Tips for moms who are striving for that ever-elusive work-life balance
Caroline Currie is mom of Jack (12) and Olivia (10), and she balances this with being Sales and Marketing Director at the Clarion Group, an integrated print branding company that operates a factory 24/7 and rolls out campaigns nationally, overnight! Her husband Blake is the MD of the company, and the demands on both of their time is immense. She shares a few tips for moms who are striving for that ever-elusive work-life balance.
It’s not easy. The term work-life balance can haunt you every day if you let it, and feelings of guilt about working long hours or missing a ballet recital, can actually make you less effective as both a mom and a professional. I can’t say that I have it all figured out, and the role of a mom is a serious game of making it up as you go along, but I can say that I have found a few helpful things that make a difference for me when trying to be there for my children.
1. Lose the guilt
We all know that feeling, but it serves no purpose other than to drain you of much-needed emotional energy – use the energy rather to be the best mom you can be when you are with your children. Easier said than done, you say. I find it helps to push those thoughts from my mind by focusing on the last fun outing we had as a family, or I picture the story time we will have when I do get home.
2. Be there in other ways
With the technology of today, we are able to do so much to be a presence to our children when we can’t be there. It’s a poor substitute, but for your children to see your face and hear your voice, even briefly, will give them a sense of connecting with you and shorten the time before they see you again.
Depending on the age of your children, you could even read a bedtime story over Skype or Facetime. If they are really little, sing nursery rhymes. I exchange whatsapp voice messages and pictures with my children as they are now old enough to use that technology – it’s as much for me as for them, as I love to hear that little voice telling me what happened at school.
It may seem a bit old-fashioned, and you may already be doing this and not really realise it, but having regular, routine activities that you do together, is very rewarding and makes a difference to your children
3. Do one thing with your children every weekend that really connects with them
When you do get quality time with your family, make it count. It does not have to cost a fortune and involve expensive meals out, it can simply be playing at home. Most of us have heard of the ‘5 love languages’ and you may feel this is something for adults, but as your little person develops they will communicate to you what their love language is. I think all children enjoy a good cuddle with mom, but your child may particularly enjoy having mom’s undivided attention for 15 minutes to have a story read just for them. Discover what it is that your child responds to, and make sure you connect with them in the way that is meaningful to them.
4. Create family traditions
It may seem a bit old-fashioned, and you may already be doing this and not really realise it, but having regular, routine activities that you do together, is very rewarding and makes a difference to your children. Don’t you have memories of certain things you ‘always did’ as a family when you were little? It could be going to the library or for a park run on a Saturday morning. It could be having pancakes for breakfast on a Sunday, or having a pizza movie night at home on Friday. I find that these ‘expected’ activities give the children an additional sense of continuity in life and that if I am not around on this day or that, they know that we will all be doing that one thing when I am.
5. Look after yourself
This tip should be at the top of the list, because it makes all the difference to your children if their mom is happy and grounded. I try and take some time for myself, impossible though it seems, when work takes up eight to 10 hours a day some days, and children, homework, supper take up the bulk of any other time available. A 30-minute run, a coffee out or a catch-up phone call with a friend, can give you a small window to connect with yourself.