With the increasing number of mothers in the workforce, more women are now facing the challenge of juggling family life with a full-time or part-time job. Striking a balance between these two important tasks is essential. Most working mums have feelings of guilt because they cannot provide their kids with their undivided attention nor do they think they are perceived as giving 100% at work.
Just because it is a challenge, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be done. There are several ways for women to gain a better flow with their career and family life.
Let go of the guilt
The first step towards striking a balance between work and family is to let go of your guilt. According to Serena Norr of Parent.com, instead of dwelling on how you’re not spending enough time with your child, you need to think about how your family is benefitting from you being a working mother. Some mothers need their careers for their own satisfaction, sanity and stimulation while others want what the extra income can provide for their families. By accepting and embracing your situation, you can focus on becoming better and more efficient at your role and still be a good parent.
Whether you are at home or at the office, make it a point to keep everything organised and prioritise. You’ll be surprised at the amount of time and effort you can save by doing simple things, like planning your day the evening before or your week in advance. Invest in technology to assist you in streamlining what you do.
Prepare things in advance
To make mornings easier to deal with, take the time to prepare things the night before. While you’d rather get to bed because you’re exhausted after a full work day, taking a few minutes to prepare your children’s school clothes, set up the coffeepot, and pack lunches can definitely help make your mornings less chaotic. Or if you want, you can get up early before your family wakes up in the morning so you can have extra time for yourself.
Consider using a daily planner
Lisa Druxman of Entrepreneur.com advises keeping both personal and work appointments on the same calendar so you don’t overbook or double up. For this reason, having a daily or weekly planner will certainly help. A daily planner helps you keep track of important events both at home and at work, like your bills’ due dates, your children’s recital or your presentation at work.
Set your priorities
Exhaustion and lack of time are some of the things that prevent women from striking a balance between work and family. To ensure that you have the time and energy to fulfil your roles, don’t spread yourself too thinly. Set your priorities. “You don’t have to be the Mum that bakes the school cakes from scratch or hand-makes the costume for the school play. Choose your priorities – your children will care more that you’re there!” Lisa said.
Learn to say No, nicely
Trying to keep everyone happy drains your own happiness and makes you tired and exhausted. It’s ok to say no without justifying why. Be true to yourself and begin to put yourself ahead of your colleagues and organisation and equal to your family.
You don’t have to do it all by yourself
Outsource! There are many services now that can do your washing, ironing, house cleaning, shopping (or buy online). Get a nanny; they become your children’s friend and your ‘life saver’. Talk to your partner to share the domestics – it isn’t just a role for women!
Not all employers are the same and some might be even willing to accommodate the needs of their employees only if they have the courage to ask. As such, try talking to your boss so you can work out a more flexible work schedule. You can even ask if you can work remotely from home, which is quite advantageous for working mothers as it allows them to fulfil their obligations at the office and be with their family at the same time. However, make sure you do your research beforehand so you can show your boss how your proposed work schedule won’t affect productivity; in actual fact it improves productivity.