As mothers, our number one priority is our children. Yet, our careers require much of our time and attention. Both are very important. Here are our strategies for balancing career with family life:
I work from home. So, I’m on the computer several hours a day while Josie is around. Needless to say, she doesn’t like the competition for mom’s attention. Not to mention it’s insulting that she can’t play with mom’s toy! It took a while to figure out how to juggle working from home and being an engaged mom.
At first, I tried to get all my work done in the mornings. That way I could play with baby girl all afternoon. Good strategy, right? Well, after I would push her away and ignore her to finish my work all morning long, she was grumpy and frustrated with me. I finally decided I would work strictly while she was sleeping. This meant before she woke up in the morning, during her naps and usually a little after she went to bed. This worked wonders in building our relationship back up. It was tough to resist enjoying some much needed “me time” during those quiet hours. But, I guess being a mom is about sacrifice.
Josie is becoming more independent now, and I’m able to work a little while she plays next to me. It’s been a challenge to learn to work from home. But it has been so worth the effort! As she grows to each new stage, I’ll just keep adjusting to find whatever works best for all of us.
Balancing family and career has been high on my radar for the past thirteen years. (That went fast!)
My career is a huge part of my life, and was there long before babies arrived. It has always occupied a good chunk of my attention, both on and off-duty. I love what I do, love the products we create, love the people I work with and the customers we serve.
But my children. They are pieces of *me*. Always on my mind, in my heart, always needy. They always will be. When I look to the future, it’s my family I see. I love them with every part of my soul.
So how do I balance? It’s more complicated than I’d like it to be. When school is in session, it’s fairly easy to compartmentalize my days. They go to school, and I go to work. When they get home, I am home. When school is out, I am home (I’m fortunate to be able to do much of my work from home when the need arises). This is a double-edged sword, however. Some days it is difficult to be able to focus entirely on one or the other, and my attention bounces back and forth. Some days I am able to keep firm boundaries on what absolutely must be accomplished, and we get it all done. I love those days!
Mostly, as time goes by I’m finding that it’s crucial to simplify: to choose to participate in fewer activities (only the most important ones!), to make time for looking my kiddos in the eye and really listening to what they have to share, to focus on here and now and let the rest go.
With that, here is my quick and dirty list of tips for balancing family and career:
1-know what’s most important
2-keep a schedule
4-focus on being present
5-allow for margin
7-be okay with less than perfection
Fresh ideas are always welcome! What are your strategies for balancing career and family life?