How can we concentrate on pursuing our own professional career without having a sense of guilt and being stressed about our parenting? How can we have the parenting done right without putting aside our professional aspirations? Our 7 secrets to balancing work and family life may help you to put the things in the right perspective.
1. Appreciate yourself as a working mom. If you have decided to become a working mother, stop blaming yourself. Your family and kids will benefit from your job. Perhaps you can afford certain educational opportunities for your children or even put away some savings for their college. Eventually, your job gives a better standard of living to your family.
2. Try not to work after working hours and on weekends. Block out time on your calendar in advance for your family activities. Turn family dinners, kids’ bath time, and bedtime book reading into family traditions, plan family activities such as family photography session, make weekends bonding (or re-bonding) days. Unplug from your phone when you are with your family and protect the boundaries around your family life.
3. Prioritize what matters most. Do an experiment. Write down how much time during the day you spend on things that don’t really matter –TV, Internet, games, instant messaging, online shopping, etc. Prioritize and cross out things you waste your time on that may otherwise overtake your family time. Cut them out!
4. Commit to your family time. Once you have made your family calendar, don’t miss your family events. Block out on your calendar a dinner, a date night if you are married, or a Saturday family event in advance. Treat those events with the importance of any other business meeting. Your family needs you more than your colleagues and business partners.
5. Talk to your family about your workload. Comfort them about your readiness to balance career and family life. Explain to your partner and kids why sometimes you are not able to do everything they would like you to do (e.g., you have to miss an even at daughter’s kindergarten because of a work obligation). Tell them that sometimes work-related activities may become a priority, but that you can handle them. Openly explaining the situation can help others understand and give the support you need.
6. Take a good care of yourself. Allow a ten-minute shower every time you come home stressed. Read your favorite book before you go to sleep, take a bubble bath if you wish, or book a spa day in your calendar. Eat well, exercise, and get rest: only by taking care of yourself, you can take care of others.
7. Think of yourself as a good role model for your kids. Studies have shown that daughters of working mothers succeed more in their professional lives and have higher pay. Sons tend to become more involved in parenting and household care when they grow up, perhaps because their fathers serve a good role model for them too by sharing housework with their wives. Finally, partners tend to appreciate the supportive role of women in sharing the financial burden of the family.
Nowadays, almost every second mom is a working mom. According to recent surveys, though men have become more involved in housework, women still do twice more housework and spend twice more time on caring for other family members than men. This puts an additional pressure on working moms to find ways to balance work and family.
This balance is not something you achieve once and forever, but what you build and re-build in your actions every single day. Perhaps being positive about having a work that can happily co-exist with your family is the first step for you to start.
What are your tips for a good family calendar? What are your favorite family activities during workdays and weekends? Share them with us, please.