Achieving work-life balance: Tips for busy moms
Working moms share their insights and strategies to having work-life balance and finding fulfillment.
Beth and Meg Amat, the ultra creative mother-daughter duo behind Eve & Co. Floral and Event Styling, limit their load to two to three projects a week even though they get work offers one after the other. They do this to have “work-life balance.”
This strategy also ensures that they do not get overly exhausted and that they remain inspired and able to give their utmost to every endeavor.
Indeed, it can’t be all work and no play or we’d all be dull like Jack and Jill. Today’s working moms especially need to find that delicate middle ground between their careers and their families, while valuing themselves as well, so as not to get overwhelmed or depressed by never-ending demands and distractions.
Get a life
In her blog Development Crossroads, Manila-based certified career coach Shana Montesol-Johnson affirms that getting a life outside of work can make us happier and more successful. Here are her three reasons why:
One, jobs change. Companies downsize and contracts end. A female worker marries, gets pregnant and has to stay home with her baby. “Whenever the ending or transition comes, it can hit us especially hard if our sense of well-being, happiness and identity are all wrapped up in our work,” says Montesol-Johnson.
Two, it’s unwise to pile all your expectations into just one part of your life. If you let your contentment depend on your job alone and your work suddenly shifts or becomes unbearably taxing, then you will most likely be confounded and miserable.
Three, having varied interests and passions can enhance work performance and make you more effective at what you do. “Knowing something about a topic outside the beaten path of your field can help you bring a different perspective to your work. Plus, the mental and physical break from work can leave you fresher when you are on the job,” she explains.
Thus Montesol-Johnson’s wise advice is to enjoy work and to optimize it to play to your strengths. “Squeeze as much happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment as you can out of it. And get a life, forge an identity, and look for a source of joy and meaning outside of your career.”
The struggle of being a working mom
Working moms Maan D’asis Pamaran, a freelance journalist, and Ginger Palma-Arboleda, a serial entrepreneur, may seem to have it all but they are the first to admit that finding balance is not easy and is definitely not a solo effort.
“Having a successful career and raising a happy family is a big responsibility. I would compare it to juggling several china plates at the same time. If you lose focus on even one of those plates, it will fall and break to a million tiny pieces,” muses D’asis-Pamaran, who has four sons.
For Arboleda, who is the general manager of Manila Workshops and CFO of Turn Up Trumps, Inc. besides being a blogger, business coach, wife of EJ and mom to two-year-old Zeeka, says, “Time management has always been an issue for parents, regardless of whether they are stay-at-home parents, working or entrepreneurs.”
She goes on to say, “The ultimate goal of each parent really, when we say we strive for work-life balance, is to be able to become the best parent that we can be by spending enough quality time with our children and being able to provide for them, especially for their education. But in the process of trying to achieve this, we also know that we need our personal time to re-energize and to keep us sane.”
Here are their tips on achieving work-life balance and a more rewarding existence:
Ask for or get help. Hire a nanny for the kids or accept offers of babysitting from well-meaning relatives and neighbors. “Having it all does not necessarily mean doing it all. Learn to delegate,” says D’asis-Pamaran.
“As parents, we need all the help we can get. If you need to do something really important, do not hesitate to ask others (a parent, sibling or friend) for help,” advises Palma-Arboleda.
Set your priorities straight and set boundaries. “My husband declined a higher paying job (almost double his salary) just because he had to spend late nights in the office.
“His priority was to keep nights free so that he can spend it with our daughter,” shares Palma-Arboleda. Learn to say no if you are already running on full capacity, D’asis-Pamaran reminds moms.
Block off time for the family and when you do, make sure you are physically and mentally “present” and that it’s really quality time that you spend with them. Put away or turn off gadgets like phones and laptops.
Set a schedule and share it with the family. “We use Google Calendar in our family so that everyone is updated on the activities and whereabouts of each member,” says Palma-Arboleda.
Set aside time for yourself. Read, run, catch up with amigas, have a massage or go shopping. “Having me-time, even if it is just meeting your friends for lunch, having a manicure-pedicure, or taking a short trip sans your kids can do wonders for your sanity,” D’asis-Pamaran enthuses.
What about you? What are you doing to achieve balance and peace in your life? Let us know in the comments section below.
About the author: Regina Posadas
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