How many times have you looked at some flawlessly dressed woman, with a seemingly blissful marriage, picture-perfect kids, and an amazing career, and said to yourself, I don’t know how she manages to balance it all?
These women might make everything seem easy. But we know it isn’t.
Most of the time, we struggle to meet our deadlines without forgetting our anniversaries or being late to pick up the kids. And a lot of the time, our hair is a mess, our papers are all over the house and office, and we’re about to burst into tears. So, is that perfect lady from the first paragraph faking it, or does she really have it all?
I’m not gonna lie. It is not easy to find balance. In fact, it is close to impossible. But you are a mother, a wife, and a businesswoman – you have already proven that you are up for the challenge. Here are some tips that will help you.
Divide Your Time, Not Your Attention
Here’s a scene to think of: You are sitting in front of your computer, trying to get some work done. You are simultaneously helping your kids with their homework, and you are trying to have a conversation with your partner.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, everything. Your attention is divided into three things, and you will not be able to do anything with your whole heart and mind. You’ll end up with half-hearted work, a confused kid, and a lagging conversation. Not ideal.
So, here’s how to separate those things:
The average person can be productive for about four hours. If you spend that time in your office, make sure you finish everything up while you’re there. If you are working from home, use the time when your kids are at school or when your partner can take care of them to work.
Plan playtime and activities with your children around their chores, naps, and other set activities.
Communicate with your partner. Try to plan at least one hour a day for you two, and one day a week when you can go out or stay in alone.
Do Not Sacrifice Your Sleep
Finishing up household chores or work tasks after your kids are in bed or waking up earlier to catch up may sound like a logical idea to help you “get everything together,” but this will only make you even more tired. When you’re exhausted, you cannot be productive at work – in fact, you can’t do anything nearly as well as when you are your normal, rested self. Good sleep and proper rest are essential for success, and you need between seven and nine hours of it every night. If you have trouble sleeping, here are some things that can help you:
- Be physically active (at least ten minutes of exercise a day).
- Try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises before bedtime.
- Try to deal with the stress in a healthy way.
Do Not Blame Yourself
You might not be able to make it to every school play or game. You might be late for your anniversary dinner or forget to buy a present. These things happen when you are multitasking. They happen when you have a lot of work. And your family will understand that.
Your effort counts. Consider organizing a weekly family ritual that will make up for the missed opportunities. Make that the time for telling each other everything that makes you happy as well as the things that are bothering you. These family appointments should be treated with the same respect and devotion you dedicate to your work obligations.
Feel Free to Say No
It’s Friday afternoon and your boss asks you if you can stay longer to finish up some things. But you know that you have your family ritual scheduled for that time. What are you going to do?
Just say no.
You are not obligated to fulfill every wish, so decline peacefully and, if necessary, explain why you are doing it. The same goes for your family. Of course, you will be there when you are needed, but you don’t have to bring yourself to the point of exhaustion to fulfill every whim.
Accept Help and Support
Doing everything by yourself doesn’t make you successful. It makes you shattered and beyond exhausted. You might be good at it for some time, but sooner or later, it will backfire. So, here are some ways you can ask and accept help and support:
- Have an honest conversation with your partner about how you will handle all the responsibilities as a team.
- Teach your kids to be more independent and help around the house.
- Your parents, siblings, and friends can help with the children and errands.
- Hire a babysitter or mother’s helper. That doesn’t make you a bad mother.
- Organize playtime for your kids at their friends’ houses. You can volunteer for one day and share the responsibilities with other parents.
- Find other mothers struggling with the same challenges for conversations and social support.
Always Leave Some Time for Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes working mothers often make is dividing their time between family and work while forgetting about one person who also deserves attention – themselves. Juggling between all kinds of responsibilities and the people you love will leave you without willpower and possibly even suffering physically and mentally.
Don’t allow yourself to fall into this trap. Find some time to visit your friends. Take a day off to watch your favorite shows. Go hiking. Make an appointment with your hairdresser. Do something you love. You deserve some love and time too.
You are not just a mother. You are not just a working professional. You are not just a wife. You are each of these things and much more simultaneously. Embrace that; give yourself a chance to thrive in every aspect. But don’t drive yourself crazy by trying to do everything perfectly. It’s your real life, not a motion picture.