This one goes out to all the mothers before Mother's Day.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a 9 to 5’er, a shift worker or anything else we all know that we only have 24 hours in a day and raising human beings can literally take up every second. So how do we carve out time for our work, and still feel positive across both the workplace and home?
Recently, the social media platform LinkedIn posted the top 5 struggles of a mother in the workplace
Constant struggle with guilt.
Priorities are often challenged
Never-ending efforts to multitask
No time for 'Self'
The need for perfection all of the time
Despite what the current trends on social media seem to indicate, it is important to understand that each working life and family are different. What might work for one may not be the solution for the other. A quote I have taken on recently when returning to the workplace is that “Other people’s lives
seem better than yours because you’re comparing their on-stage performance with your behind the scenes.” ― Evan Rauch
I came back to the workplace, as many people do for two reasons, adult conversation, and financial reasons. I will say that despite a long-standing history with the organisation in those first few months, my goodness I felt spent! This wasn’t through lack of support, or re-training mind you – no –
this was for the simple reason that I was a very different me in the same environment. For me to integrate myself back into the workplace, I needed to consider who I was, and how I could mould the new ‘me’ into my new surroundings.
I was exhausted trying to balance work and kids, and it took a good 2-3 months to really begin to settle into this balance. The family was demanding, work was demanding, and prioritisation was challenging.
Many mothers go through this time and time again, and with the demands of living in Sydney financially, we often feel there can be no balance achieved, and no way to really be who we want to be as both an employee and a parent.
I believe that today, you have to achieve a work/life integration - it’s a give and take. I try to balance my life with the demands and challenges it has, and that is day by day and week by week. There are days if not weeks when my children are “extra needy”. I try to give them more time here. Then there are things at work that need my support more – new employees, new projects, initiatives, and complex challenges. I try to give this more time as well.
Here are some tools I use to manage both to the best of my ability – for now.
1. Run a time audit on yourself. You have 168 hours per week of time, and within that time you factor in sleep, work, travel, extracurriculars and children. When I did this audit on myself, I found I had an additional 25 hours a week (on average) I could focus only on myself. I just needed to prioritise what I wanted, and when I wanted to do it. (Template below)
Time In Week = 168
Less time spent in sleep (ave ___ hrs/days x 7)
Less time spent at work (incl. getting ready (ave ___ hrs/days x 7)
Less time spent on housework (ave ___ hrs/days x 7)
Less time on children/loved ones (ave ___ hrs/days x 7)
Less time spent on extracurricular activities (social/fitness) (ave ___ hrs/days x 7)
2. Have a circle of influence or a like-minded community. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I feel no one can really understand the thoughts of a working mother like other working mothers. I love hearing from other working mothers that are also devoted to their families – it can be done!
3. Give yourself some grace. There are good days and bad. Some days are harder than others. You are not in it alone. Whether you are a new mum, a veteran mum, or somewhere in between, you will feel you are always needed. You will second guess a lot of your decisions; to leave the house, to order that takeout; to put that child to bed on time. Allow yourself time and space to deviate from your ideal expectations. A former colleague once shared to ‘walk towards your ideal, instead of holding it so tightly’. I think of this each time I fail at my ideal. I allow myself space to breathe.
I have learned that finding oneself is a journey. When you become a mother, each time that journey begins again. When you enter the workplace, you begin that grapple with the “double shift” of household responsibilities, parenting guilt and the idea of time constraints. Working mothers are a resilient group, accustomed to juggling work responsibilities and family time.
Mothers, we hear you, we got you. We are proud of what you have accomplished and recognise the women in our workforce today for each and every achievement.