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Friday, July 12, 2024

How to successfully balance career and motherhood

Being a mother can be a joyful, challenging, and rewarding experience. Although it can bring a deep sense of fulfillment, it can also be a source of stress.

I used to be hardworking person who was dedicated to her job when I was still single. I was so passionate about building my career that I could work over 20 hours in a day.

After attaining the peak of my career, I decided to get married and become a mother.
I had always imagined that I could balance my job and motherhood easily, but as soon as I became a mother, I was hit with the overwhelming responsibility and guilt of not being able to do it all.

Living in a city where it was difficult to find a good nanny, I had to drop my daughter off at the daycare when she was just three months old. It was not easy for me to leave her in the care of strangers. I thought deeply about it before searching for a good daycare centre.

I was so meticulous in choosing a daycare centre for my child. Did you know that I visited more than 10 centres before registering her at one of them? I still remember the first time I dropped her off at the daycare centre. She was so tender, and while I was at the office, my spirit was over there monitoring my baby. I kept calling the nanny to check up on my child.

“Hello, ma’am, how is Kamara doing?
“Is she sleeping? Please check if she is breathing very well.
“Has she eaten? There is a thermometer in her bag. Please check her temperature….”

Please, don’t laugh at me. I did that because I had read about several cases of sudden infant death, and I didn’t want anything to go wrong.

After resuming full-time duties at the office, I spent my days rushing from work to pick up my child from daycare and then rushing home to cook dinner. I was always exhausted at the end of the day. There was a time when my baby fell ill, and I blamed myself for it. She had a cough, and the doctor said she probably contracted it from someone at the daycare. Although she got better a few days later, I still felt guilty for not being able to spend more time with my child.

As the days went by, I tried to find ways to make my job more flexible, such as working from home or finding a job with more family-friendly policies. I also reached out to my family and friends for support, but even with their help, I felt like I was constantly struggling to keep up. I was so used to being in control of my life and career, but motherhood threw me for a loop.

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Do you want to know the tips that helped me create a balance between work and family life? If so, let’s jump right in!

Set goals and priorities
Juggling motherhood and a career can feel like you are trying to keep a dozen plates spinning simultaneously.

Image credit: Open Library

And as we all know, the minute you stop paying attention to one plate, it crashes to the ground. So how do you keep your plates from crashing?

The answer is simple: make a list of your priorities and schedule your time accordingly. Create a schedule that works for you and your family.

This could include things like bedtimes, mealtimes, homework time, and family time. You can use online tools like Google Calendar or Evernote to keep track of your appointments and to-do lists.

Say no to unplanned or unnecessary engagements

Learn to say no to commitments that aren’t essential to your goals or well-being. This approach allows you to prioritise what is important and prevent burnout.

You can also set clear boundaries with your colleagues, family, and friends about the time you must devote to your job and family.

Be flexible
While creating your daily plan, ensure that it is flexible—after all, you never know when your child might need you.

Image credit: makemebetter

Also, you should always be open to new opportunities and willing to make changes as your life and career evolve.

Being open to change can mean considering new job opportunities or adjusting your schedule to accommodate new family responsibilities. It’s all part of the juggling act—embrace it and make it work for you!

Delegate, delegate, delegate!
Feel free to ask for help from friends, family, or a professional support system. If possible, find a trustworthy babysitter or nanny.

Image credit: Nursing Standard

You can’t do everything, so delegate some tasks to others.

Take a break and invest in yourself
While trying to be the best mother and employee, remember to take care of yourself. Give yourself a break when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’re only human, after all. Take a few minutes to relax and gather your thoughts.

Take a break
Image credit: Lompoc Valley Medical Centre

Make time for self-care and development. Self-care activities can include things like exercise, reading, meditation, and spending time with friends. Whatever it is that feeds your soul, make sure to carve out some space for it in your life.

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Celebrate your little wins
Being a mother and having a successful career is challenging, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

ToastAfter setting realistic goals, don’t feel bad when things don’t go as planned. Remember that it is okay not to be perfect and that you are doing the best that you can.

Embrace the benefits of technology
If your company offers working from home, or flexible hours, take advantage of it! With the advancements in technology, you can utilise virtual meetings and video conferencing tools to work remotely while caring for your children. Use organisational and messaging apps to maintain communication with colleagues and employers, even when you’re away from the office.

Life is all about balance, and sometimes we have to make hard decisions. When it comes to balancing motherhood with a career, it’s important to remember that you can’t do it alone. In fact, the idea of balance isn’t about having everything in perfect harmony—the key is to strike the right balance for you. Avoid using “balance” as an excuse for career stagnation. Instead, actively plan how to integrate your professional and personal life.

Don’t judge or compare your experiences with anyone else’s; focus on what works for you and your family. Give yourself grace, and when you make mistakes, learn from them. Finally, you can join a supportive online forum and learn from other people’s experiences. In my case, it wasn’t easy, but with the right mindset and support, I was able to make it work. I believe you can also find a balance. Just keep trying.

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