Balancing work and motherhood
Can you balance a fulfilling career AND raise amazing children? Read along as Babytalk expert & Working Mom Support Coach, Elaine McGhee, shares her plan to help you thrive as a busy working mama.
The juggle is real
Balance is key when it comes to being a mom, and especially when it comes to being a working mom. First things first though, you have to accept the notion that you actually cannot do it all (and neither can your friend with the perfect Instagram feed)! In an interview at the United State of Women Summit, First Lady Michelle Obama said “you can have it all, just not all at the same time.” What does this mean? Well rather than trying to keep all the “balls in the air”, let go of unrealistic expectations, identify your priorities, and allow yourself to be in the moment.
Allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment gives you the chance to slow down and be more intentional with the time you spend with your children… think about it as quality over quantity. By doing so you will find that when you’re at work, you’ll experience less “mom guilt” about being away from your kids, and vice versa.
Tip: Think of your car or commute to and from work as a transitional space to release stress and refocus. Take three deep breaths before you get out of your car so you can let go of your work day and be fully present for your kiddos.
Your priorities matter (and so does sleep!)
Stress, mom-guilt and tension all arise when there is a disconnect between what you are doing and what you want to be doing. Like when your boss asks you to work late or you spend all Saturday doing laundry. If you don’t make time for the things that brings you joy, then you will forever be stuck in the mud of dissatisfaction.
What are your priorities and do they show up on your calendar? Perhaps you want to do a yoga class twice a week, go to a monthly book club with your friends or even get some rest on your day off. Balance can only be achieved when we have time for the stuff we have to do and we make time for the stuff we wantto do.
Tip: Write down your priorities for your work week, i.e. make green juice, be home by 5pm, go for a walk at lunch. Get your partner involved by creating a shared calendar. Plug in your priorities for the week so both you and your partner are on the same page about how to make every minute count!
Practice saying “NO”, delegate and outsource
So many people helped you along the way from pregnancy, to childbirth, postpartum and beyond. Yet, as a working mother you’re expected to juggle all the demands of your home, work and personal life by yourself. There are three “mom super-hero powers” that will forever change how you look at your time. 1. Saying no. 2. Delegating. 3. Outsourcing.
Saying no is the simplest yet most empowering statement a woman can say to reclaim her time. A close second is the courage to delegate. Let technology do the work of outsourcing for you: get organized with apps like Cozi, Evernote, and MealPlan. Also, try HelloFresh for meal prep delivery, grocery delivery with the help of Amazon Prime Now, or make 24Me your personal assistant.
Tip: With a smile, say “no” to a new request this week. “No” is a complete sentence. And an empowering one!
Gather your TRIBE
The reality of feeding a newborn up to 12 times a day is exhausting. What many new moms don’t know is that is can also be quite isolating. Having a tribe allows you to learn from other mamas, laugh about the highs and lows of motherhood, and feel supported in a non judgmental way. Building a community of trusted mama friends may take a bit of effort but it contributes greatly to mother and baby’s success especially in the first year.
Tip: Write down the names of experienced mom-friends who you can call when you’re feeling “off”, need to share a win, need a laugh, and who have great advice. Beware of family and certain friends who may feel it’s okay to offer advice on days when you just need to vent. You know who they are.
Finding balance is especially important as you return to work after maternity leave. Navigating the demands of pumping at work, juggling career demands and acclimating to your “new normal” as a Working Mother is possible with the right plan. Gracefully return to work after maternity leave and avoid common new-mom mistakes.
Elaine McGhee, Working Mom Support Coach, is on a mission to empower moms. From her own emotionally traumatic return to work after her first daughter (can you say HOT MESS?!), the ThriveMomma support community was born. She blends research, expert collaboration, her own training in project management and passion for Mindfulness to help moms to thrive as a working mothers. Elaine consults as a Transition Coach for corporations to integrate and retain female employees after maternity leave. She holds workshops in Southern California and virtual coaching on return-to-work readiness, time management for busy moms and mindful living.