Still to this day work-life balance can be a constant struggle for many people, especially moms. When I had my daughter almost 13 years ago I was working as a Trainer and Sales Manager in the Pharmaceutical Industry. I struggled to find that balance, struggled to stay confident at work, and felt an incredible amount of new mommy guilt. Here’s how I described my search for balance in the book, “Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom”:
Balance is one of those overused words that I believe can be next to impossible to achieve. Balance implies all things are neatly in line and flowing together nicely. I think of images of ballerinas posing perfectly on toes with hands in the air. In my world it is more like a seesaw constantly in motion as I try to avoid dropping balls flying out of control over my head.
Today I work as a Clinical Therapist as the owner of Maximize Wellness Counseling and Coaching LLC and am a part of support and networking groups with other women business owners who are balancing growing a business as well as raising a family.
Here are some best practices from three awesome business owner moms I have met:
Life is a balance every single day. When you add more ‘things’ to your calendar, something is going to get bumped or pushed out completely. So, before you add ONE more thing, decide what you’re gonna let go. Sometimes you decide NOT to let anything go, and then you have your answer. You can’t add new, unless you’re willing to tip the balance scales. Sasha Gray, humor writer of Lipstick Margaritas and Hairspray
I love Sasha’s reminder that we can’t do EVERYTHING. At some point we need to understand where and how to
say “No.” That is something I have recently begun doing more and more of in order to better balance my time. As a therapist , I regularly go to the office in the evenings to accommodate clients who work full time. That means I have had to turn down some opportunities to teach classes or attend networking events which take me away from my family more than one or two evenings a week. In order to do that we need to understand the power of delegating. That means giving up on tasks that are high stress, low value. At home, look for age appropriate chores for the kids and other ways to lighten the load at home.
Focus on your “priorities” more than “balance.” There are going to be days when work comes first or you have to work a few nights. There are going to be days when you tell your boss, “Sir/Ma’am, I HAVE to go.” Your priority will always be your kids, but when you’re at work, focus on getting your work done quickly and efficiently. Minimize personal phone calls, Facebook etc. Working parents are great employees because they work fast to get out of work on time so they can go home. – Elizabeth Peace, Communications Director for the U.S. House of Representatives and blogger at Coffee, Love and World Peace.
Elizabeth points out the importance operating from priorities and values and of being mindful. When you are at work, focus your attention and energy on the task at hand. When you are with your children, put away the phone, email or other work related distractions. Being present in the moment is crucial to increasing productivity with work. It is tough to maximize effectiveness at work if you are constantly checking in with your sitter or worried about something going on at home or school. Your kids are also very aware when you are physically with them but in your head you are off somewhere else thinking about or focusing on anything other than what is happening at that moment.
Balance can only come to your life when your SELF is balanced. Take care of your SELF first. – Sunit Suchdev of Modern Twin Mom
Twins bring on a whole new level of stress and balance issues. Sunit makes a fantastic point which takes so many of us a while to fully appreciate.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things moms can do. There seems to be this misconception that in order to be successful we need to self-sacrifice. The reality is, if we are not taking care of our physical, emotional and mental health, we are less able to be successful in all aspects of our lives. That doesn’t mean just exercise and nutrition, but also taking time to have fun and engage in activities that benefit our emotional and mental health. Perhaps it is practicing mindfulness or joining volunteer organization or being party of a club or sports team.
How many of us put off having fun until weekends or vacation? It does not have to be that way. Taking care of yourself is about increasing your level of happiness, which positively affects your overall health, productivity and resilience to better balance work and life. Not only does self-care help you balance work/life, but it also sets the stage for what you would like to see for your children as they grow into adulthood. They learn by example the importance of taking care of themselves for a happier and more balanced life.
Thank you to my Sunit, Elizabeth and Sasha for your insights on this important topic of work/life balance.
As moms, we need to let go of seeking perfection and living up to what we think we “should” do and create a balance that works for us!
For some great resources, books and websites that may help you in your personal journey, click HERE.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
When it comes to being a mom, practicing the self-compassion I teach. Some days it is better than others.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate my limitations and set realistic expectations.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
I am most proud of my children right now. Goals and dreams to continue to do what I love and be there for them.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
So many, some easier to accept than others. Work in progress.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my life as it is!
If you are interested in learning more about Maximize Wellness Counseling and Coaching services, workshops, products or to schedule a free phone consultation, go to website maximize-wellness.com, call 908-337-3710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.