The media has a lot to answer for when it comes to their representation of mums. Look at any magazine, television show or movie and you’re inundated with images of perfect mothers who effortlessly balance motherhood, marriage, careers and social lives all while perfectly coiffed and attired. Sure, celebrities may have the cash and time to do it all, but the reality is no mum is perfect. Even the richest and seemingly carefree mothers have bad days. If you really want to have a great work-life balance, here are some great tips.
- Stop Trying to be Superwoman
It’s a nice idea to think that if you just try hard enough you can be like one of those perfect TV or celebrity moms, but the truth is you’re only human and can only do so much. Let go of the perfectionism and guilt, set realistic goals, and give yourself a pat on the back for what you HAVE accomplished. So you ordered pizza instead of cooking dinner yourself. No big deal, you still put food on the table. Maybe you took store-bought cookies to the bake sale instead of home-made. Will anyone even notice? And does it really matter if they do? And yes, you may be a working mom who doesn’t spend as much time with her kids as you’d like to, but at the end of the day you’re banking money to give your kids a better future. That’s pretty stellar in itself.
- Get Organised
At some point every parent has felt like they’re failing, even the ones who seem super put together. Without a solid plan in place, it can be easy to get off track. One simple way to avoid this is to make a to-do list at the beginning or end of every day. We suggest making one list for household tasks like paying bills, picking up the dry cleaning and calling the electrician, and another for work-related tasks. You can also set up a family calendar where you can pencil in sports games, birthday parties and chores. Put your lists or calendar in a place where you can see them to remind you to stay on schedule.
- Divvy up the Chores
It’s unrealistic for just one person in the household to be responsible for all the chores, especially if there are many hands to help out. If you have older children, assign them tasks around the house to teach them about teamwork and responsibility, and to lighten some of your load. Some families rotate the chores every week so that family members aren’t stuck on one particular task for too long. If you’re a new mom with a small baby, ask your partner for help and devise a system where you divide up the tasks. If you’re really feeling frazzled and don’t have much support, consider hiring outside help like a nanny or housekeeper.
- Start Saying Say No
As busy mums we’re often trying to please a multitude of people all the time from our kids to our spouses, bosses and friends. But at the end of the day, you can’t give everyone your attention all the time or you’re just going to end up burnt-out and miserable. Put your priorities in order and learn how to say no to the things that will stretch you too thin. For example, do you really need to take on that extra project when you’ve already got three on the go? Is it necessary to attend two children’s birthday parties this week or would one be enough? And how many volunteer field trips or school events can you actually take on? Saying no isn’t selfish, it actually shows that you are in control of your life and value your time.
- Leave Work at Work and Home at Home
We know what it’s like to be caught between two worlds and how difficult it can be to keep them separate, but this is one of the keys to keeping your sanity. Think of yourself as a person who wears many hats, and when you’ve got one hat on you need to focus wholly on that role. When you head to the office, try not to dwell on the guilt of spending time away from the kids. Focus on the task at hand and try to get as much done as you can while you’re in the office. When you’re at home, forget about emails and work-related issues and be 100% present with your partner and kids.
- Use Time Hacks
Time is always in short supply for busy mums, so it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make the most of your time. For example, take one day on the weekend to prepare all your meals, set out all your outfits, and make your to-do lists for the coming week. Online services are a great time-saving tool, as they will deliver everything from groceries to birthday presents to back-to-school clothing. You can also do little things like putting your keys in a designated spot each time you come in, doubling up on items when shopping so you don’t run out, and using your public transport commute to get caught up on emails and work.
- Take Care of You
It’s hard to be a great mom and excel at your career when you’re constantly stressed out and feeling like you’re going to either snap or collapse. Your health should be your number one priority because when you’re feeling your best, you’re going to do your best. Just like you schedule in time for work, you need to schedule in time to exercise, eat well and do the things you love. Accept the fact that your inbox might always be full, there will always be cleaning to do, and people will always demand your time, but the world won’t end if you take an hour here or there to de-stress and take care of yourself.