Kids, work, social engagements – it seems as though we, as moms don’t have a second to breathe, to take a moment for ourselves. We juggle multiple things in search of that elusive work-life balance and there are times that we even drop one of those items in the process. But we still try to kickass at work, attend sports days, catch up with girlfriends, and get in some quality time with one’s husband. There are moments where you think that you’re barely staying afloat but don’t stress about it. Each one of us has either been through it or is sailing in the same boat as you.
I’ll let you in on a secret – having a work-life balance is a lie that has been fed to us by society. Instead, look for work-life integration. I came to this conclusion after much deliberation, self-reflection and conversations about the topic with my friends and husband. Over the years as being a working mom, there are a few handy and foolproof tips that I have accumulated that I am sure will help you feel less stressed and give you some much-needed me-time.
Wake up before your child: Most of us don’t appreciate the amount of work that can be finished before the rest of the house wakes up. The silent stillness of the morning is the perfect environment for you to get the majority of your work done. Maybe, grab a cup of coffee with your partner before your li’l munchkin decides to disturb the serenity of the morning.
Make trade-offs: Sometimes you might have to miss dropping your child off to school and other times you will have to take work calls even on the way back home.
Prioritise: For some of you getting home in time for dinner is more important than not having to bring work home. Know your priorities and stick to them. Take time at the beginning of the week to identify top priorities and then reflect at the end of the week. Do this for both your work as well as other responsibilities that you may have.
Ask for help and learn to delegate: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Ask your village for help. From your partner to your parents, your family is always there for you to fall back on. You can even ask for help at your workplace in the respect of deadlines, leaves or having the option of working from home. Of course, you should never abuse their trust but remember that you do not have to go it alone.
Prepare in advance: Make sure to make meal prep a part of your nighttime routine. From boiling the vegetables you need to making the chutneys and sauces, try keeping everything ready for the next day so that your mornings are stress-free.
Let yourself off the hook: Things don’t always go as planned. Instead of beating yourself up, give yourself permission to let it go and move on. Let go of the guilt.
Enjoy a little spontaneity: It doesn’t have to be all about planning and structure. Be flexible enough to jump on an opportunity if it presents itself. Impromptu play dates or long meetings are par by course for us. Be ready to make changes to your plan without having to feel stressed out it.
Learn to say no: Boss asking you to stay back the day before you have an early parent-teaching meeting? You are allowed to say no. I am sure that the people around you will understand.
Believe in yourself: Moms are superheroes and don’t let anyone make you doubt that.
Remember, a happy mom equals a happy child. If you aren’t able to find some kind of equilibrium within all the different spheres of your lives, you will end up exhausting yourself and causing burnout. Pause. Take a breath. Let yourself take a little break from your responsibilities. The world won’t collapse if you aren’t there to hold it up for just a tiny second. You have to make yourself, your mental and physical health a priority. Only then can you be the guiding light that your children can look up to.
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