The Work-Life Balance for Working Moms
Updated: Sep 17
Changing just a few things in my day-to-day helped me gain clarity while reducing stressing and being a mindful parent.
Oh, it's been three years since the pandemic hit and changed the way many of us work. If you are like me and enjoyed the drive home from a long day at work, I'm crying with you! The drive home from work provided my brain with the space and time to unwind (even while battling the Texas traffic!).
By the time I met my little humans, my mind was reset and recharged to be PRESENT and enjoy the moment. Not to mention, I was able to accomplish the majority of my to-do list. Being away from home to a degree gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Now, each morning my office is 15 steps away from the bedroom (Yes, I counted!). Within two wide glass doors, I face my beautiful home to see all the housework shamelessly calling my name. The mental battle of work versus home initiates.
Does this sound like you mama, tell me in the comments what has helped you in keeping your sanity.
Here are some tips that have helped me maintain a healthy balance while squeezing in school pick-ups and after-school activities for my little ones.
The most important - SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
While cooking dinner, you remember a work-related task you need to finish. You walk over to the laptop to finish this quick task (after you've already logged off for the day) and ta-da you juggling dinner and work. Sounds familiar?
I am very much guilty of this. Many times so much, that my boys would say "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO FINISH WORKING?!?" I was certainly impacting my quality time with my family.
So, here are some tips to help set those boundaries:
Communicate your boundaries with your colleagues, managers, and family members. Set clear office hours.
Don't shy from communicating when you need uninterrupted family or work time.
Block your work calendar with personal appointments that will require you to be away from the desk. Don't be shy to inform your team members that you will be out-of-office.
At the end of each day "LOG-OFF". Reconnecting to your VPN is a task, if you've disconnected you are least likely to log back on.
Do not answer any MS Teams or work emails (use your best judgment).
When I STOPPED responding after-hours, the after-hours emails became less frequent. They magically waited until the next morning.
ESTABLISH A DAILY/WEEKLY ROUTINE
A routine is your best friend when you balance work and home life. Routine helps with expectations and reduces anxiety. I personally struggled with this for a while. Each morning, I was waking up with the kids. Yeah, that didn't work. I realized that in order for me to keep my sanity and not immediately trigger the flight or fight mode each morning, I needed a routine. A routine that enabled me to focus on myself (morning journaling, skin care, breakfast, catching up on pending housework, preparing kids' breakfast, etc.)
So, here are some tips to help create a routine daily/weekly:
Each Sunday, plan your day and week in advance allocating time for work, family, and personal activities. Stick to the schedule as much as possible to maintain a sense of routine. Maintaining this routine also helps your colleagues to create a mental note of your availability.
I have this weekly calendar on my fridge to help each member understand what's happening that week. It also nudges us with and prevents the "Oh, I forgot!" moments.
I was lucky to find this at a local Dollar Tree. Here's a comparable (and better) available on Amazon.
If you haven't already, check out my Mindfulness Journal that I use each night. It helps me organize my thoughts and helps me prepare for the next day. It's really helped me gain more peaceful sleep.
PRIORITIZE & DELEGATE
When planning your week identify tasks that can be delegated or moved to a later date. Try to focus on 3-5 tasks per week that are a MUST for you to complete. If the task takes less than 2 minutes try to complete it while creating your weekly schedule. Slowly you will begin to notice the shrinking to-do list. This 2-minute rule has been a game-changer. It's amazing how much cognitive space is opened when completing this tiny task.
SEEK SUPPORT & SET ASIDE PERSONAL DOWNTIME
Where is the mommy village? I hear this question all the time from my fellow mama colleagues. Many mama's are balancing a job, raising kids, and everything else in between without the necessary support. It's incredibly overwhelming to not have a safe haven to speak your mind or even ask for help. Create a work community where you share thoughts, experiences, or even play dates.
Set aside some personal time even if it's for 15 minutes a day. Can't do it daily, then set a personal goal for the week and attain it. Once you start achieving these little milestones, it becomes easier to find the time. Breaking the habit is the most challenging part.
LEARN TO SAY NO
I struggled with this for the longest time. Working non-stop and long hours is nested within my DNA. After becoming a mom with a full-time corporate job, I realized the importance of work-life balance. I can't be the mama I want to be, because, by the end of the day, there is nothing left in me.
If you are constantly finding yourself taking on more than you are capable of, it's time to change the game plan. If you aren't able to say NO, you will not be able to prioritize, create a weekly plan, set boundaries, or take time for yourself.
I hope these tips, tricks, and support were helpful. Let me know in the comments what your biggest struggles are and if any of these tips helped you!