7 Tips To Balance Work and Family
Here are 7 effective tips for working moms to help career and family flourish.
1. Let Go of the Guilt. Rather than dwell on how you’re not with your child, think about how your role in the company is benefitting the family. Perhaps you can afford certain classes or educational opportunities for your children or you’re able to put away savings for college. Successful working moms find ways to be efficient in both worlds, and that requires being able to come to terms with choices and focus on the priorities that are in the moment. Accept that there will be good and bad days. Mothers should know they are not alone and they should discuss their feelings with partners or support groups. Local mom blogs, such as Working Moms Against Guilt, are a great way to reach out to others trying to find the same work-home balance.
2. Create and Organize a Family Calendar. One good suggestion is to set aside 10 to 20 minutes each week (maybe Sunday) to review and prepare for the upcoming week’s schedule. This helps eliminate surprises and stress during the week. Figure out your family’s priorities. A calendar can include dates when bills are due, a chore chart for the kids, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and more. One good way is to Google calendars, which can be easily shared and synced on smartphones, because “they are color-coded and get superimposed on each other, so you can always be on top of scheduling challenges.
3. Stay Connected During the Day. Stay connected with your children even when you’re not together. For moms with younger kids, consider recording yourself talking or singing on a video or record your voice reading to your children. If you’re going to miss or be late to an older child’s event, give her something special in the morning, like a good-luck charm or a personal note. Look into options for filming the event so you can watch it later and not miss a moment. During your breaks at work, call your child. Hearing your children can help you get through a rough day, and they will be comforted to hear your voice and know you’re near.
4. Limit Time Wasters & Distractions in Workplace. At your workplace, try to avoid wasting time. Of course you want to have a rapport with coworkers, but numerous email exchanges, casual Internet surfing, gossiping, and long lunches are distractions that will make you less productive. Focus on your tasks at work and talk to coworkers during breaks or lunchtime. When you are home, be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making work-related phone calls. If possible, schedule to do these only when your kids are sleeping. Reduce TV watching to once a week to maximize time with your children during the evenings. Try to avoid multitasking, especially when spending time with your children.
5. Create Special Family Activities. Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond. If you’re pressed for time, have a family breakfast or a family night with board games or movies. Create activities that regularly fit into your schedule so everyone knows what to expect and what to look forward to. When you do have family outings, avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Instead, focus on your kids’ interests such as friends, classes, and hobbies. With older children, ask for their activity suggestions and try to meet their needs. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you do it together.
6. Spend Time with Your Partner. Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner, who will often be the number one person by your side. Start by having monthly date nights to get closer, feel rejuvenated, and enjoy each other’s company. Often, if you’re busy with work and home, your partner is the first to get neglected. Fostering this relationship will bring back some excitement to the marriage or partnership and help you to “check in” with each other. For some couples, going out on a monthly date can be difficult and expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on each other. Have an indoor date night by cooking an elegant meal together or even sitting together with a glass of wine and talking (but not about work or the kids)
7. Create Moments for Yourself. By managing time wisely, you can fit in valuable “me” time regularly. A refreshing break will help you recharge while taking care of personal needs. “Because your time is divided between your home and your career, make sure to manage your energy well. You can’t be an effective spouse or parent if you’re cranky, so take time to care for yourself to feel relaxed and effective and to avoid burnt-out. Lose yourself in a book before you go to sleep, take a bubble bath once a week, or treat yourself to a spa day. Schedule in time for your exercise (like a yoga class or a 30-mins brisk walking) or focus on a hobby. Remember to eat well and get enough rest — simple things that sometimes even the smartest moms may neglect.