The elusive work/life balance: is it a myth or is it achievable?
For work at home mums it can seem even harder to find a balance that suits your work, yourself, and your family because you are constantly engrossed by all three, all the time.
To achieve a healthy work/life balance, you just have to know where to start and how to identify when you’re going off course, so you can pull yourself back in line and continue enjoying life to the fullest.
Get there by doing the next three things immediately:
#1: Set realistic boundaries
Work at home mums are a breed of their own. They’re career driven and outcomes focussed, with a need for flexibility to allow for the quality care of their children.
The only way that a balance can be maintained is through setting, and sticking to, boundaries that work for you and your family.
This could look like the number of hours you work or the times during the day that you work. You may need to work around nap time or school time or you may need to work in the evenings to accommodate everyone. Ensuring that all parties know when you work will set those clear boundaries and keep guilt at bay.
When you set boundaries around your work schedule, also ensure that you set time aside for you – you need to have a break from work and family every day. This time includes eating breaks and breaks to rest your mind and your body.
#2: Identify your stress triggers
Stress is something that we all deal with at some point in our lives and it can often creep up on us without us realising, until our hearts race or our blood boils, and then it’s too late.
Stay at home mums often find themselves dealing with a myriad of stress-inducing situations, whether it’s dealing with a business call while your toddler refuses to eat their lunch or trying to meet a tight deadline on next to no sleep.
And because by their very nature, stay at home mums are usually at home, they may find themselves playing the role of worker, carer, and cleaner. And if there’s one thing that can bring on a stress attack, it’s a messy house merely hours after you’ve cleaned it.
Once you’ve identified your stress triggers, do what you can to release the stress in safe and healthy ways – spend time outdoors, move your body, reflect. Make time for yourself to destress and work on strategies to return to a balanced state of mind.
#3: Put yourself first
A healthy work/life balance is hard to maintain if you find that you are constantly looking out for other people – your clients, your boss, your colleagues, your children, your partner – and never considering your own needs and wants.
Yes, there are times when you need to put yourself second in order to get through all the things that need to be done. And in the same way, there are times when you need to give yourself permission to put yourself first.
Do you have a hobby? Do you turn off your device? Do you spend time away from the children? Do you ever just sit in silence and breath?
Mums are wonderful at getting things done and looking after everyone else. They’re also notorious for feeling guilty whenever they put themselves first. It’s a habit that can be difficult to change, but it needs to happen if you are committed to finding a happy work/life balance.
Because, after all, you only get one shot at this life. Make it count.