Looking for the magic pill to achieve ”work-life balance?” Unfortunately, there is no such magical thing, but by incorporating some of these strategies into your own life, you’ll find it is possible to maintain a healthy relationship with family while finding time to pursue your passions and business goals.
Every entrepreneur struggles to find a balance and being a parent makes that struggle ten times more difficult. Working moms are amazing jugglers who execute multiple roles. You have to acknowledge all you’ve accomplished. The spirit of doing all the things and doing it every day is the driving force that keeps you running on the road to successful work-life balance.
Manage your time and learn to say no
Time management is one of the biggest challenges working moms face. Focus on the essential tasks first. Learn to say no to least important tasks and simplify your work. Using a calendar broken into categories of task importance to manage both professional and personal priorities will be helpful. Split it up into four groups: Urgent/important, urgent/not important, not urgent/important and not urgent/not important. Get it the habit of jotting down a to-do as it comes up and prioritizing its importance early on.
Have a Plan
All mompreneurs use planners to balance their work and family life. Some use paper organizers and some prefer apps and software. The good news is that you can keep both personal and work appointments on the same calendar to avoid a clash. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different systems. Play around with apps like Asana or Trello and see what best works for you, what makes you more efficient and organized. Toggl is another helpful tool that allows you to keep track of hours to maximize productivity and efficiency. It allows you to see break down your schedule according to specific tasks and projects and then provides you with weekly and monthly summaries.
Business startups can be challenging, so you need to remain optimistic while facing failure. You will encounter a plethora of difficulties balancing your work and family simultaneously, but do not fall into despair. Remind yourself that you have the potential and you can do it. A positive mindset will help you visualize your goals. A positive attitude is priceless.
Replace the word “perfect” with “good enough”
Most moms want to be the perfect mother, perfect wife, and a perfect entrepreneur – all at the same time, but chasing this perfectionism takes the joy out of motherhood. While making your work life perfect, you somehow lack in making your family life perfect, so isn’t it better to balance both with “good enough” rather than “perfect”?
Make time for family
Family time can relieve stress, develop positive behavior and help you lead a healthy lifestyle. All these things will be beneficial in the startup world when you are struggling to remain positive. Organize family camping trips, game nights, walks to the park, and build a quality relationship with your family. These are little things that are worth your valuable time and you will never regret it.
Make sure you’re also awarding yourself some “me” time. Challenge yourself to work a little bit more the night before so you can reserve the following day for extra long naps, a movie marathon, trying out a new recipe, a much deserved shopping trip, or whatever it is that leaves you feeling recharged.
Don’t let mommy guilt destroy your morale
When receiving unwanted parental advice whether it’s direct or passive, pay no attention. Do what works for you. Internalizing the “shoulds” and “should nots” in your life can create unnecessary hurdles in your success.
In today’s fast-paced society, it’s difficult to find time to be alone. When you are struggling to balance your work and family, it’s important to keep reminding yourself that you can manage everything. Things will get better with time. Find some self-reflection time for yourself.
It is possible to balance motherhood and a successful, exciting career. It takes dedication, passion, patience, and self-love.
To all the mothers tackling their own businesses or juggling a high-power career with kiddos, keep inspiring!
Judy Robinson is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to write on healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Follow @judyrobinson for more updates.
Finding Confidence In The Experience Of Motherhood
In a world of Instagram perfection, it can be difficult to feel like the strong, confident momma that is living within you…sometimes deep, deep down within you (but I promise, she is there).
Your feed is flooded with beautiful images of other mothers’ babies who always look perfectly content, without a tear or tantrum in sight. Better yet, there are countless pictures of well-put-together mommas who look like they have somehow managed to pull off a full 8 hours of sleep, all without a drop of spit up or baby goop staining their clothes (and did I mention, they are wearing “real” clothes…not the leggings and baggy sweater that you’ve worn three days in a row, and that your husband now lovingly refers to as your “mom uniform”).
Who are these women? How are they so perfect? How did they find the time to shower, let alone put on makeup? Why don’t their babies seem to keep them up all night nursing at the all-you-can-eat milk buffet? What are their secrets and what am I doing wrong? These are the nagging questions that run through our minds as we casually scroll through our social media feeds and see all of this blissful “perfection.”
The truth is, we are all guilty of this. We post the happiest (and often, highly edited) moments of our life, not the poop-covered, red-eyed, sleep deprived, frizzy, 3-day old hair moments. There is no shame in that. I have done it too, and there’s nothing wrong with sharing sweet and well-thought-out images of our beloved babies. After all, we spent 9 months carrying these little humans, and we deserve to show them off and feel that good mommy pride that comes with a beautiful moment captured on our iPhones.
The only downside is that in sharing only the good stuff, we may sometimes give a false sense of perfection to our fellow mommas in the trenches. I’m all for a beautifully lit, golden hour photo of you and your baby sweetly strolling along the beach. Hell, I frequently chase after those shots myself, but I like to balance out all that prettiness with some realness too.
Aside from raising our babies in the best way we can, our next job as mothers is to keep it real with one another and build each other up so we can experience self-confidence that is so well-deserved and long overdue. Motherhood is amazing…it truly is, but it also has some messiness. By showing the full picture of what motherhood is – grittiness and all, we are keeping it real with ourselves and with the other moms out there who really could use the reassurance that being a mother doesn’t always look picture perfect.
In the early stages of new motherhood, we are especially susceptible to feeling less than confident in damn near every decision we make. While this is perfectly normal, these feelings of insecurity should never be allowed to consume us. When in doubt of your own abilities as a mother, reach out to a fellow momma friend or even your own mother, and I promise you will find that she has experienced the very same thing – and somehow, made it out the other side.
Although, confidence frequently comes from within, it is also something that we can help to inspire in others through both sharing our adoration of motherhood and commiserating with one another during the more trying times. It feels good to bond over the many commonalities of motherhood and to empower our own self-confidence in the process. Embrace the flaws…because they are real, and what make us human.
More importantly, when we take a step back and realize that these images we are scrolling through are just a sliver of a person’s life, not to be compared to our own, we can all feel confident in knowing that this idealistic “super mom” is about as real as the boogieman. After bringing life into this world, you can truly do anything, momma. Remind yourself of that daily and give yourself grace because you are everything your little ones need, and you are downright amazing.
Meg is a Motherhood & Lifestyle blogger from nofomomma.com, where she writes about raising her toddler daughter, Violet, with her husband, Erik, in the bucolic farm and wine country of the North Fork of Long Island. Meg enjoys sharing her adventures in motherhood and writing about engaging lifestyle topics in parenting, wellness, DIY projects, beauty and family friendly recipes. In addition to blogging, Meg works as a family law attorney.
The Working Mom: An Impossible Dream?
Let’s be honest ladies, being a working mom can be hard. We are constantly trying to find the perfect balance of doing a great job at work, caring for our children, and loving our husbands. And most days we feel like we’ve missed the mark entirely. What if I told you that you don’t have to toss your dreams to the wayside the minute you become a mother? Today we are discussing ways that you can achieve goals for both work and pleasure, while still making your family a priority.
Don’t Play The Guilt Game
It can be hard if you are a working mother, to not feel guilty that you are neglecting or leaving your family to work. That is a lie that you have put on yourself because of societal pressures, snarky comments from stay at home moms, and your own fear of missing out. You are doing a fantastic job as a mother, and I am sure your kids feel plenty loved. I know that as the daughter of a full-time working mother, that I never once felt anything less than loved.
My point is that you should not let anyone make you feel less than because you have goals and because you want to achieve above average results at your job. Half the battle of being a working mother is accepting that you can’t be super mom. But you can love your children and care for them the same way that a stay at home parent can.
Set Aside Some Time
If you are serious about trying to achieve some goals, work-related or personal, you need to take some time to pursue them. I know that this might be the time where you are thinking, well then I am out. I have absolutely no other time left in my day. But, that is not true. Everyone has time; they may just not be using it properly.
Ask your husband for help with some regular household chores, or to help get the kids up in the morning so that you can work for an extra half an hour. Your husband should be happy to support you, and this can be a great way to have him bond with your children even more. Think about the times during the week or weekend that you might have some freedom, and ask your husband if he would be willing to help out a little extra for an hour. You can even create a system with your husband, so that you both have times where you have a break from the kids, and can work on other goals.
Make A To-Do List
At the beginning of each month, practice making a to-do list. But, instead of making a list solely of what you have to do, try to add things that you want to do. For example, have a list each week of what you have to get done, like picking up the kids, work presentations, cooking dinner, etc. And then have a section set aside for more personal goals. Like finishing a book, working an extra half an hour, or accomplishing something small on your goal list. This can help you carve out time for what is really important.
Minimize Social Media
It can be so easy to waste away literally hours on our social media accounts every day. Instead of doing this, try to be more productive with your time. Set aside a certain amount of time that you want to engage with social media each day, and don’t exceed it. This should free up your nights and mornings considerably.
Be All There
Make the time you do have with your family, matter. I am not saying that you constantly need to be planning trips and getting your kids ice cream, but when you are with them, be all there. Don’t be checking your phone and text messages, distracted, or doing something else, be there. Be intentional during these times and your kids won’t feel like something is missing if you are gone.
Realize that sadly, you just don’t have as much time to do things or achieve goals as someone who is single without a family. It’s just the truth. When you are setting goals, especially with the New Year just around the corner, don’t go over the top. Try to keep your list small, specific, and manageable. This way you will be able to celebrate how much you have accomplished, not disappointed that you didn’t get more completed.
Figure Out What Is Most Important
Yes, you should have dreams and goals outside of your family, but what is more important? Make sure that you don’t pass up quality time with your children to burn the midnight oil. Think about the things you don’t want to miss with your kids each day, like tucking them in, reading to them, or making breakfast, and don’t work during those times. That way you won’t be missing out on what matters most.
As you can see, being a working mother can feel like an impossible task sometimes. But, it doesn’t have to be. I hope that these tips can help you to get out there and have dreams, but still put your family first. You deserve to want more than just your family, but you don’t have to neglect them to get there.
Rachel Watson is the website manager at OurStart.com. OurStart is a lifestyle blog for women in their 20s and 30s. They regularly publish content on pregnancy, parenting, marriage, weddings, and more. When she is not writing, Rachel enjoys spending time with her friends and family, exploring cute cafes, and playing with her miniature schnauzer.
Any mom knows that when raising a daughter, instilling a strong sense of self confidence is one of the most important and essential parenting tasks. Though our society may very well have progressed towards certain levels of gender equality, there is still a long road to travel, and our daughters will continue to face challenges that their male peers could never even fathom. A woman with a high level of confidence is a woman who will defend her rights and follow her vision, no matter what challenges and obstacles may come up. To help your daughter develop that sense of confidence, here are three quick guidelines on how to raise a self-confident daughter.
Let Her Pursue Her Own Interests
By allowing your daughter the freedom to find her own interests in life, you will be giving her the chance to develop confidence and high self-esteem. Girls who are taught to be obedient and only engage in activities that their parents expect of them rarely develop the courage to believe in themselves and their own interests.
Let Your Daughter Know That Being Confident is Okay
According to a recent article by WebMD, many girls think that showing confidence and self-esteem is the same as being conceited and arrogant. As a parent, let you daughter know that it is entirely okay to be confident, no matter what the boys (or other girls) think. Men who are confident in their style and grooming regime are almost never criticized, and should neither women (nor girls) be.
Do Not Be Over Protective
When you see your daughter visibly struggling with some peer-related problem, it might be almost second nature to want to come to help. While any parent needs to show concern, there is a fine line here, and you need to learn when to offer your concern and support, and when to let your little girl face up to the situation herself. The more confident your daughter becomes, the better she will be prepared to face any emergency or difficult situation that arises throughout her life.
Aron James is the founder of StubblePatrol.com. Stubble Patrol is a site on male grooming. He loves to write about his personal experiences.
I’ll never forget the day I came out of the closet. Not that closet. The “I have a mental illness” closet. For months, I lived in fear; embarrassed what would happen to me if someone found out. It was as if I would be forced to walk around wearing a Scarlett Letter; a big, fat D. So, I hid it. I overcompensated. I laughed harder. Smiled more. Got involved in more activities. I did everything imaginable to hide the fact that I was living with depression. The happier I looked on the outside, the more troubled I felt on the inside.
Hiding my depression from the world was easy, but there were four people I simply could not fool. My husband and my three young sons. As soon as I would return home from work, I would retreat to my room; laying in the dark, under the covers until life required me to move. Still, there were many moments where not even the need to care for my kids could get me out of my self-made cave.
After struggling for so long and seeking several avenues of treatment, I came clean to my children, who were too young to understand what mental illness meant but could understand that mommy had a brain sickness that made her sad. My kids knew that if they wanted to spend time with mommy, they would have to join me in the cave. We spent many days just laying down together watching Nickelodeon and reading books. On days where even showering was an absolute challenge, at least I felt like I accomplished something with my children.
Despite my recovery not going as fast as I wanted or needed it to, I made a conscious effort to include my kids in the process. On days where I could not get out of bed, I would force myself out and take them to the zoo. I would focus all my attention on what they were doing and how they viewed life. I watched them do even the simplest things like order a hot chocolate at Starbucks or pick out books in the book store. When they would get excited over something new, I would get excited for them. In a way, I spent my time seeing life through the eyes of my children.
While I contemplated why I even existed on this planet, I watched them discover new things. Slowly, I noticed a shift in my own feelings. I was happy when they were happy. I also noticed that they went out of their way to not upset me. My 10-year-old would get in the car each day after school and ask me if I cried today. In the mornings, he would wish me a good day. My 4-year-old insisted on going to sleep with me by his side each night where he would tell me he loved me and that I was his bestie. And my 7-year-old would sing with me.
Being open with my children and having them accept me gave me the strength to share my story with others as I began speaking and presenting publicly on mental health disorders and suicide prevention. When I first publicly shared my story, I did have two or three people express their concern that I may be discriminated against; that parents may keep their children away from mine because I had a mental illness. Somehow hearing this, I didn’t care. I felt free. The people I needed to love me and accept me most, did and I knew that I could help others who faced similar situations.
I wasn’t faced with any sort of backlash but rather, absolute love and acceptance. Many people I have known for years personally reached out to me and shared their own journeys with mental illness and mothers at my children’s school reached out to me seeking help. And when our local high school lost a student by suicide, it was me they called to come speak to the students.
In the months since my darkest episodes, my focus has been spent on spending quality time with my children. We experience nature by hiking, rafting, kayaking and spending hours on the beach. We travel and visit museums, historical sites and professional sports games. My healing and renewal is mostly because I could find good and beauty in things I had always taken for granted. If it weren’t for my children, I don’t think my recovery would have been as successful. Yes, parenting is hard and it is exhausting but it is like no other. Our children, for the most part, are reflections of us. Not wanting to see them in pain, I chose to take the attention off myself and focus it on them. This approach may not work for all, but it did save me.
JEANINE HOFF is the founder and visionary leader of Where is the Sunshine?, a Northeast Florida-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization and social media resource dedicated to early intervention and peer support for mental health through advocacy, education and community collaboration.
In our mostly patriarchal society, there’s no doubt that it’s harder for women than men to get by, let alone get to the top of their respective career ladders. Our very laws and societal norms are geared towards serving men, often leaving women with similar skill levels and abilities in the dust of patriarchal advancement. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that it’s impossible to balance career and family life if you’re a woman, nor does it mean that the only way out of this conundrum is to replace all male world leaders with equally capable females. The phrase smash the patriarchy isn’t about waging an all-out revolution against all men; it’s about equalizing the playing field: giving women the same rights and privileges that men enjoy on a daily basis.
Share the Burden of Childcare with Men
No matter how much you enjoy raising your children, it’s still a very real job that’s mostly done at home instead of in an office. “Sharing the burden” doesn’t mean that you have to view childcare as a burden to your life; it’s more about acknowledging the fact that childcare requires just as much time, effort, and energy as any other job that’s worth doing right. And in the case of a massively consuming job like childcare, both men and women need to be able to contribute equal amounts of time and energy.
Men should be just as responsible for childcare as women. This means that they should do their fair share of childcare, whether they have full-time jobs or not. In a world where the odds are stacked against women, male allies of feminism need to be able to step up and help out women in any way they can; sometimes, this starts with sharing the responsibility of raising the children right.
Demand both Maternity and Paternity Rights
While a lot of European countries have laws that allow for more than 30 weeks of paid maternity leaves, the US is sadly far behind. And if the very laws of your country don’t cater to your being a mother, what can you possibly do? Demand and fight for your god-given rights.
While it’s a lot easier said than done, collective mass action has been highly effective at making people’s lives better in the past. Write a letter to your local legislator. Ask your fellow employees for support as you engage your employer in talking about your rights as a parent. Don’t stop at demanding paid maternity leaves – paid paternity leaves can go a long way towards freeing up overburdened women and making men take a more supportive role in raising children. This type of action is definitely going to take up a lot of your time and energy, but if you do it right, you’re not just making it easier on yourself, you’re paving the way for future generations to treat mothers and all parents with more dignity.
Invest in Your Own Mental and Physical Health
The art of balancing work and family can lead some women to forget themselves and their own health. While this may seem like a good idea at first, it’s actually the worst possible step that you can take as both a career woman and as a parent. If you keep neglecting sleep, exercise, and relaxation in favor of doing more work so you can provide for your family, soon enough, you’re going to burn yourself out. And when that happens, you’re not going to be any good to yourself, your career, and your child.
Treat sleep, exercise, and relaxation in the same way that you regard your career and your duties as a parent. Taking care of yourself is just as important (if not more so) than anything else that’s important enough to make it onto your daily/weekly schedule. No matter how busy you are, you need to make time for getting enough sleep, exercise, and engaging in relaxing activities to keep yourself mentally and physically fit.
If Peter Mutuc isn’t sculpting, writing, editing, drawing, skating, cycling, wrestling with his Labrador, or actively regulating his sleeping patterns through at least 150 minutes of weekly exercise, he’s usually just online, creating and developing web content for One Bed Mattress.