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Work-Life Balance for Moms: Is it really possible?
You’ve probably been asking yourself, “Is it possible to balance work and family life without running yourself ragged and being the most unhappy working mom ever?”
Can I really have it all? A successful career and a happy, involved family?
The answer – Yes! Successful women do it every day.
Now, you might be thinking, “That isn’t me. I’m not a successful person.” But let me just tell you, this can absolutely be you. You can be a happy working mom who’s successful at balancing work and home life.
I’m a working mom of three, and I’ve been working since my middle child was 10 months old. (Now a teenager) So, we’re living proof it can be done successfully.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be some juggling and prioritizing, but it’s so worth it.
If you’re a strong woman who wants more out of life, who loves her family but wants to feel successful outside of the home too, who craves a challenge, then you have what it takes to balance work and family life.
The thing is, you might be missing some core skills to make it all happen. And that’s where I come in. I’m going to give you the information you need to balance work and family and feel successful doing it.
How to Balance Work and Family Life
I’m going to be brutally honest here. If you want to have a successful career, an organized home and a happy family, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work.
I never said it would be easy, but once you’ve laid the foundation (which I’m going to help you with), it’ll make your life run much smoother.
When you’re trying to multitask, you have to be flexible, plan ahead and be prepared to change course if needed. And balancing work and home life is exactly that – multitasking.
Before we jump into the tips that’ll help you lay the ground work for managing work and family life, keep an open mind and try not to get overwhelmed. It might seem like a lot, but if you take on one thing at a time, you’ll have everything checked off in no time.
10 Tips for Balancing Work and Family in the Real World
While there could be an entire course on the subject of balancing work and family life, the tips below are the baseline you need for making it all work.
You’re a smart woman with values who wants the best for her family. That is why I know you will take this guidance and find your own path to work-life balance.
Let’s jump in!
#1 – Set Your Priorities
When you’re trying to manage anything in life, you first need to know what your priorities are – What’s most important to you and what can you live without.
Take some time to think about the things that matter most to you.
- Spending quality time with family
- Making sure your kids feel loved
- Your marital relationship
- Excelling at work (a promotion)
- Growing your own business
- Helping your kids with homework every day
- Cooking dinner for your family
**Make a list of whatever these things are to you, however big or small. And leave out the judgement.
This needs to be an honest list of what’s important to you based on your core values. This list will be different for everyone, because we all have different upbringings and have had our own life experiences.
In order for this to work for you, don’t hold anything back. Remember, we’re laying the ground work, and it needs to be stable.
#2 – Keep a Running To-do List
As working moms, our responsibilities are ever changing as we grow and as our families grow. Our to-do list is never truly complete. This is why you should keep a running to-do list.
It’s simple really. Keep a list for work and a separate list for personal/family tasks.
**First, write down everything you need to do for the week, like scheduling dentist appointments, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. Then, put them in order from most important, or time sensitive, to least important.
As you complete the tasks, check them off. If something new comes up during the week, just add it to the list.
This will allow you to visually see what you’ve done and what still needs your attention. Trying to balance it all in your head can be a struggle. Being able to visually see it, will help your brain stay focused on what still needs your attention and put the “done” tasks out of your mind.
#3 – Keep a Planner
Why do you need a planner if you have a to-do list? Well, there are things in life that we do on the regular – recurring events and tasks that have deadlines (like paying your water bill).
It’s easier to put these things on a calendar, so you can look at the month as a whole and see how much time you have to get that specific thing done.
Once you have something written in your calendar, it’s easier to plan the next month and know if you can make commitments when asked if you’re available or if you can help your niece out with her fundraiser at school.
This will keep you from overwhelming or overbooking yourself and stretching yourself too thin. You definitely want a planner.
#4 – Schedule in Family Time
You might think, “I’m with my family every day. We live together.” But passing each other on the way to the bathroom isn’t really quality time, is it?
We think we’ll have the time or make the time. But the truth is, if you’re a person who needs to feel productive all the time, that to-do list can take over and control your life.
You’ll feel a need to keep working. And when you work too much, you’ll feel guilty for not spending enough time with your family.
Keeping a planner will help you stay prioritized and be present with your family.
#5 – Create Routines
Routines are a collective group of habits you do without much thought. For instance, brushing your teeth every day as soon as you get out of bed is a habit. But a morning routine can look like this:
- Brush your teeth
- Take a shower
- Put on makeup
- Fix your hair
- Get dressed for work
- Wake the kids up
- Pack your lunch for the day
- Make coffee
The point is, a routine is a series of events you do on the regular. And since you are accustomed to doing these things, they don’t take much thought, and it allows you to keep things flowing without getting off task.
It takes less time, and checks off things that need to be done without it being stressful.
There are many routines that you can create for your life, but I highly suggest a morning routine and an evening routine.
#6 – Keep Open Lines of Communication
When you work full time and have a family to take care of, it’s important to keep open lines of communication between you and your spouse, you and your boss, you and your kids, you and your kid’s nanny or sitter.
You and your spouse need to communicate openly about the kids, work schedules, and other important events. And having that open communication can help you both feel connected and heard.
You should communicate with your boss about life events that will affect your work, and you should know your boss’s expectations of your work.
You should talk with your kids regularly so they know what you expect of them and so they feel confident confiding in you.
Your relationship with your child’s caretaker is important as well. They need to know any health concerns, how to contact you, what the child’s struggling with. Likewise, you need to know how they’re getting along when you’re not around. You work as a team to make sure your child is healthy and taken care of.
#7 – Set Boundaries
If you’re passionate about the work you do, it’s easy to take work home with you once you’re off the clock.
If you’re frustrated at work, your frustration might show through and affect your relationship with your family. Likewise, if you’re having some personal issues, those could be affecting your motivation and work quality.
With all the technology these days, it’s also easy for employees to literally take their work home. Maybe you check your work email every hour you’re at home or you take calls after hours.
Set boundaries for work and home so you do your best to avoid your family feeling less important and you feeling overworked. Make sure your employer knows your dedication to your job, but also that your family is important.
You might make a rule of no phones at the dinner table or no checking email after 5 p.m. Do what works for you.
#8 – Let Others Help
Allowing others to help is not always an easy thing to do. Especially when you’re a high functioning person that thrives on accomplishment.
But when you have a family, and if you’re dreams are really important to you, you’ll learn to share responsibilities.
Overworking yourself is not good for you mentally, physically, or for your relationships. You have to realize you can’t physically do it all.
This goes back to priorities. What are the things you know you have to do yourself? And, what are the things you can let others assist with? This goes for work and home.
#9 – Give Yourself a Break
The thing with balancing work and family life, the scale doesn’t always balance out evenly.
When you feel like there’s an imbalance, take a break and try not to overthink it.
When you feel overwhelmed, it usually means it’s time to re-evaluate. So, step back from the go, go, go, and give yourself a break.
Take time for yourself. It’s important to address your personal wants and needs in order for you to sustain your energy and excitement about life. If you’re feeling burnt out, you’re probably only giving 50%.
Do something for yourself, something that makes you happy and reminds you of why you do what you do. Then, take a new look at your planner and to-do list, and see what things you could possibly cut out or approach in a new way.
#10 – Don’t forget to Manage Your Mind
Most people think if they become successful, rich, and accomplish all their goals, they’ll suddenly be happy.
They grind and work hard to achieve their goals every day, only to realize later that they’re just as unsatisfied with their life as they were before all the work and accomplishment.
If you want to avoid burnout, here are some things you can do to keep a positive mindset and stay focused on what’s most important.
- Focus on gratitude
- Acknowledge your desires
- Be aware & stay in the present
- Spend time with positive people
- Read the full list of mindset tips here…
How to Balance Work and Family – Final Thoughts
Work-life balance is not something that comes easy to everyone. The important thing to remember is there isn’t a right or wrong way to do things. There is only what’s right for you and your family.
Remember to stay flexible and open to suggestion. Focus on what’s most important to you. Keep a to-do list. Take care of yourself and your family. Communicate your feelings regularly.
If you follow these 10 steps I’ve laid out for you, you will achieve work-life balance.