“How do you balance it all?” How do you manage your job, your kid(s), your partner, and your house, and not lose your marbles?” I get these questions from friends, family, co-workers, and most often: from Insta-friends. I’m here to tell you, Momma, time management is hard. But balancing life with everything else going on in your world is necessary. It’s necessary for your mental and physical health and for your soul as well.
I want to start by being super transparent. I know that there are different personalities, different priorities, different levels of support, and so on. I, for one, am a full-time working extroverted mom with a child with special needs and a teenage stepdaughter. I’ve been doing this “coordinating” thing for a long time now–as I am also a product of divorce and have been living a blended life since the age of 5. My village is small but mighty and I need calendars and friends around as much as I need water.
I asked a friend of mine who has a set of twins and hefty workload with an even smaller village than me if she believed in mom work-life balance. She told me no. “It’s one or the other. Either you’re really great at work or really great at home.”
If this sounds like you: I’m hoping this different perspective provides a tiny bit of hope.
If the pandemic proved anything, it’s that we need people. Our people. I found people at work and I found people completely separate from work. I needed both sides for balance. For one, the work I do can make some people uncomfortable and can be triggering. My family and closest friends just don’t understand my frustrations at work and therefore, tune out when I need to vent about it. Hence why I need those coworkers who truly understand what I do (as I understand what they do) to make me a better employee and co-worker. These people remind me there is more to me than being someone’s mom.
On the other side of that spectrum, I need my people that know nothing about my job and help me disconnect from it completely. This allows me to be fully present with my family and friends. This also allows me to be free from my work stressors and engage in all the fun and milestones. These people remind me that there is more to me than my job title.
At work, we recently switched to a hybrid schedule. I work from home two times a week and in the office physically threes a week. Honestly, this is the work-life balance that every job (if possible) should have. Although some people enjoy working from home 100% of the time: I found that the balance is one I need to succeed as both an employee and a mom.
The days I work from home allow me to drop off my son in the mornings and do the work week at a slower pace. I can do a load of laundry in between emails and start dinner earlier than on the days I work in the office. Which allows me more free time (from laundry) on the weekends and earlier bedtime routines.
On the other hand, I need to be back in the office. The world has re-opened and meetings are just better in-person. Zoom has become a permanent way of doing work life but sometimes those meetings require more physical contact and that requires my physical body INSIDE the building.
Find your thing. Find the thing that makes you happiest a work, with your family, with your friends, and with yourself. Get yourself an agenda book (or use your phone calendar) and start scheduling in there the things that matter most to you and make you happiest. You know your work schedule–so plugging that in should be the easiest. You know your child’s school (and/or therapy) schedule, that should be next. After that, look at the remainder of the days and plug in what matters most to you.
Date nights, Mom’s Night Out, Book Club, Spa Day, a day to just NOT do anything. They’re all important and they should all be a part of what makes you, YOU.
MOM YOU, EMPLOYEE YOU, PARTNER YOU, DAUGHTER YOU, FRIEND YOU.
YOU matter, Mama. And YOU can’t help your kid, your partner, your parents, or your boss unless you help yourself. Do your mind, body, and soul the favor and add yourself to your work-life balance. Once you figure out the perfect rhyme and you listen to your own needs, you’ll figure out the best schedule for your family. And that is what makes it a healthy balance.
You can do it, because you are an amazing Woman! we all are, but your extrovert side sure will make balancing more fun!