Being a successful career-driven woman and a doting new mother is a wonderful and fulfilling experience. However, its flipside is that it can be overwhelming. Both occupations are demanding full-time jobs.
As a working mother, you will feel that there are not enough hours in a day. However, strategic time management and prioritisation can make things a little easier.
According to work-life experts, such as author and keynote speaker Samantha Ettus, and founder and CEO of JoJo Maman Bébé Laura Tenison, you should mark your boundaries clearly and guard against your work life encroaching on family work.
Ettus said: “In the old days we worked for the same company for 30 years and our daily hours were 9 to 5. But times have changed and you should, too. Don’t expect your company to protect your personal life, that’s your job. Decide a reasonable time to arrive and leave the office each day, given your workload and responsibilities, and barring a work deadline or emergency, stick to it. Daily train commuters are slave to the schedule; behave like one of them.”
Adjusting your morning schedule so that you can shower and get dressed at a comfortable pace, while still making time for breakfast. It will ensure you are a step ahead of your day.
Tenison said that working mothers need to ensure that their children understand how important they are and are able to appreciate that work is also important.
“Ensure that the kids understand they come first, but work is sometimes important. They need to respect this. When my boys were a little older, we would all sit together at the table; they would do their homework and I would do mine. This gives you time together, but also helps to instil the importance of work.”
There are going to be days when you have meetings after hours, an overload of work or a crisis that needs your attention. That could mean you have to go home later than usual.
Ettus advised that you enlist evening help from your partner or babysitter once every couple of weeks, even if you have nothing planned. “It’s great not to have to rush home sometimes or work late, so you can go for a drink or go late-night shopping. Enjoy your free time and try not to feel guilty.”
Tenison and Ettus advised mothers to hone the skill of making quick decisions. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the myriad decisions faced daily, and as a busy working mother, you don’t have time to dwell on grey areas. So, make decisions swiftly and move on to the next task.
Most times, a superwoman will need support to keep the balance between home and work without falling apart. Reaching out for help from your partner should not be difficult or something to be uneasy about.
“To reach your potential personally and professionally, you are either single or you have a partner who supports your dreams and is willing to do his or her part to conquer at home and with the kids. If you are paired up but unequal, it is time to turn your spouse into a partner. After the kids go to sleep, take a night to have an open conversation and spend time writing down what each of you does in a given week. This is your path to a ‘partnershift’,” she said.
Once you accept that a fulfilling life is full of messy and chaotic moments, you can get through the rough patches sooner. Embrace the imperfections and move on to the next moment, which is likely to be a far better one. Take it as your journey of self-discovery, growth and development personally and professionally.