How to have it all and align motherhood and work?
One of the biggest struggles of working mothers is how to have it all, how to align motherhood and work. Is it possible? Absolutely, in my new YouTube video, I will share 5 tips that will help you fit everything important into your busy schedule!
As a little girl, you most probably dreamed about finding your Prince Charming, having kids, working something meaningful and living a fulfilling life. And then you grow up, you have everything you ever wanted, but there is reality knocking on the door: you are not enjoying your life as much as you imagined because you are stressed out and overwhelmed by the trillion tasks waiting for you at work and home. This is what I call motherhood's trap - here is the video that I made about the topic if you want to check it out and see what can you do about it.
So, you feel like you never can give in all your talent at work as much as you wanted and you fail as a mum as you can't be as present with your kids as you want - and I am not even mentioning the extras, like spending time with your husband, go for a run or to a yoga class, or just simply sleep as much as you wanted. It is a default feeling of failing everywhere and not being able to do anything as well as you wanted.
But does it need to be like this? Absolutely no, in my coaching program, we work with tons of tools and strategies that help you to have it all and organise your life in a way that you have time for everything that matters. How?
1. You can't have it all by doing it all
Yes, you have a lot of tasks and responsibilities and you do everything to juggle them. I am sorry but I am here to tell you that it is impossible to fit in everything.
You won't be able to do everything on your own, but the good news is that you don't have to. The number one struggle of working mums is that they don't have enough time, so the first thing you can do is to create more time for yourself by involving more your husband and your support system - check out my video where I share with you my 5 steps guide to help you to communicate assertively with your husband and get him onboard to take his share.
Besides that, what additional help can you get? How do you feel about outsourcing? There are certain tasks that with some logistics you can easily outsource - for example, cleaning is one of those, or you can create a community of parents and share the school pick-up and drop-off responsibilities. You can automate some stuff, for example, you can do your grocery shopping online. There must be quite some options that you could consider to ease the workload on you by involving more help from your environment. Every family's situation is different, but there are always options that you can explore.
2. Focus on the things that matter
Does it ring a bell when you want to finish the laundry quickly after an online meeting, but you know you are already late to pick up your kids and have no clue how you could fit everything into 24 hours? You would love to exercise, you would love to cook something healthy, you would love to wake up early to have enough time in the morning, but you just needed that glass of wine and to scroll on social media to disconnect after bedtime and there you are, waking up exhausted again so this is another day just to get through. And you feel like a failure because you have just seen how amazingly other corporate mums do it, how they have time to bake vegan sugar-free, gluten-free cookies every morning to the kids and post about leadership on LinkedIn and no one complains or admits how hard it is.
Well, first of all, social media is not a reference point and you know it, so forget about comparing yourself to the fake mothers, it is hard for every single mother, for some more, for some less, but every one of them has their own problems.
Second, we talked about how to get help, now let's focus on what are the essentials. Yes, I know that you would love to accomplish all those mentioned above, but what are the things you are ready to let go of, maybe for a while? Where can you lower the level and accept that it won't fit into your life right now? What are the areas where you could gain some efficiency?
To bring in some ideas, maybe this is not the time when you will have a perfectly clean home or there will be occasions when you travel for work and you are actually happy about it, so it will be someone else picking up your kids or putting them to sleep. These are not easy choices, but you can't do everything - so the sooner you make your decisions and accept that you are doing your best, the better for your mental health.
Expectations come up with basically all my clients - which shows how much we can help ourselves by cleaning up this mess in our heads. The thing is that working mothers are expected to work as if they had no family and they are expected to be the supermums who have no professional career. So we are set up for failure as this is an unrealistic expectation that no one can meet, not even a superwoman.
That is wrong with expectations, that there is always a huge gap between reality and expectations, and that gap is the land of frustration and stress.
Now, to avoid that misery, we might be able to change others' expectations towards us, but first, we need to have realistic expectations towards ourselves, and that is the key here. So if you think about your own ideas about a working mother, do you think those are real? Or do you maybe expect too much from yourself? To have a clearer picture, try to think about your husband or a friend, if it were them, would you see it realistic to accomplish all those things you have in your mind - and there is your answer if you expect too much from yourself.
The moment you can see crystal clear what are the unrealistic expectations towards yourself, you can start putting less pressure on yourself and accept that you can still be a good enough mum and a great employee by delivering less.
4. External expectations
Let's mention boundaries as well. Women are often socialised to be good girls and please others, we are raised to seek others' approval and that is why it is so difficult to say no. Because what will happen if I say no to a new task at work, if I don't go on that business trip or if I dare to have some me-time for myself when I am exhausted and I need it?
The thing is that your time is just yours, and you have all the right to say no. You don't need to go into details at all and explain yourself, that is where you might feel that people will judge you. Instead, just say that I would love to, but I can't. Maybe next time.
With practice, this also gets easier, and consistency is key here. Your environment might be surprised or even upset at first if you suddenly start to draw the lines as we all want to keep the actual setup and avoid changing the dynamics, that is just how we humans work, so you can expect some resistance at the beginning, but just keep going and practise saying no.
I don't need to explain to you how much flexibility is needed for a working mum. What options do you see for yourself to gain more flexibility? What would make a difference for you and what do you need to achieve it?
Very often this is the point when my clients bring up some ideas as if they were impossible. Like they want to work as a part-timer, or with a flexible schedule or spend more time working from home, but it would never happen. Corporations can still improve in the area of supporting their working mums, but there are a lot of options available to significantly improve your situation and make logistics easier. If you don't ask for them, you will never get them. I worked with so many women who thought asking for what you want happens only in the movies until they finally knocked on the office of their manager and asked for it - and I am telling you, if you build up your case well and fight for it, you will succeed and get what you want.
In the long term, it is also worth considering working for employers who support mothers with those options, so if you are playing with the idea of changing your job, investigate the company if it might already have a 4-day-a-week work program or what are the options it could offer for parents? Again, it is a mind monkey in our head that we should be happy with whatever the companies offer and work twice as hard as others to prove that as a mother we can give in as much value as people without kids or a father. No, your worth is based on hard work and your talent, and companies are willing to facilitate the conditions if it is a win-win.
I hope these tips helped you to get some insights and align better motherhood and work. Check out the description box below and download my free 3 steps guide towards a balanced life that can further help you to have it all.