By: Azarel Smallwood
The brass ring of being one of America’s millions of working mothers is finding that elusive work/life balance. Historically, women have been the ones responsible for keeping up the housework, making dinner, and raising the children. Today, despite changing gender expectations and more helpful spouses, it can still be quite overwhelming to achieve everything, every day. It is indeed possible for working mothers to be successful business women at the same time. All it takes is some planning, communication, and boundaries.
Step One: Organize And Prioritize Your Tasks
Do the dishes and the laundry. Get that spreadsheet finished. Take the kids to baseball practice and piano lessons. Send out that email before you forget. The number of tasks flying through working mothers’ heads is incredible! It’s no wonder you feel frazzled. Take an hour each week to plan and schedule the activities and expectations for the coming days. With a good day planner, you can set time specifically for work, family, and you time. Don’t forget to schedule break time in there, to recharge your mind and help refocus on the next thing on your list.
Step Two: Give Yourself A Break
You’re Supermom, and are doing your best at being a successful business woman. But when there is more than one goal to focus on, occasionally some things might not get done. And that’s okay! Explain the importance of your job to your family, and the importance of your family to your boss. While you might be holding yourself up to the level of perfection on every single task, there will come times when you need to accept that something is good enough and to move on. Communicate with your spouse, your children, and your boss when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Include them in your planning and time management, so that everyone is on the same page with expectations. And when you’re falling behind? Ask for help. No one will think less of you for it.
Step Three: Moms in Business Need To Set Boundaries
For successful business women, communication is key. When you’re also juggling a family, it’s even more important. Setting boundaries between work and home will help stop the two from bleeding into each other. The first boundary to set is between work people and your family. Make sure that work people can only contact you during certain hours, and outside of that, it has to wait until tomorrow. The same goes with your family: during scheduled work time, unless it’s an emergency, it can wait. The next boundary is to segregate your time. Hours spent at work are focused career time, whereas time at home is dedicated family time. The last boundary for working mothers is separating your work space. If you work in the home, designate a room for your office, and while you’re in there, it’s as if you’re not even home.
Step Four: Connect With Other Working Mothers
Sometimes, it feels like no one gets it. Do a bit of searching to find a network of like-minded working mothers, either online or in your neighborhood. Even if you can’t fit in attendance to an event, having the chance to connect with other working mothers, who are also trying to juggle being successful business women, will be a great help to your sanity. When we’re at our most frustrated, it’s comforting to realize that we’re not the only ones going through it. Groups and online communities such as these offer friendship, advice, play dates, and even business networking.
Step Five: Take Care Of YOU
When planning your week, plan at least an hour, twice per week, that is yours alone. This might be to get a pedicure, take a long bath, or have a glass of wine while reading a novel. A critical part of balancing being a mother and a successful business woman is time to unwind. There may be other things that you could be doing, and it may seem counter-productive. However, working mothers need time where they are not a mother, not a business woman, but just themselves.
Step Six: Family Still (And Always) Comes First
Make your family time non-negotiable. When there is a struggle between choosing family or work, you can always make your family your number one priority. If you have a boss, express the importance of your family, and that you will need to be available for emergencies. If you work for yourself, or from your home, it can be incredibly difficult to know when to shut down and stop working. With proper planning and time management, as well as a supportive family and boss, you should be able to feel fulfilled as part of both groups: working mothers and successful business women.
Frustrated after trying to get her novel published, Tressa “Azarel” Smallwood took matters into her own hands and began her own publishing company, Life Changing Books. With 60 titles and 30 authors published, she now helps turn working mothers into authors and successful business women.