A Mum’s Guide to Balancing Work and Family
Establish a Routine
Laying down the groundwork for a consistent and reliable family routine is almost always a struggle in the beginning. Changing not only your own habits, but also encouraging a change in each member of your family’s lives, takes its toll in the beginning. However, when you are able to establish a workable routine for your family, it can help make a noticeable difference in the way your household runs, and even free up more time for all of you to spend together.
Understand the Power of “Me” Time
When you feel as if you’re always running on just slightly less than enough sleep, the idea of getting up even earlier or staying up even later can be downright repellent. Carving out a few minutes of time for yourself each day, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes, lets you recharge your internal batteries and prepare for upcoming tasks without being forced to attend to an unexpected crisis.
Helping your children learn to take charge of as much of their own morning routine as reasonably possible not only frees up a bit of time for you to attend to your own needs, but also encourages independence and self-reliance in your kids at a relatively young age. While you certainly don’t want to rush your child into completing tasks he’s not quite developmentally ready for, you can squelch the urge to be a helicopter parent while simultaneously allowing yourself a bit of space.
The Caregiver Conundrum
If you don’t have a caregiver that you absolutely trust, there’s a good chance that you’re going to struggle with the tasks before you each day as your mind wanders back to the kids. Finding the perfect nanny or care center can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task, but it’s one that pays off in spades when you’re able to confidently and competently manage the demands of your daily life without worrying about your kids’ welfare.
It may feel a bit silly to schedule out something as small as a 10 minute coffee break, but do it anyway. Maintaining a detailed schedule allows you to break your day down at a glance, figuring out how much you still have to do and where you need to be before you’re able to settle in at home for some family time. Don’t underestimate the power of the smartphone planner; mobile devices today can manage almost every aspect of your professional and personal life, usually down to the minute.
Kick Guilt to the Curb
Feeling remorse about the fact that your children are in the care of others is natural and normal, but it’s also a feeling you should squash whenever it rears its ugly head. Remind yourself of all the opportunities that your children have because of the income you bring in and how much you’re able to provide, and make a promise to clear out an entire day to spend quality time with them. In order for those promises to spend time with your children to be effective at warding off that guilt, however, you’ll have to keep them. When the weekend rolls around or you’re able to take an impromptu vacation day, spend every waking minute of it having fun with your kids. Don’t let the demands of work pull at you for a full 24 hours, so that you can return with fresh eyes and a clear head, free of nagging guilt and regret.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No.”
When you’re accustomed to taking on more than you can handle and managing every aspect of your professional life as well as running a household, it’s understandable to feel as if no one is quite capable of handling things in a manner that lives up to your standards. Reminding yourself that it’s okay to say “no” and okay to let someone else take the reins for a while may take a bit of conditioning and lots of effort, but the ability to delegate tasks and entrust them to other people will relieve some of your stress.