Whether you are a stay at home mum looking to start a new career, a working parent or a budding ‘mumpreneur’, working out how to juggle your professional life with your family priorities can be challenging to say the least.
How often have parents heard the phrase ‘you can have it all’?’
Really? Is that actually possible?
In theory perhaps, but how many working parents do you know who actually feel on top and in control of their daily lives? Truthfully?
Most parents are probably just winging it and hoping for the best.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are steps, and simple steps at that, that you can take to make your life easier, without having to compromise at work or at home.
Learn to say no
Saying no does not make you a bad person, nor does it mean that you are not committed, it simply means that you are able to prioritise your time and know the difference between tasks that are worth your while and ones that are not.
Specifically relating to your family life, being able to say no to either your spouse or your children is an important tool to master; it does not mean that you love your family any less, rather it prevents you from becoming too thinly spread and even resentful, and instead allows you to spend quality time with your family where you are actively present and enjoying the moment.
Saying no at work also has its advantages. It shows your employer and colleagues that you know how to prioritise your workload and that you know your worth as an employee.
Let go of any ‘mum guilt’
Every mum has been there; whether you are a full-time or part-time worker, there are always times when you feel guilty for not spending enough time with your children, but why?
Every time that you go to work you are investing in your children’s future, instilling a strong work ethic and providing for them on a daily basis. Why would you feel guilty about that?
Instead, focus on the time that you do get to spend together and make it count. Accept that you will have good and bad days when it comes to juggling your home and work life and remember that no-one is perfect; even if they appear to be so.
This could be leaning on other mums when you have a last minute childcare emergency, enlisting the help of a childminder if you struggle to make pick-up or even something as simple as asking a family member to babysit for an hour so that you can have some much needed ‘me’ time. Do not be afraid to ask for help, or let it make you feel inadequate; as the saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – don’t struggle on your own.
At work, utilise software systems or new technologies to make your professional life easier such as embarking on training in CoreHR to help manage your HR software or investing in a CRM system to help your interaction with your customers.
It may seem like such a simple suggestion, and one that you have tried to implement on a regular basis without success, but making sure that you have an organisational structure in place for both your day to day life and for unexpected occurrences can mean the difference between a stress-free life and one that is fraught with problems.
Start by having both a family and work calendar for sorting out your main priorities; school events, meetings, extracurricular activities and birthdays, for example. Google calendars are easy to use and can be shared and synced on any smart device. Try and make time on a Sunday to view your week ahead so that you can prepare any arrangements that need to be made.
It is also important to remember to schedule time for you and your partner, as well as time for yourself.