family life, you have to accept that there is inequity in the balance. You must also accept that you can not keep everything on your plate. This is fundamental to balancing work and family. Once you accept these two truths about balance, you can begin incorporating the following hacks into your life! I recommend reading through all of them and then adding one every week or two so that you can build good habits that are long-lasting.
Start with Routines and Schedules
We may all know a mom who has life completely under control, and if you ask her how she does it, she will often begin describing her very particular scheduling habit. It is a well known fact that kids love routines, but adults can thrive on routine too, especially when it helps keep the chaos in order. Balancing work and motherhood starts here. This may look like a calm morning routine for the children, or an after school/work routine to help everyone wind down and prepare for a calm evenings.
Use a planner and be flexible
I often share about my mild obsession with planners and journals. I would also like to share that in that obsession I was able to start creating planners that actually worked for me and helped me to organize and plan out the many moving parts of two full-time working parents and children. Using a planner and taking time to plan your week and your days helps you to keep all the many events and activities organized. This also allows you to see what you have planned so that you can opt out of activities when necessary.
Prioritize your health
One of the most overlooked aspects of success in balancing your home and work life is your health. Physical, mental, and spirit health impact your mood, your productivity, and your motivation in significant ways!
Do you remember (or are you still in the space of motherhood) when the baby doesn’t sleep? You are waking up often, rocking them to sleep and then proceeding to try to function through a full day of work. Existing mostly on coffee and vending machine snacks. Your energy levels are low because you have not provided your body proper nutrients to thrive! In addition the lack of sleep messes with your minds ability to process your emotions. Whatever it is, the neglect of your health leads to less productivity and efficiency, and a more out of balance life.
When thinking of ways to balance work and professional life as a mom, make sure that when you decide what needs to go and what needs to stay, you consider the care of your mind, body, and soul health as essential.
It is okay to take time off
Whether you take a mental health day at the spa or take a weeklong family vacation to the beach, taking time off is imperative to balancing work and family life. According to a report conducted by CNN, a record 768 million vacation days went unused in 2018. This was noted as an increase of 9% from 2017. What is even worse is 236 million of those were completely forfeited.
My question is for what? As working moms, we can easily feel the sting of working mom guilt and feel as if we must be available when we don’t have a reason not to be available. Can I offer you a suggestion? Time to yourself or time for your family IS reason enough to not be available for work.
Implement systems to increase productivity and efficiency
This really means decreasing distractions. Make your time at work meaningful and productive by implementing systems, schedules, or routines that help you to stay productive when at work. This way you can work at work and then leave work at work.
This may look like taking social media from your phone, being diligent about your to do list, or trying out the 5 by 11 productivity hack. This hack simply tries to make use of the most productive part of your workday. When you get to work, write out your to do list, and then mark off the top 5 things you need to or want to get done before 11 (lunch time). Work on these items first and then go through the rest of your to do list.
Set boundaries on your time and your commitments
Many mothers, myself included, suffer from the need to do all the things. For me, its my micromanaging personality (I am working on it) but for others, it may be a feeling of obligation. Whether its your job, coworkers, extended family, or even obligations of your kids and spouse. It is okay to say no to events and activities.
Setting boundaries can also be extended to your distracting habits. Maybe its social media for you, or news, or television shows. Whatever your mindless vice, set boundaries on it so that you can work while you are supposed to be working.
Be present and stay involved
One of the top worries of working moms is the fact that they feel like they’re not as involved. However, if you concentrate on spending the time you do have with your little ones in a quality way, you’ll still be heavily involved in their lives. Just because you aren’t there every minute, doesn’t mean that you aren’t making a big difference in their lives.
When you arrive home from work, do something with your children that you’ll all enjoy. Maybe they want some alone time to play independently, but you can also stay involved by showing that you care. You have quality time with them at meals, and you can always engage them in family games or other activities.
Make time for you and take breaks
It’s vital that you remember to schedule some breaks. If you need a “spa day” every once in awhile, it’s certainly something that you deserve. Sometimes you will feel that you spend every waking moment either at work or worrying about the children, so take some time to unwind. Read a book after the kids have gone to bed, work on your relationship with your spouse, or engage in something you find relaxing.
Spend time with family
Spend individual time with each member of your family. Be sure to remember your partner during life’s crazy times and give that relationship some much-needed nourishment as well. Individual attention will help you get to know your kids better, and you’ll have time to truly build upon your lasting relationship.
It may seem counterintuitive to add another responsibility to the mix of balancing work and motherhood but hear me out. One of the features of being unbalanced is placing too much emphasis on one aspect of life instead of the other. Its sort of like dieting. All of the parts of the food pyramid are needed. When we diet and cut one section out, the others have to work harder in order to fill the void of the missing food group.
Career woman motherhood can be the same way. When we allow our lives to revolve around one aspect or the other, everything ends up unbalanced. When we open our lives to the possibility of room for other things, we may find a much more balanced work life experience.
Get rid of comparison/perfection/guilt
The desire for perfection and comparing yourself to other moms will have you trying to do everything, and doing nothing well. We have to understand that these feelings are not true representations of our motherhood experiences. In fact, they are often falsehoods built by expectations and shaped by what we think is happening in the lives of others.
We must destroy these lies . We must believe that our version of motherhood is more than enough. Whether we are a full-time working mom, or a part time working mom, or a stay at home working mom, or a mom who is in the home and thus, working. Our story of motherhood is perfect the way it is, and we are exactly who our children need us to be.
Get help when you need it
The last hack for how to balance work and home life is to get help when you need it. Outsource where you can at work and at home. In the workplace setting make sure you delegate what you can. What you can not outsource organize and plan into smaller tasks. At home, help may look like additional chores for the children, setting up a housework schedule for you and your spouse to follow or hiring help if possible.
Balancing work and family is attainable
You do not have to spend your life believing you have to sacrifice either your family or your life to have both. You can feel completely fulfilled as a mom and thoroughly enjoy the work you do! The mom you are is who your children need you to be so they can be all they are planned to be! Your version of motherhood is purposed.
You are doing a great job!