As a mom of three children under the age of 6, I face many challenges. Being a working mother is one of the challenges. From prepping meals to prepping materials for a meeting, my daily list of work and life often merge together. Recently, I took a moment to sit down and try to understand why trying to maintain a household while working full-time gets so overwhelming at times. Three words came to mind: work-life balance. These three little buzz words that are supposed to make working parents feel at ease are the same words that have driven us chaos.
Before we move forward, let’s review a definition of these three words together. This one’s from Wikipediat:
“Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between work (career and ambition) and lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).”
This is a PERFECT definition because it mentioned one thing that is often overlooked. It states that work-life balance is a concept. That’s right, it’s a concept that is based off of perception of what we feel it means. But, how can we balance lifestyle and career when naturally our families are our priority? And better yet, how do we handle our work priorities when family priority events occur?
The struggle of today’s mother is that it’s really not about work-life balance because in reality our family has a higher value to us than our jobs. We dread having to leave work for fear of being seen as not working, yet when we are home we worry about duties that are assigned for us at work. If we remove the word balance from our minds and focus on effectiveness, I believe that most of our frustrations will be alleviated.
Here are three quick tips on effectively managing work and life duties.
Take a Step Back: When you feel overwhelmed, take a step back. There will be times where your week will not be optimal. Allow yourself time to think and breathe. It’s going to be OK.
Communicate: Most frustrations working moms face are because of the what-ifs. If you are at work and you have a “life” event that you have to tend to, you grow scared to speak up. You fear being seen as someone who is not working or going home too much. It’s time to communicate. Make them aware of what is happening. So, if something arises, you have already communicated your situation. This makes any needed follow up conversations to leave to tend to your family not so tough.
Throw away the Work-Life Balance Scale: Trying to balance your life and work will not go onto a scale. We all know without saying what weighs heavier in our lives. With that being said, identify and write down your priorities in life. Make your choices based off of those priorities when faced with an “event.” Apply communication in your efforts and simply do your best in everything you do. Not every day will be smooth. But focusing on what is important to you matters more than anything in the world.