Is it even possible to balance both?
It's an interesting debate really. Does balance even exist? In my opinion, no and that's okay. I think you can create a framework for them to complement one another.
Working Mother said it best, "Work-life balance is not a reality. You need to strive for work-life integration or work-life blend. My family is most important, but my job is also an important part of who I am and I want my kids to appreciate that."
Here are some tips to create a smoother work-life integration:
- Set a routine
Establishing a morning routine can help you to sail through the day smoothly. Set your alarm, get up and get moving before everybody else is awake. I know this is almost comical if you have a newborn that eats around the clock. Do your best. Point is this, get some 'me time' in to start your day off on the right foot.
- Plan ahead
To avoid getting stressed out in the morning, get done as much as possible the night before. Pack bags, set aside outfits, grab chargers, decide and prep breakfast, etc.
Set yourself up for success by prioritizing your to-do list. There's nothing more intimidating than a 2-page todo list, believe me, my husband tells me that when I give him his 'honey do' list. There's often an eye roll involved too. Instead, make a to-do list of 3-4 tasks that you want to accomplish and cross them as you go. You'll pat yourself on the back along the way and keep the anxiety to a minimum. This goes for both work and home by the way!
- Work efficiently
Focus! Be intentional about your work and get down to business. Avoid scrolling endlessly through social media, or chatting about Suzie's fourth terrible blind date. The more you're able to focus and get work done, the easier it'll be to feel good about your progress at the end of the day.
Remember that things will pop up outside of your control, such is life. Moms are incredible at managing time and multi-tasking. Don't stress if something pops up like a babysitter calling out sick or an impromptu doctor visit for your little one. Stay focused but remember to stay flexible if and when those occasional events pop up.
- Family time is family time
When I get overwhelmed with kids, work, husband, etc, I've taught myself to step back and look at the big picture. I'm still working on it, but so far, it's helped quite a bit in moments of frustration.
I think everyone should really step back and analyze what matters most to them. It's easy to get bogged down with the pressures of life and lose sight of it. What would you regret most if you were to die tomorrow? Not trying to be morbid here, but death is a strong motivator!
Let the family time be the family time, schedule it and do it. If you're sticking to your work during work hours, stick to your family during family hours. There is nothing to regret and this is the closest you can be to work-life integration.
It really takes a village to raise a child! There is no reason to be proud and not ask for help, in fact, you'll drive yourself absolutely mad. Find ways to make life easier and more efficient. One thing that helped our family a TON was hiring a weekly cleaning lady. It freed up hours in the week to spend together or do other things and was a huge relief. Other things you can consider are grocery delivery apps, carpooling with friends or neighbors, asking your husband for a hand, and finding other efficiencies to make life easier.
- Scheduled ‘me-time’
It's important, it really is. Find some time to carve out for yourself. For some, it's a run, for others it's wine and catching up with girlfriends, for others it's a massage, or facial. Whatever brings you some happiness and a feeling of rejuvenation is your jam. Make sure you schedule it in or it won't get done!
In the end, you are one lucky mama. To have the opportunity to balance a family and a career is a blessing. You're a shining example for your children and will forever be a role model for what's possible. We are cheering for you, mama!
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