Being a working mum and a hands-on parent can be challenging to say the least. One of the most important things is to find a balance that works for you and your family, so you can keep pursuing your career and still be present for your children.
Here are a few tips to help you juggle your work-life balance.
It sounds obvious, but there are now so many more options to help you stay organised. There are some great apps, including Microsoft To-Do, which lets you create a daily planner, make shopping lists, set reminders for bills and birthdays, and simplify your weekly routine. This app also lets you share this information so other family members can help out. Google Calendar is incredibly helpful for scheduling work functions and your personal life. You can view this calendar on your phone or computer so you won't lose track of deadlines and events.
Putting less pressure on yourself is key. When you write out your list, prioritise what needs to be done that day. Sometimes it can feel like you aren't completing anything, and that is such a clear indicator that you've taken on too much. Take it one week at a time so you can realistically tackle tasks.
Missing meals and forgetting to drink enough water in the day is easy to do when you're a busy working mum. Eating food that nourishes your body will increase your energy levels and improve your overall health. It's easy to reach for snacks that are full of refined sugars or processed and deep-fried convenience food, but they will only leave you feeling sluggish. Plan out what you are going to eat that week and shop for your food online. This is such a great time saver and you can have it delivered or collect it at a time that fits into your schedule. If your children are of an age when they can help, involve them in meal preparation, this is a wonderful way to introduce children to different foods, teaches them new skills and allows you to spend quality time together.
Open Communication at Home and Work
Asking for support does not mean that you are a less productive employee or a bad mum. Women face the stigma of both these labels, which only adds additional pressure.
Ask family members to support you by picking your children up one day a week or childminding whilst you go to a class or spend quality time with your partner. If your children are older, ask them to contribute to completing tasks in the house, this is a great way for them to learn good habits and to take responsibility.
At work, having open communication with your manager will allow you to discuss your needs. Speak to them in advance about upcoming appointments, events at your child's school or if you need to pick them up on certain days of the week. This level of transparency and organisation will show them how committed you are to your job.
If you are the manager and you're feeling the struggle of balancing time with your family and work, this is an opportunity to address this in your workplace because you won't be alone.
Being present is something that we all struggle with. One thing that can help is to unplug from your phone and computer at a set time when you get home. It’s easy to get distracted, and this takes away from your quality time together. Being mentally present allows you to appreciate the beautiful moments, and also lets you develop a greater understanding of how you’re feeling without distractions.
Make Time for Yourself
Finding the time for yourself can seem like an impossibility when balancing work and home life, but it’s integral for a healthy mind and body. Even if it’s one day a week, schedule time to exercise, this could be anything from going to the gym, taking a yoga or spin class or going for a walk to restore your sense of calm after work.
Don’t stop your personal development. Take time out after the kids have gone to bed and allow yourself to focus on your interests. It's so important to keep growing and learning, as this serves not only you but your family too.
Making self-care a part of your routine can be difficult to begin with as it means changing your mindset about how you prioritise things, but it will allow you to relax, recharge and inspire growth within yourself.
Create a Social Support Network
Connecting with other working mums will give you a community of support. You will have co-workers who will be experiencing the same dilemmas as you are who will be looking for connection too. Arrange playdates or meet for coffee or lunch in the park at the weekend and share your stories. Connect to other mums in your area through Facebook groups and apps such as Peanut, Mush and The Night Feed for new mums.
Reaching out to people will help you find that your experiences are shared and that everyone’s work-life balance is different. What's important is to recognise that you can have a successful career and be dedicated to your family, just take it one day at a time and know that there is always a helping hand.