Being a mother is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences a woman can have. Add a career to the mix, and you have a recipe for a very hectic, demanding life. I just had a coffee meeting and the man I met has 3 older daughters and he asked me- “How on Earth do you do it all with 3 Children under 3”….. well let me tell you…
If you have the right mindset and you have the right approach to it, you can absolutely balance being a mother and your career successfully. There are a few elements that must be in place though, and I’ll start with the most important at the top!
Set clear work boundaries: One of the biggest challenges of balancing motherhood and career is ensuring that your work life doesn’t interfere with your family life, and vice versa. When you are returning to work after having children, sit down with the appropriate person and set out some clear work Boundaries. Flexibility is Key when you have a family, who’s doing drop offs/ pick ups/ making dinner etc. You need to think about what will work for you and speak to your workplace. Hopefully they will be fully supportive of your flexible requirements, and if they aren’t send them my way, they clearly need to change their mindset!
Get organised: Have you ever met a more organised person than a working mother? I think not. Being organised is really the key to survival as a working mum. Without it, you will end up in a heap on the floor completely overwhelmed. Make to do lists- personal and professional every day and tick things off as they are completed. Have a place for all your appointments that is easy to access, and prepare what you can the night before. There is nothing worse than realising your daughter’s uniform needs a wash and she has school in 45 minutes… plan ahead and be organised!
Prioritize your tasks: Following on from being a super organised power mum, you need to then prioritise what is most important. Work out what is most urgent and make sure those tasks are completed first. If you have to leave dry cereal all over your kitchen floor after breakfast to get out of the house on time then so be it- it’s not a priority at that time, getting out the house is. (I just hope your OCD doesn’t eat you up all day knowing the mess that awaits you)
Build a support system: No one can do it all alone, and this is especially true for mothers who are juggling careers and a happy home life. Work for a company that supports you as a parent, that fosters real flexibility so you don’t feel terrible leaving early or coming in late if you’re doing the school drop offs. Surround yourself with positive, supportive friends and family that will offer help and practical support when you need it. And make sure you have a great partner, sharing the load is essential for a healthy balance so get them to step up when you need some help and do their fair share.
Take care of yourself: The point that most parents really struggle with- I know I do. Taking care of ourselves is actually the most important one- I should have put this first!!
If you are going to be successful and avoid being a burnt out, stressed out, Hot mess- take some time out for you. Make time to exercise, try and get enough sleep (easier said than done, I know), eat well, manage your stress levels and socialise. Sometimes a glass of wine with a good friend is the most restorative thing you can do. A happy, healthy mum is the best thing you can give your children, so looking after yourself is absolutely essential.
Balancing motherhood and your career is not easy, but with the right approach, it can be done. By setting clear boundaries, prioritizing your tasks, getting organized, building a support system, and taking care of yourself, you’ll be feeling like a superhero and so proud of yourself. Take a moment to think about all the incredible things you manage to accomplish every day across your personal and professional life and BE PROUD, you have totally got this!
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