Life as a working mom can be so challenging. Every day you have to wake up early to cook breakfast, wake all your kids to wash themselves, and wash yourself last before going to work. Sometimes you can’t help but feel like dying because it's suffocating and tremendously aggravating because of the heavyweight of responsibility on your shoulders.
But if you look at the brighter side, the earlier years of motherhood are a stage. Over time, your children will ideally become more independent. So many mothers might wonder what their life would have been like if they didn't have children. As we mature, we learn new things and regret at the same time. So whether you turned to a single working mom, a working mom by force to settle finances, or a working mom who ended up getting trapped amid the chaos of motherhood and time, you have to realize that something is not in your control.
Working moms experience massive amounts of mom guilt each day while at work, taking care of their to-do list, and craving "me time." When you are not giving your child 100% of your attention, the guilt can overwhelm you. You might find yourself wishing you could spend more time with your children—craving to do more for your kids in your day-to-day. Praying your mom's guilt would quit. You're not alone.
Many working moms wish they could give more hours of their day to their kids but find it immensely difficult to make that wish a reality. Between work-life and their household to-do list, finding a few extra minutes to play with toys or help with homework becomes as tricky as running full-speed up a mountain.
Many working moms dread their daily routine because their work-life balance isn't what it's meant to be - a balance. If only they could get the scale to tip a bit more towards their children and a bit less towards their job.
With the hope they have of providing more for their kids, emotionally and physically, comes the burden of guilt, and the never-ending wish it would go away.
Wanting to give their children more doesn't mean that these working mommies don't value their career path or the overall working mom narrative that they are a part of. It doesn't mean that they don't love their paycheck and the stability it provides for their families. It doesn't mean they would change gears and instead opt to be a stay-at-home mom. For many working moms, it simply means that they wish there were more hours in the day to better fit in their ideal blend of career life and family life.
Often it is seen as a weakness to wish for more hours with your kids in our society. It is judged as you not wanting a robust and meaningful career; or as you not being motivated by your company or your work goals. This is all so far from the truth.
Working moms want it all. They want the maximum amount of time they can get with their kids, and they also want a job that makes them feel an inner strength. Strength from their work, the money they are providing for their family, and the company they are a part of. The problem is, working moms equate the extreme amounts of mom guilt during their day with their career. When they are working, there's a constant nagging sensation reminding them that they are missing out. Missing out on milestones, missing out on sports practices, on meals, and on playtime. The guilt you feel as a working mom can often be overwhelming - especially when your child asks, "why couldn't we play today, mommy." Ouch.
One of the biggest complaints we hear from working moms is that "there's no time." They agonize over the feeling they have that there is no time to be anything but "good" at what they are doing. "Good" at their job, "good" at raising their kids. It never feels "great.
Mom guilt is universally believed to be something working moms just need to deal with for the rest of their lives, but that's not true. Mom guilt is situational and not present simply because you choose to have a career. If you make changes in your life, you can eliminate them.
Is work-life balance real? Can a working mom achieve it? There is no way to be perfectly balanced. Some days your kids need extra attention, and other days your career requires more time and energy.
Instead of working towards a work-life balance goal with day-to-day limitations, let's look to achieve an overall balance as working moms. Doing this can eliminate a lot of the stress and burnout that comes with the expectations you have about balance in your life, including your expectation that each day will have enough hours to give 100% to your family, your to-do list, your to-do list, your career and yourself.
In general, work-life balance means striking an even give and take between your career and personal life. The definition seems simple enough, but physically taking steps to achieve a work-life balance can be a challenge because achieving a balance between these two very different areas of our lives is difficultcan't. The desired work-life balance is different for everyone.
The goal should be to find a balance that works for you. It won't look like a perfect balance on a scale. Instead, it will be a give and take, with some days leaning one way and some days leaning the other. Your balance won't look perfect at any time, but the overall feeling you get from the credit you create is all that matters.
To begin on the path of achieving a work-life balance, you first have to define what that balance looks like to you. Draw a circle. Then, use colors to shade in the amount of the process you want to designate to each of the following every day:
Once your circle is filled, you can bring your best-case scenario to life. This scenario will work to balance the four critical areas of your time - family, to-do list, career, and "me time."
The best way to start this process is to determine what is essential to you within each area listed above. Do you want more time with your kids each day? Do you need to cut down your to-do list? Do you need to work from home two days a week to spend your lunch break cleaning the house? Can you not go another day without 30 minutes of "me time" each afternoon?
Write down your best-case work-life balance scenario. Then determine who you need to have conversations with to make each piece of the pie chart a reality. Maybe you need help from your partner, parent, or babysitter more often during the day. Perhaps you need a sit-down with your boss to discuss a work arrangement that better fits your ideal work-life balance.
There will always be a give and take. Work will need more of your time; your family will require more effort on other days. Remember, a work-life balance will be an overall balance, not perfectly balanced scale day-to-day.
One of the most daunting aspects of work-life balance is knowing you will need to change areas of your life. For example, you may need to change your job or weekly work hours. You may need to change the time you spend on your career outside of the typical workday. On the other side of the spectrum, you may need to change how you complete your to-do list at home or your day-to-day experiences with your family.
The journey to achieving your work-life balance will be full of trial and error. It may even be stressful, as change often is. The arrival at a work-life balance, though, will be priceless.