As a working mother, how do you balance life and work?

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That title contains ideals, pressure, assumptions, and expectations. Everyone has an opinion regarding working mothers, and it would be nice to argue that if you are a working mother, your perspective is the only one that matters. But life isn't that simple.

So, from one working mother to another, here's a (somewhat unconventional) approach to balancing life as a working mum.

6 Ways to Balance Life as a Working Mother


1. Have an Answer for “Why”

No, not an answer to anyone who asks why you work, but an explanation to yourself.

You may be working for the money, the health advantages, your passion for your job, or any combination of these factors. The crucial point is that you can tell yourself, "I'm working because..."

Knowing why you work—the "why" that is important to you—will help you keep things in perspective.

Perhaps you work because you enjoy your job and would do it even if you were independently wealthy. Alternatively, extended health benefits are required to cover the treatment of a family member.

When you understand your "why," you can prioritize more effectively.  Questions regarding working overtime, responding to emails while away from the office, or any other job issues are easier to address when you understand why you're doing them (or not doing them).

At the same time, knowing why you work will help you make better parenting decisions. If it's right for you, you can explain why you work to your children. If you have a partner, you can remind each other of your "why" and how to connect it with the priorities of the family.

2. Clarify What “Mom” Means to You

Almost all of us were raised by a mother. We learned a lot from her, formed decisions about what a mother should and shouldn't do, and internalized a lot about motherhood.

If we didn't have a mother, we observed other mothers intently, trying to imagine what it would be like to have one.

But so much about life and parenthood has changed in the last several decades, and even more so in the last few years. Things that were fantastic for moms in the 1970s and 1980s no longer exist.

Despite what social media may suggest, there is no one right way to be a mother. You are exceptional. You can be a one-of-a-kind mother as well.

Some mothers like to pretend to play with their children. Others would like to play catch. Some mothers enjoy making homemade suppers every night. Others are well-versed on where to order take-out. Some mothers require the services of a nanny. Others want to spend every waking moment with their children.

There is no such thing as a perfect or required way. Work hard to figure out what's best for you as a mother, and fiercely reject any "should" that isn't.

This is equally true for working mothers. Determine what is best for you and say "no, thanks" to any pressure, ideal, or expectation that is completely inappropriate for you.

3. Invest in Good Help

Let's start with assistance at work. Are you doing things that others could do? Would training others relieve some of your stress?

The "invest" element of this tip has nothing to do with money. It is about devoting time and effort to distributing the tasks that must be completed to others. Training people might be difficult, but the return is less labor in the long run.

What about when you're at home? Working mothers have access to potential assistance from their children and, in certain cases, their spouses.

Yes, you will most likely have to spend some time and effort training them how to do things, and they will most likely not do things as well as you. They can, however, all learn to assist. Every little task that someone else completes is one fewer task that you must complete.

Eventually, this is a terrific approach to achieving some equilibrium. It may necessitate a mental shift, but it is well worth it.

You don't have to do everything, and it doesn't have to be done precisely.

This is an excellent location for some creative brainstorming. You're definitely performing a lot of mental duties in addition to all of the regular working/mom tasks, such as planning holidays, scheduling maintenance, organizing social events, and checking budgets and spending.

4. Look for the Energy Traps

One issue that working mothers face is a lack of energy. It's nearly universal.

We're all exhausted. Some days, clenching our teeth and pulling out the last few ounces of energy we didn't realize we possessed is the only way we make it to sleep.

So, what's wasting your time and energy? Honest replies are likely to include your children, boss, and/or partner. All of them are correct.

Consider the things that bother you the most. Is there anything you can do to influence them? Perhaps the worst time of day is the bedtime battle. Is there anything you can modify to make it easier?

Wearing pajamas, reading a book, and sleeping in a bed are all optional activities. These are entirely optional.

Brush your child's teeth after supper if they refuse to brush them before bed. If kids despise wearing pajamas, seek for an alternative that you can live with.

The same may be said about morning routines. Ask whether there is anything you can change everywhere you feel yourself falling into the same energy trap.

Some people outside your close circle may be energy traps as well.

Did somebody spring to mind right away? Someone who drains your energy or surrounds you with negative energy every time you're with them?

Energy is a scarce resource. You only have a limited supply. If you can save energy by restructuring relationships or lowering the amount of time you spend with certain people, do it!

5. Become Your Own Caregiver

This is the most difficult thing for many ladies. We may believe that our responsibility is to care for everyone else (which is true), but we leave the job of caring for ourselves to some mysterious power in the universe.

What do you require?

You know what your children require: up to 14 hours of sleep (including naps) avoidance of particular settings, cuddling, a nightlight, and so on. Can you respond to the same question about yourself?

It is your responsibility to obtain what you require after you have identified it. A loving partner, an open-minded supervisor, caring children, and nice coworkers can all assist you in obtaining what you require. But you have the ability to obtain it.

If you don't have those folks in your life, you're probably in far greater need of self-care.

Fortunately, society is beginning to recognize that working mothers have needs as well. That's a start, but you can't wait for someone or anything else to tell you that it's okay to look after yourself. It is your responsibility.

Please, please, please meet your needs, whether you can convey them to the people in your life and have their support, or whether you have to carve out the time and means to do so.

You won't have that job forever. Your children will (most likely) be grown and living on their own. You could be in a relationship or not. You are the only constant in your future. Start looking after yourself. Today.

You don't have to be perfect to succeed at this, just like every other point in this post. (In fact, we'd prefer to toss perfection down a cliff.) Try something like insisting on 30 minutes of alone time, refusing to answer emails on weekends, or signing up for that fun-looking workout class.

Keep it up if it's healthy for you. If it stinks, try something else that could work better.

6. Balance Life With Both Feet on the Ground

What comes to mind when you hear the word "balance?" If it entails wobbly balancing on one foot or trying to maintain a teeter-totter perfectly level, it's time to reconsider.

Instead, envision yourself standing with both feet on the ground. Your body is powerful but relaxed. Your focus is straightforward, but you are also aware of what is going on around you.

The corners of your mouth are turned up slightly, as if a chuckle is just waiting to be heard. Your hands are at ease.

This does not imply that your actual life is like this. It's the mental image you have when you seek balance. Balance isn't about what's going on around you (or over you if you're climbing a child right now). It is all about you.

As a working mother, only you know what balance is best for you. It could be very similar to someone else's or completely distinct. It's the right thing if it works for you.

Final Thoughts

Being a working mother is difficult. Some may even argue that it is one of the most difficult occupations in the world. So, if you're having trouble balancing life as a working mother, start with this simple guide.

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