Being a high-achieving career woman can be an exhilarating journey, filled with opportunities for growth, success, and personal fulfillment. However, when you add the responsibilities of motherhood to the mix, it can feel like an elusive quest forward - forever in pursuit of balance. As in our own journey of becoming the best versions of ourselves, we never quite arrive - it is a lifelong journey. What propels us forward in this pursuit is the ability to reach for the “ing” in balancing.
In this case, the key to reaching for the “ing” in balancing is the use of strategies, tools and techniques that will help to positively navigate the demands of work, kids and family life. The use of tools and techniques that can move us away from feeling overwhelmed, stretched thin and exhausted towards those that create a forward movement to feeling successful, happy and whole. Rest assured, it is entirely possible to navigate this intricate balancing act successfully excelling in your career while raising resilient children. However, there is a big “BUT” - YOU must do the work!
In this comprehensive blog post, we'll delve into ten strategies that will help you in your pursuit of “balancing” career and motherhood.
Prioritize Self-Care: Learn to invest in yourself
As high-achieving women, we often put self-care on the back burner. However, it's essential to remember that you can't pour from an empty cup. Dedicate time to self-care activities like reading, practicing yoga, or indulging in a relaxing bath. It is also critical to include in the category of self-care a variety of options. For example, time to check-in with yourself, what you like, what you want, what you don’t want, what you need and what you don’t need. This investment in yourself will not only boost your energy and patience to handle the demands of both your career and motherhood, it will also allow you to connect with your inner self which has a significant impact on your outer world success. A study conducted in 2020 in the United States and published in the Journal of Family Psychology revealed that mothers who prioritize self-care activities reported a 17% decrease in stress levels.
Set Clear Boundaries: Learn when to say YES!
Creating clear boundaries between your career, kids and family life is essential. Establish a designated workspace at home to focus on your job without distractions. When you're with your children, be conscious about being fully present, and avoid work-related interruptions if possible. Setting your priorities will help to direct your decision making. Learning when you can say yes to things that come up outside your priorities is essential to balancing your life. Setting boundaries will help you maintain a healthy balance between kids and career and can help ensure that you're giving your best to your career and your family. A survey by the American Psychological Association in 2021 found that employees who set clear boundaries between work and personal life reported lower levels of work-related stress. Time Management and Planning: Learning to Use Tools that Enables the Pursuit
High-achievers excel at time management and planning. Use these skills to your advantage. Create a detailed schedule that outlines your work hours, family time, and personal commitments. Prioritize tasks, delegate when possible, and make use of productivity tools and apps to streamline your day. Effective time management will help you make the most of your available hours. The American Time Use Survey reported that women who efficiently manage their time are more likely to report satisfaction with both their career and family life, with an increase of up to 30%.
Leverage Technology: Learn How Technology can be One of Your BFFs
In today's digital age, technology can be a high-achieving woman's best friend. Learning how and when to utilize apps and tools to help you stay organized and efficient, can positively free up emotional and mental energy. Calendar apps, task management apps, and communication platforms can help you coordinate with your team at work and your family at home. Technology will help you to keep track of important deadlines and appointments, helping to ensure that you are on track for what you have to do. According to a Pew Research Center study from 2022, 82% of working mothers in the United States use smartphones and digital tools to help manage their daily lives.
Communicate with Your Employer: Learn How to Convey What You Need At Work
Open and honest communication with your employer is key to finding a balance that works for both your career and kids. Discuss your needs and expectations regarding flexible work arrangements, remote work options, or adjusted hours. Many companies now recognize the importance of balancing work-life demands and are willing to accommodate their employees. Having a supportive work environment can significantly ease the challenges of balancing career and motherhood.
A report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2021 indicates that over 90% of employers in the United States now offer some form of flexible work arrangements.
Delegate and Outsource: Learn to look for alternatives where possible.
High-achievers often have a hard time letting go of control, but it's crucial to delegate tasks and outsource when necessary. Ask family for help or if possible, hire a babysitter or use childcare services to ensure your children are well-cared for when you're at work. Consider outsourcing household chores, such as cleaning or grocery shopping, to free up more of your time. Delegating responsibilities will help you focus on what matters most in both your professional and personal life in areas of your life where you are able. The National Bureau of Economic Research states that outsourcing domestic tasks can save working mothers an average of 8-10 hours per week.
Embrace "No": Learn the Power of NO!
As high-achievers, we often want to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. Time is our most valuable asset. However, it's essential to recognize that there are only 24 hours in a day and therefore, learn to say no when necessary. Overcommitting can lead to burnout and negatively impact both your career, kids and your family life. Prioritize your commitments and choose those that align with your goals and values, allowing you to give your best to each endeavour. Gabor Maté, a leading physician and author on trauma and its life long impacts on physical and mental health says “When you don’t know how to say NO, your body will say it for you in the form of illness”. The Harvard Business Review suggests that setting boundaries and saying no to non-essential commitments can lead to a 25% increase in overall productivity.
Foster a Support System: Learn to Find Your “Village”. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community is essential for success. Lean on family, friends, and other mothers who understand the challenges you're facing. Share your experiences and seek advice from those who have walked a similar path. Joining support groups or online communities can also provide a sense of belonging and valuable insights into managing the dual roles of a high-achieving career woman and a mother. Building a support system is crucial for balancing career and motherhood successfully. A study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that mothers who have strong support networks experience less stress and higher levels of life satisfaction.
Nurture Your Resilience & Impact Your Kids: Learn the Science of You!
Raising resilient children is a goal for many high-achieving mothers. Resilient children are better equipped to handle stress and adversity, which can reduce parental concerns and stress in an ever changing and challenging world.
Resilience is defined as “the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties”. The importance of demonstrating your own resilience, as a Mother, cannot be underestimated. How you respond to challenges is science based and forms the foundation of your resilience and the way it impacts your children. Teach yourself so you can model and teach your children life skills that will help them thrive, such as problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and time management. Encourage independence and allow them to make age-appropriate decisions.
According to a report by the American Psychological Association, teaching children resilience skills can lead to better mental health outcomes.
Practice Gratitude: Learn the Power of a Positive Perspective. Take time each day to practice gratitude. Dr. Bruce Lipton said "Change your perspective, change your world." Reflect on the positive aspects of your career and your role as a mother. Gratitude can help you maintain a positive outlook, reduce stress, and remind you of the reasons why you're working so hard in the first place – to provide a better future for your family. This is also an opportunity for you to model positive habits and behaviors for kids. Amidst the chaos of balancing career and motherhood, it's easy to lose sight of the blessings in your life. Research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that practicing gratitude can lead to a 10% increase in overall life satisfaction.
Balancing motherhood and a career is undoubtedly a complex and demanding undertaking, but it's not impossible. You can reach for the “ing” in balancing by implementing some of the above strategies that will not only allow you to enhance your overall well-being, you will also be providing an environment where you can raise resilient children while excelling in your career.
Remember, although it may seem like you are the only one going through these challenges, you're not alone on this journey. With determination and conscious implementation of strategies, tools and techniques, you can not only excel in your career and in your role as a mother - you can also raise resilient children who will thrive in this ever changing world you are guiding them through.
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