The importance of balance between motherhood and work

mum feeding child

Motherhood and work, can we juggle it all?

It’s a question that’s often asked and pondered with differing answers, however, the question shouldn’t be if it should be how.

Here are some ways you can prioritise the importance between the two:

Find Your Definition of Balance

Forget that the two will always be balanced as this is probably unrealistic. Sometimes, one responsibility takes over more of your life than the other, and that’s completely normal. For example, if your child is sick, mum mode is likely to kick in, or if you have an important work deadline, your career might be the priority that week.

The best way to deal with this is to define what balance means to you and to not compare yourself to others, as everyone’s circumstance is different.

Separate Work From Home

Of course, this is always easier said than done but being able to do so is important in juggling your responsibilities. It’s normal to worry about your child/children when at work and work when home with your children, all mothers will commonly experience this. The best way to conquer the separation is to set boundaries and attempt to the best of your ability to separate work and home.

One way in which you can do this is by putting your phones on silent when you get home and not answering emails, phone calls, or texts at designated times. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but following this rule generally should stand you in good stead. While it’s likely you won’t be able to silence your phone at work you can try and make a rule for yourself that you will only organise child-related tasks during lunch (unless of course there is an urgent exception!).

Don’t overbook

One way you can find balance is by making a conscious decision not to “overbook” your family. For example, if you work full time, some mums prefer to enrol their children in fewer activities (not none, just less) so that they can enjoy more quality time across the weekends. It can make life feel less stressful as the worry of running all over the place is removed.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party invitation or activity. It’s okay to say no sometimes, in fact, it can even be beneficial in balancing motherhood and your working life.

Ask for Help or Hire Someone (If Possible)

There is often guilt when it comes to mum’s asking for help juggling it all, but there shouldn’t be. Asking for help is a sign of strength as it represents an understanding that you know what you need. If it all feels a bit too much and you’re constantly rushing from place to place to maximise the time you have with or without your children, it may be a sign you could use more help. This could be from family or friends for the odd day or weekend to help carve out a small amount of time where you have help in an activity that can be very helpful, or it could be a more permanent solution. Whatever the answer, accepting help might not be initially easy, but long term it can offer huge benefits.

Accept Some Imperfections

While many of us have an “ideal home/work life scenario”, it’s often not a reality, at least not all of the time. The trouble comes from trying to make it all happen all the time – a lifestyle that can be both mentally and physically taxing. Simply accepting that not everything can be just right all the time is often the best approach.

So, decide what’s most important to you and let a few other things slide. For example, if a clean lounge before bed helps you feel less anxious in the morning, make it a point to declutter each evening. If a few toys are scattered in the room don’t bother you—let them slide. Once you figure out what you “need” to happen to make things run smoothly and balance your lifestyle, you may be less stressed if a coat or hat is out of place.

Compromise on some things that are okay being left as “imperfect” and you will likely save a bit of time, and let’s face it, some sanity too.

The reality is that whatever your work pattern or commitment, balancing motherhood with your work can’t be perfect all the time. Somewhere down the road sacrifices will have to be made. The best balance is different for everyone depending on their scenario. For some of us, this might mean seeking external help, while for others it can be a case of compromising, not overbooking, or separating work from home and vice versa.

About the author

Kathryn-Bell Kathryn Bell, CEO, The Webinar Vet

Kathryn is the CEO for Alpha Vet International Ltd, which includes The Webinar Vet and WikiVet.

Kathryn is a University of Liverpool Business and HR graduate, and has been with the company for a decade, taking the company from a team of 3 to 30 and 1 brand to 4 through growth and acquisitions.

Kathryn is passionate about helping veterinary professionals around the world; providing the best education, the largest support community and the planet’s most confident veterinary professionals. She is also incredibly passionate about people, diversity, and business transformation, with a focus on supporting and empowering women, particularly through VETchat’s empowering women in veterinary series, which she hosts.

Outside of work Kathryn lives by the beach in Liverpool and loves nothing more than spending time there with her young family!

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