If you are a working mom, you might feel burdened by the catch-22 of the guilt that comes from trying to do it all. While at work, you might feel bad about leaving your child or children behind at a daycare center. While you are at home, you may feel guilty about not staying at the office as long as your co-workers.
Recent research has shown that working moms spend up to 25 percent of their time worrying. This is an average of 5 hours more per week than working dads worry. If a woman is an entrepreneur or small business owner, this burden is even greater. While there is no secret formula or magic genie to make the guilt go away, these tips may be able to help you to balance your work and family life better.
How Successful Working Moms Balance Their Work and Life
1. Establish Work-Life Integration
A generation or two ago, it was easy for working professionals to put their work down at 5:00 pm and head home without thinking about work activities. Today’s high-tech society means that there is an expectation to be connected to work 24/7. Instead of balancing a separate family life and work life, an integration of the two is more realistic and easier to achieve.
Try to build flexibility and margin into your day. If you know that you have a meeting with your child’s teacher on a Thursday morning at 9:00 am, attend it and then resume with your work day, knowing that your work schedule may extend into the evening hours to make up the difference. Use technology to your advantage by checking emails while in the school pickup line or while waiting for your child’s sports practice to conclude. Most working moms who manage their own businesses are passionate about what they do, which can make integrating work and family life easier.
2. Take Control
When you are a leader in your field or the owner of a business, you have the benefits of greater autonomy and more resources. These assets can help you to gain more balance in your life. You may be able to delegate certain tasks to your staff instead of doing them yourself. This allows you to reduce your own workload and spend the time with your family.
Just like you hire a receptionist or customer service representative for your business, you can hire professional helpers for your personal life. Do not be afraid to bring a nanny onboard or outsource your housekeeping and yard maintenance tasks.
3. Learn When to Let Go
Micromanaging is not only a poor way to manage your time, but it also leads to burnout and added stress in your life. Have faith that your staff will get the job done once you have shown them once how to do it the way you prefer. Collaborate on the work if you have to, but the ideal method is to delegate it. This extends to your home life also. Avoid ruminating on what the nanny is feeding your child for lunch and just believe that all is going as you planned.
At some point in the future, you will have to recognize that your children desire independence. Whether they want to stay home alone, do chores or drive a car, you will need to model independence and competence for them. There are benefits for your children when you allow them some freedom. A study done by McGinn et al. demonstrated that the daughters of working moms earn 23 percent more per year than the daughters of stay at home moms. Sons of women who work outside the home contribute more to child rearing when they become parents.
Find ways to spend quality time with each child. One-on-one time such as bedtime stories or going to the post office could prove to be priceless. You can demonstrate your values as a mom and as a business woman.
4. Make Your Family Your Team
Remember that the money you earn as a business owner helps your family to thrive. This income can benefit all of you by providing new opportunities to learn and have fun. When it comes down to it, family and business management are similar. Leadership and mutual respect will help you to enjoy success in all aspects of your life.
Talk with your family about how much of your time they want. You can choose how to follow that through with changes in your time spent working. Including your family in these conversations will help to keep everyone informed and satisfied with your family and professional roles.
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