Oprah once said we can have it all, but not all at once.
It often feels that way when it comes to having a career and raising children. It feels like most of the time, when I am succeeding in one area, I am failing in the other.
Most of the time our childbearing years and career-setting years coincide. I started my company at the end of 2008, I got married in 2009, had my first child in 2010, moved to a new city in 2011, and had my second child in 2014. All the while having grand expectations of success at work and at home.
When you don’t feel like a success at home or at work, it’s time to stop and reflect.
- What’s working?
- What isn’t?
- What does success at home and work look like?
- How do I enjoy the present?
- What do I need?
- What do my children need?
- What does my business need?
What is work-life balance?
For me, a work-life balance is more of a feeling than a goal. There will be times when I need to prioritise one area over another, and that is OK. I just need to feel that I am trying my best.
Super-Mom does not exist
Changing my expectations helped. The hot Hollywood moms who look amazing, star in box-office hits, run successful businesses, write best-selling books about health and fitness, all the while married to A-list Hollywood hunks, have their own stuff going on.
Plus, they have a team of PA’s, personal chefs, personal trainers, child minders and stylists helping them out.
The lesson I’ve learnt in my short years of parenting, is that my kids don’t want Super-Mom. They want Mom who is happy. Mom who is fun. Mom who is loving. Mom who is there.
The lesson I’ve learnt in my short years of parenting, is that my kids don’t want Super-Mom. They want Mom who is happy. Mom who is fun. Mom who is loving. Mom who is there
The importance of being present
A study revealed that it’s not how many hours parents spend with their children, but rather how engaged the parents are when they’re with their children. Being present wherever I am, and whoever I am with, helps me feel balanced. And this requires being practical.
Some practical tips for keeping a work-life balance
- Stop multi-tasking.
- Manage your emails.
- Turn off the phone during meetings and family time.
- No phones during mealtimes – ever!
- Don’t work every weekend, and especially not on Sundays. You need time for family, friends and fun.
- Keep one calendar, so you don’t miss important events.
- Get support – you can’t do it alone. Delegate to your partner, parents and friends.
- Preparation and planning create a happy and calm home. (Every two weeks or so I set an afternoon aside for cooking healthy meals that I can freeze).
- Make your home life a priority. If your home life is a mess, you will never be happy at work.