Okay, ladies. I asked you all on Instagram several days ago what you wanted to read about on the blog this week, and many of you mentioned tips on achieving a better work/home balance. Some of your suggestions tied into this topic, with questions like ‘How to make more ‘ME’ time. All I do is give to everyone else’ and ‘How can I get rid of the working mom guilt?’ Clearly…the struggle (and juggle) is REAL.
I have experience both sides of the coin. I was a stay at home mom for four years and then went back to work while both girls were still at home and not yet in school. The transition has been….interesting, rewarding, exhausting, and challenging all at once. No job is harder or easier, they are both challenging in their own unique ways. No way is right or wrong. For me, staying at home for four years was right…until I needed to be more mentally stimulated, and at that point, I knew I needed to take the leap.
If you’re struggling with this whole transition, you are not alone. In fact, I’m pretty sure that almost every single mom has felt (or still feels) the exact way you do. Here are some of my suggestions on how I have managed the work/home balance:
I always mention this to my girlfriends when they are feeling the stress of working outside of the home and also being available to their children, and that’s perspective. Just think about it for a second…quality is equally as important as quantity (and sometimes, more important). I’ve realized since I started working outside of the home that when Mila and Brielle run into my arms at the end of the day, I am in 100% ‘mom mode’. I don’t care about anything else but being completely present with them and being at home, engaged, attending to them.
Of course there are still distractions, like making dinner, folding laundry and catching up with the hubby. With that said, the quality of the time I spend with them is maximized because I miss them and haven’t seen them all day. Try shifting your perspective in how you view it – quality over quantity!
I’m extremely lucky in that I have a very flexible job and my bosses really prioritize family life over everything else. However, I know this isn’t the case for all women and families. The biggest advice I can give is to set boundaries when it comes to your availability, whenever possible.
When I’m on ‘off hours’, I’m 100% off (unless it’s an absolutely urgent matter, which is rare). I no longer feel guilty about taking vacation or shutting my phone off to be with my family. If anything, it makes me feel extremely in control of my life and when I am ‘on’ at work, I’m completely mentally available. I truly believe that overworking yourself will only lead to burn-out, and setting clear boundaries is essential in having a good work/home balance.
Society is really good at telling us what is acceptable and what isn’t. There is shame when it comes to working in the home (you’re not using your brain, as some may say) and shame when it comes to working outside of the home (your children need you home with them to fully grow and thrive). Whether you realize it or not, it’s super easy to internalize all of these crazy belief systems and feel guilty about something 90% of the time.
You know what I think? I think we need get rid of the thoughts on what we ‘should’ be doing and what others will think of us, and simply reflect and ask yourself if you are happy. If your children are happy. If you’re happy as a working mom because you get to socialize with other adults, that’s fantastic! If you’re a work at home mom and love being with your children all day, that’s amazing too! DO YOU, period. You know what’s best for your children and your family’s happiness, so have more faith in your gut instinct versus what society tells you when it comes this subject matter.
Quick Mindset Checklist
Whenever I’m feeling emotionally drained and the mom guilt creeps in, I ask myself these questions. Not even joking…it has made a world of a difference. It brings me out of my highly emotional state and back to rational thinking. I really recommend trying this!
- Are my kids happy?
- Are they in good hands when I’m gone?
- Do I like my job?
- List 5 things my family has that brings joy and happiness to all of our lives (focus on things that more specifically, bring your children happiness, safety and peace). Some examples are:
- My children love their day-care provider who treats them with so much love, they enjoy being there.
- I love my job and my kids see this joy and will learn to follow their dreams, too.
- I enjoy being a stay at home mom and my kids love that I’m home with them every day.
- My kids are thriving and that is because they know how loved they are.
I hope this list helps!
Lots of love,