Work-life balance when you are a working mother is next to impossible. Nonetheless, as working moms, there are things we can do to make life a bit more manageable-prioritize and manage expectations. Know that you can’t be all things to all people and act accordingly. Below are some coping skills for working mommas.
Coping Skill 1: Manage
First, create a schedule and prioritize. Be prepared to augment and change based on life’s ebb and flow. Second, set boundaries and manage expectations. It is necessary to clearly communicate both at work and at home what you are capable of taking on. If everyone is on the same page, everyone can follow the same script.
For instance, during a previous assignment, I arrived in the office between 8:30 am and 9:00 am each day. On the flip side, I left the office at precisely 4:00 pm and let it be known to my team that I would return online at 8:00 pm-for an hour max. To reinforce this, schedule, I blocked my calendar at 3:30 pm each weekday, so no one could squeeze in last-minute meetings. At the office, I closed all daily loose ends between 3:30-4:00 pm or (within reason) reallocated to later that evening before I went to bed. Thanks to this system/communication; 1) my children knew when momma had to leave the house and thus when they would be dumped at the curve if they did not hurry up. 2) My colleagues knew that anything that needed attention for the following day would be in their inbox in the morning.
Coping Skill 2: Don't Forget You
This reminder is an imparative coping skills for a working momma. It is also one of MavenMomma’s tenets- YOU are most important. Listen, the one that keeps it all together can’t fall apart. As such, don’t let the juggle of career and family consume you.
I have younger children, so leaving home before work is not an option. For this reason, I purchased an exercise bike to work out from home before my girls awake.
Still, self-care is not only about the workout, it is also about taking time for self. Earlier when I wrote about leaving the office at 4:00 pm, it is not always to rush home to my family. At times I use that extra hour to do whatever I choose. Granted, it is only an hour, but that hour allows me the time to go to yoga, grab a drink, get a manicure, or to sit in the car and listen to an audiobook while I eat a burger, you know – WHATEVA!
Schedule time to treat yo’ self as needed. You earned that and more.
Coping Skill 3: Assemble Your Squad
A good strategy for moms in the workforce is to find allies. Ideally, you have other mothers who know the struggle, and you can share work/life balance antidotes as you navigate your company’s culture. In addition, take your work squad a step further. Look for a mentor in sr. management that will champion you up, down, and all around the organization. Level up to those expectations and show your worth-even if you are unable to stay late.