So now you’re a mother, and your children are the greatest joy in your life. But just because you’ve got that family fulfillment thing cornered doesn’t mean all your career and financial aspirations fly out the window. It’s probably just the opposite! You want to be able to provide everything your children will ever want and more and to do that you need to find success both in the workplace AND in the living room. But is it possible to have it all? Of course, it is. It takes a bit of organization, a lot of dedication, and possibly the willingness to get by with a less-than-ideal amount of sleep, but if you want both a career and family, you have the power to make it happen. And research has shown that parents who manage successful careers on top of their family lives cause little to no adverse effect on their children. In fact, it may improve your relationship. A successful career will keep you from boredom at home while maintaining a healthy social life. So here are a few ideas to throw in your bag of tricks that will help you manage a successful career with being an incredible mother.
Scheduling can be tricky, especially if your job is hectic. And your kids’ calendars can end up almost as packed as yours! School holidays, extra-curricular activities, sports, tutors and a hefty social life can be a lot for one mom to keep track of. So create a master calendar for your entire family. Bring your work calendar into it as well, so yours and your children’s schedules are all in the same place. It will help you balance all you need to do while relieving the stress of unexpectedness. You’ll also be able to examine the balance in your schedule with one glance. If work is suffering, you can find a sitter and adjust. If the home is suffering, you can figure out where and when to schedule in time with the family.
Give your kids a voice. They may not always like your busy schedule, or understand why it’s so important. So make sure you keep an open dialogue with your kids and hear out their concerns whenever possible. You may not always have the answers, but giving them the opportunity to clear the air will often be enough to make them feel better. And if they understand that your busy career isn’t just for you, but to give them the best life possible, they’ll be more willing to forgive your absences.
Get creative with your work process. Your boss may feel better keeping you on a 9-5, in the office schedule, but that doesn’t mean that’s always what’s necessary to get the job done. Explore creative options for managing your work that allow you a bit of scheduling flexibility. Perhaps you can work from home a day or two, or telecommute a couple of times a month. The commuting time and money saved can go directly into your family life, and many people find they can get more work done outside of the busy office. It’s not for everyone, but if you can manage your workload without the boss sniffing over your shoulder, it’s worth a try.
Share the burden. No mother is an island. You want to be the picture of impenetrability at work, but it’s just not possible. Bring the people close to you into your experience, and ask for help from time to time! You may have graduated from one of those top executive MBA programs for the career growth, but use those management skills with the people that care about you. That means taking a helping hand from co-workers and getting your partner and the kids to share in the chores load. It doesn’t make you weak; quite the contrary. It makes you savvy.