Family : 10 Work/Life Balance Tips For Career Mums
It was my turn to choose the Saturday night movie in and I made my husband sit through I Don’t Know How She Does It (the movie based on the best-selling chick-lit novel of the same name).
For those who don’t know, the movie stars Sarah Jessica-Parker (above) who pretty much plays
Carrie herself but in a more suburban, yet high-powered job, setting.
Now while the movie was stacked with cliches about a career mum (the guilt, the lack of sleep, the not-so-nice stay-at-home mums), there were actually plenty of moments in the movie that really did hit quite close to home. In a boy-there-is-no-easy-answer-to-juggling-both-roles kind of way.
Oh, before we go any further this is not a career vs stay-at-home mum post. Quite frankly, it’s nobody’s business but the family involved when the mum in that family returns to work. It is what it is and everyone should be able to make their choices free from judgement of others. It it not a black and white thing. So women should stop being so black and white about it … ok, stepping off my soapbox now.
I’ve been a mum and a career mum for almost 17 years now. Geez. Now that’s freakin’ scary.
What’s even more scary is that I no longer remember my career/working life sans kids. Did I really go straight from work to the gym or the pub (depending on which end of the week it was)? Before work did I really go to the gym or get up at the last minute (depending on which end of the week it was)? Did I really think nothing of coming home from work, making toast and a cup of tea and watching my favourite shows on the couch before retiring to bed to read a good book … you know for more than five minutes before passing out?
In the juggle that is my life today – and I’ve made it more flexible, if not less juggle-y, over the past four years by running my own business from home – all this is difficult to believe and is but a dim, distant pre-kids memory. The kind of memory that comes with a lovely soft focus around how things used to be.
Before kids, I thought the having it all thing was going to be a walk in the park (turns out the only walks in the park I’d be doing would be with screaming babies in prams).
Which is why I was super excited that mums returning to the workforce now have a little “bible” to help them with the practical nitty gritty that they have to get their head around. It’s all the stuff other career mums don’t tell you (probably because they haven’t got the time!).
Career Mums by Kate Sykes and Allison Tait (Penguin, rrp $19.95) is designed to help mothers negotiate through what is often a troubling and confusing time with a practical return-to-work game plan.
And I do like a plan. Yes, I do.
One of the most difficult parts of returning to the workforce is finding that new balance in your work and home life. And that’s where a plan is definitely needed.
These 10 tips from Career Mums might just help you:
1. If both parents are working, don’t have the “I’m tireder than you” conversation with your partner. Instead have a discussion about how to make things better.
2. If your children are old enough assign them chores.
3. Schedule in time on your own – find one hour a day that is your time.
4. Schedule in couple time (disclosure: if you get to this point in the book you will find out how my husband and I … umm … handle that).
5. Take the mindfulness approach: when you’re at work you’re 100% the employee or business owner; when you’re home you’re 100% the parent.
6. At work, periodically review your work and ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time? What can I do to save myself time yet achieve the same outcome?”
7. At home, look for ways to manage your household jobs more simply.
8. Try not to get lost in the day-to-day at the expense of the bigger picture.
9. Don’t wait for the perfect work/life balance to appear – you have to create it and work hard at it.
10. If your current work/life balance isn’t working for you, it’s time to change.
Are you are career mum? What was it like when you re-entered the workforce? How do you manage your day and your week?