A Juggling Act
Being asked to write this post about work/mom life balance got me thinking a lot about my own balance. Do I have a good balance? What would be a perfect balance? Does anyone have it?
I’ve been a working mom for almost 4 years and the evolution of it has been interesting to watch in hindsight. Odd as it may sound after 4 years of doing this, I think I may have finally figured out how to balance my role as a mother with my professional identity as best as possible.
There are so many factors in getting it right. There’s the question of “getting in enough time” whether it be at work or with the kids. There’s the aspect of planning ahead and creating a healthy routine that does not facilitate the feeling of burn out. And then there is maintaining a healthy attachment with your children even while dropping them at a babysitter for the better part of the day.
Each of these needs to be tackled on its own turf. Here is how I do it:
Since my children are so young and go to sleep pretty early I like to be there with them in the morning when they leave and be the one to pick them up or be home for them in the afternoons. To me, that conveys the message that no matter what I do during my time without them, when it comes to their time at home they are my priority. In the same respect, I put my phone away during dinner, bath and bed time and try to give them my full and undivided attention.
As for my time at work, my phone gets put away as well and I give the tasks 100% of my attention and devotion. I try to stay present and focus only on my work. If I ever need to continue to work from home, it is done after my children are put to bed and dinner has been served to my husband.
Planning ahead and sticking to a structured routine is crucial in making things go as smooth as possible. I can’t say I’m the best at this but a few things I try to do are:
- Plan and shop for all meals from the beginning of the week. And by shop I mean have my groceries delivered - because who has time to shop??
- Cook/prepare dinner before I leave the house in the morning so that I’m not worrying about dinner when I get home with 2 cranky kids in tow.
- Try not to schedule more than one extra appointment a week because every appointment throws off the schedule and requires time off from work to be made up outside of work hours.
Lastly the way I maintain a healthy relationship with my children even while being preoccupied with work and household obligations is by doing my best to be present when I am with them. I try to make the most of every minute by utilizing time spent alone with them in the car to talk about their day, cuddling up with them during bedtime with a couple of books, and of course making the most of weekends by spending quality time as a family together.
There are so many small details that can throw everything off balance, a change in one child’s schedule, a new/longer commute to work, a promotion at ones job etc. But as long as there is a basic framework of priorities and how things get done, everything can be worked around, sometimes it just may take more effort.
As women we are capable of so much, yet it can get very difficult at times. My wish to all working moms is for them to be able to utilize all their capabilities to excel at their professions but above all to be outstanding mothers. Good luck!