As a woman entrepreneur, wife and mom to two little boys, the question I am probably asked the most is “How do you balance being a working mom.” And to be honest, I’ve always taken issue with this question.
I’m fairly certain that in the four and a half years of having our oldest son, my husband, also a business owner, was never once asked how he handles balancing our kids and his job. But I get it, for better or for worse, it’s true that women often take on more when it comes to having a family. And to be honest, whether you decide to stay at home or go back to work after having kids, it’s a struggle.
Both are hard. And you can certainly argue both sides of which is more difficult. I prefer to say that in general, motherhood is hard and beautiful and challenging and incredible, and we’re all just trying to do the very best we can.
And now, in 2019, I’m tired of this notion that as women-whether we stay at home or go into an office every day-need to balance every single aspect of life.
Spoiler alert: I don’t balance it all. I juggle, I manage, I ask for help. I partner 50/50 with my husband. I make it work. Sometimes I don’t. I do the best I can. The word balance conjures up this idea that everything is perfect, everything is in order and everything is good. That’s just not my life.
Things are hectic and messy, and at times things fall through the cracks. I’ve taken conference calls feeding a baby, walked in to a meeting with a Batman sticker on my blazer and spent many a night baking cookies for my kids school while preparing for a major presentation at the same time. I wouldn’t change it for anything. My kids are my number one: my world. They will always take priority over all other things in my life. My hope is that when they’re older, they’ll understand the value of a strong work ethic, the idea to follow your dreams, and the notion of to create something bigger than them. My hope is that their little eyes watch their mama do all these things and in turn they’ll pick up a thing or two along the way.
There is an immense pressure as mothers to do it all. Anyone else feel like they just need a little bit more time back in the day? For me, doing it all (really, really well) is just not an option. Instead, I refocus on the things that matter most to me: quality time with my family and growing my business. It’s taken me some time to learn what works best for me and my family, but keep reading to see my go-to tips “juggling” it all as both a mom and founder of Ready Pretty.
My kids might think I’m Superwoman-and at times I sure feel like it-but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that I can’t do it all. I’m lucky to have a husband who splits our home life with me 50/50, friends, in-laws and a babysitter who I love and trust. Find your network of people you can lean on. Don’t currently have your tribe? Look to mom groups and meet-ups in your city. It’s an easy way to find other moms in your shoes who know exactly what you’re going through. It’s always been hard for me to ask for help but I’m learning that I can be a less stressed, better mom when I reach out for the help I need.
Take the Time To Plan
Ugh, I know… one more thing. But we all know that being prepared in work and life only helps the cause. I work really hard to plan out my week while my kids nap on Sundays. I plan our weekly meals, to organize the week’s schedules and review what big things I want to accomplish both personally and professional. Sundays are my days to get it together as best I can and keep me accountable for the week ahead.
And even better - once my plans are set it allows me to maximize my time as opposed to figuring things out on the fly. Which means less stress and more getting things crossed off my to do list.
I’ve always said if one day I’m rich enough I’ll hire a chef to cook all of my family’s healthy meals. And can someone please figure out a machine that folds laundry?! We’re not quite there yet, but a girl can dream. That said, I look for ways to optimize the tasks that need to get done, but can tend to drag on.
I’ve found task batching works great both at home and the office. For work, I batch certain parts of my day: email correspondence done in chunks streamlines my workload; strategic planning in the mornings keeps me focused; outreach to new boutique partners in one block of time keeps me in sales mode.
The same thing goes for tasks at home. I set a timer for 30 minutes and power clean my home (you’d be surprised all that you can do in 30 minutes!) or force myself to fold and put away all the kids’ at once, versus here and there throughout the week. I’m a list maker and being able to cross these items of the list fully gives me so. much. joy.
Find Your Thing
Whether it’s working out, meditation, or your weekly manicure - make the time for solo time if you’re able. I take care of and or manage so many different aspects of my life that so often I’m the last one on the list. For me, I love a good workout all to myself before anyone in my house wakes up for the day. And this year, I’ve promised myself more mediation and creative thinking time so I can spend time channeling calm.
Give Yourself Some Grace
Every now and then you need to remind yourself of how great of a job you’re doing. So often we look at what we didn’t get done, or what we could have done better, but how about we flip it?
I don’t do this often enough, but I try to start my day thinking about a few of the things that I’m grateful for, followed with a few of the things I’m proud of myself for. It’s good to give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself of how truly incredible you are every once in a while. Plus, it’s a practice that barety takes any time at all.
To all the working mamas out there - you’re doing a great job. Don’t forget that!