When it comes to the elusive “balance” we keep searching for, I’ve heard (almost) everything. Whether it was the woman who went into labour while doing a presentation to the global sales team (via Skype, thank goodness!) or the 40-year old who retired to go live on a farm in Tassie. I’m not sure anything surprises me anymore!
The thing is, balance is different for us all – and it changes over time, based on the weighing up of priorities and lifestyle.
I remember reading the Mia Freedman book, Work Strife Balance. She basically says “it’s all bullshit”. And that’s true! Trying to have someone else’s idea of balance just isn’t going to work.
It’s just about making your work and home life fit for you and your family, however, that looks – however hard and in whatever form works for you. And that’s the key. It’s got to meet your needs.
I asked Shannon Young, a leading Wellbeing Coach and FlexCoach, how mums, in particular, can get more balance in their lives and she shared these fantastic 4 tips to get you started:
1. Be realistic in your expectations
The first step to improving your well-being is letting go of the expectations and high standards you had before your life changed and motherhood began – whether that means a house that isn’t quite showroom perfect or an occasional cheese jaffle for dinner, give yourself a break!
2. Ask for help when you need it
Whether you are at work or at home, remember that others can’t read your mind. The worry and the list of things to do are invisible to everyone else – they just see the stress.
Ask your partner to help! Give him/her a list of things that are specific that they can tick off. The same goes for work – remember, delegation is a skill in itself. Use the resources and team around you where possible.
3. Carpool – use your tribe
“It takes a village” goes the saying and sometimes we can’t be everywhere at one time. Where you or your partner can’t be there to ferry kids around to activities, it’s worth checking out those people who are. There are parents who may be able to help and your kids will think it is a playdate! Take turns and give each other a well-deserved break.
4. It’s never too early to take on responsibility
When it comes to your home life, getting your kids involved is key. Delegating age-appropriate chores to your children not only helps you with that huge to-do list but also gives them responsibility and ownership (and maybe even pocket money!).
Giving children chores to complete at home from an early age helps build mastery, responsibility and self-reliance, according to research by Marty Rossmann, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota. For a list of age-appropriate chores, click here.
The reality is that we all have parts of work and life that we want to change – it cant be “perfect” all the time, so make the most of the good stuff you have and remember to take it one day at a time.
Shannon coaches working mothers to bring more of their authentic self and align with their purpose to uplevel their performance so they can smash their results and then switch off at home to be present for their loved ones – happy in the knowledge that they are fulfilling their potential at work and at home.
What this means for organisations is that they don’t lose those driven, intelligent and ambitious women previously identified as “talent” to the mommy track or other businesses including self-employed after investing so much time, effort and money into their succession planning. Women do want to work and have a career with purpose yet more than 70% go back to work only for the paycheck (according to EY research) so organisations must reconnect and re-engage these women to thrive in their organisations to gain a positive ROI.
What this means for the individual is that they re-engage with their passion that drives them at home and at work. They learn to balance the two and intertwine them with a particular set of skills to be successful in both arenas. They rediscover themselves, their goals and their passion to have it all with a clear conscience.
With working mothers achieving more and being more balanced, we can improve the lives of children – future generations, everywhere.
Anna, the owner of Purple Squirrel Recruitment and FlexCareers community member, has personally managed the recruitment of hundreds of candidates over the years and still loves what she does!! The STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medical) industries are her gigs, and anyone who knows her refers to her outgoing personality, tenacity and straight-up approach to life and business. There’s no time for BS here.
Most of the work they do at Purple Squirrel Recruitment is within the commercial side of the Medical and Scientific industries across Australia and New Zealand. That means lots of Sales, Service and Marketing professionals, with a touch of #sciencegeek about them. From recent graduates right up to C-suite and a number of clinical and academic professionals who have successfully transitioned across to the commercial world.
She is passionate about helping people create their own pathway to success. It doesn’t always have to be a straight line.