BY TRIAD MOMS ON MAIN BLOGGER ANNA KELLER
Juggling work/life balance can be challenging enough before you become a parent, and once you add “mom” to your list of roles, finding that sweet spot becomes exponentially more difficult. Suddenly, you’re pulled in two distinctly different directions and want to give your all to both. As an added complication, now that many of us can work from just about any location, it can be hard to “turn off” work when you’re at home, potentially taking precious time away from your ability to be fully present with your family. Enter stress and guilt and the feeling you’re not quite good enough at work AND at home. Not exactly how you’d like to live your life, huh?
Here’s some good news: You’re most definitely not alone. A majority of mothers of young children are now in the workforce, so more women than ever are trying to figure out how to make this delicate dance work. Secondly, there are some steps you can take to try to make the most of balancing your career and your parenting responsibilities. (Remember, though: The most important thing is to figure out what works for YOUR FAMILY. It may not be the way your sister or neighbor or best friend arranges her life, but don’t let that be your gauge. Every family is different and has its own realities and priorities and preferences.)
Okay, with that disclaimer out of the way, here are a few things to consider as you work toward work/parenting balance in your life:
Recognize the ebb and flow of both work and family. There are likely seasons to your work life, just as there are within your family’s schedule. Occasions like the first day of school or sick days require more focus on your kids. Conversely, it’s likely there are probably times in your work life that require more attention, whether it’s prep for big client meetings or a predictably busy tax season. Give yourself grace and recognize that if there’s not a perfect 50/50 balance between work and family, that’s completely normal!
Lean on your village. Do you have people in your life offering to help you with juggling things? Learn to say yes to their generosity, and believe them when they say they’re glad to help. Also, don’t be afraid to take initiative to add to your village when you need to, whether that means splitting carpool duties with another parent or figuring out a way to share portions of your workload with a colleague when it makes sense to do so.
Establish appropriate boundaries. If you’re someone who can work from anywhere, make sure you DON’T. It’s up to you to put limitations in place to make sure you aren’t bringing your laptop to bed night after night or checking work e-mails on your phone during family meals. In the same way, it might work well for you to schedule pockets of time to work outside of standard business hours when you need to make sure you’re caught up. Work with your partner or support system to get childcare in place during those windows, and do your best to get work done during the scheduled time, and then put it away so you can be present with family.
Remember, you aren’t alone. It’s worth repeating: More moms are trying to balance work and family now than ever. That means you have women all around you who can relate to your situation and who can offer advice, support, or just an empathetic listening ear when you need one.
You’ve got this, Mama.