Moms on Overload
The number of obligations we face today is incredible. More moms than ever before are in the workforce. In almost half of the two-parent households, both parents work full-time. In four out of ten households mothers are the primary provider!
Regardless, the bulk of home-life still falls on mom. It’s not that men aren’t helping—multiple studies are showing they’re pitching in more on the home front, including chores and parenting time. Yet, moms remain responsible for the majority of household tasks. This is particularly true when it comes to scheduling events, and getting kids to those events. And sick kids? Yep–that duty also falls heavily on mom. If your kids are stuck home with a fever—plan on taking the day off too.
Stop Trying to Do It All
You probably didn’t need surveys or statistics to tell you what you already know; balancing a career and family is tough. No matter how hard you try, you aren’t superwoman. Trying to be everything, to everyone at all times is not only impossible, but exhausting. Thus, the first step in finding your work/life balance isn’t learning how to manage everything, but rather determining what must be managed.
Define What’s Most Important to You
Start by establishing your priorities, an honest list of where your efforts must be spent. Be specific. Don’t just list your career as a priority; note what your career requires of you. (For example: My job requires top-notch customer service skills and the ability to sell high-dollar products. It’s necessary for me to travel out of town a minimum of four days every month. My daughter’s baseball team is important to her and requires 2-hour practices every Friday and 4-hour local tournaments every other weekend. I want to make these games a priority. I’d also like to spend quality time with her at least three times a week.) It’s also important to recognize that priorities are fluid. What is significant to you at this moment may not be relevant five years from now. Be open to revisiting these priorities any time you face a relevant transition.
It’s tempting, but do not neglect yourself in the equation. Your body is a living machine. If you fail to nurture your physical and emotional needs, including getting plenty of rest and rejuvenation, you will reduce your ability to manage your emotions, make effective decisions and problem solve. You may never notice your sluggish response because you’re too busy putting in the extra effort required to handle your day.
Work Smarter/Not Harder
Once you have an idea of where the bulk of your energy will be spent, it’s time to stop working so hard and start working smarter. Every one of us can find some way to improve our methods of efficiency. Here are five great places to start:
- Time management. Are you spending your time wisely? To find out, track your daily activities over the course of several weeks. Where is your time being spent? When are you the most productive and why? When are you the least productive? What is your biggest time trap?
- Organization. You can never, ever be too organized. Yes, setting up an organized system takes time and effort, but you’ll save both in the long run. You’ll reduce your stress level to boot.
- Set boundaries. Learn to say “no” to yourself and to others. Do you have to check your voicemail every evening? Can you agree to stay off your phone from dinner through bedtime? What’s the worst thing that will happen if you skip chores a few times a week?
Setting boundaries is also important when it comes to that increasingly faint line between work and home life. At times the lines will blur and multi-tasking will be the most productive choice. Still, if you want that balance, do your best to set boundaries that separate work and personal time.
- Consider what outside-the-box opportunities are available that can reduce or even eliminate some of your obligations? We don’t always recognize that alternative opportunities exist. Here are a few examples: Will your boss let you work from home a few days a week? Is it worth hiring a housecleaner once a month so you can spend more time with family? Should you keep your eye open for new career opportunities with better benefits or flexibility?
- Find simpler ways to get things done. From carpools to slow cookers, helpers to hacks, when it comes to finding balance simplicity far outweighs perfection.
Start Small/Enjoy More
These are just a few steps that can help you improve your productivity, reduce your stress and thus, build your path to balance. You’ll also want to set both short and long-term goals that match your priorities. Above all, be conscious of the little moments you enjoy throughout each day. Aside from parenting, finding balance is one of the biggest struggles for busy parents. I find that sharing ideas is a major key. What works from there, however, is always very personal. Please feel free to share your best ideas.
If you have specific questions, just send me an email. If I can’t help you, I’ll try to find a resource that can. For additional support visit: