We already know the devastating impact COVID has had on women in the workforce – four times more women than men dropped out of the workforce last September, and 9.8 million working mothers were suffering from ‘burnout.
As a working mom, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to raise my children while building my own career. I truly believe I was lucky enough to have the best of both worlds. Every mom knows the joy of raising children – and how often that joy can be found nestled between the familiar and overwhelming walls of fatigue.
In honor of Mother’s Day and all Moms, I wanted to share five tactics that have helped me navigate and balance job and motherhood while avoiding burnout.
It is impossible to be everywhere at the same time. Try to share school events with your spouse or other members of your support system. When my daughters were in elementary school, my husband had more flexibility at work than I did. So, it was dad who was selling hot dogs with the other moms on “Hot Dog Day”. My daughters loved seeing him there as it was rare for a dad to be around, and he had a great time. It’s a memory my daughters still laugh about to this day.
Also, don’t worry about making fancy desserts for the pastry sales. Even if you feel like you have to say yes to everything, remember not to overextend yourself.
Consider running your home like a small business. Try to outsource anything you don’t like or don’t have the time to do. Your time is precious, so think about where it’s best spent. I am a very neat person and I can clean my house better than anyone else, but it takes so long! Having someone clean my house once a week when the girls were living at home was the best money ever spent. It opened up more time for me to devote to both the kids and to my career.
It might seem out of the question, but finding time for yourself is essential for your sanity. I know that you are probably so focused on your kids, your career, and your home, that finding a few minutes for yourself can seem impossible. But this time will be well spent, even if you have to get up early to have time for yourself.
I like to wake up early to have time for myself before the chaos of the day begins. My “me” time is daily training. It is a part of my day that I will never miss. It’s a positive outlet that releases endorphins and a great way to start your day. Find your positive outlet. Every mom deserves at least one thing that she does just for herself.
It doesn’t just apply to your salary. Years ago I lived on Long Island but worked in Manhattan. As my kids got older, I needed to be closer to home. I asked my boss at the time if he would open an office on Long Island for me, and his initial response was “no”. So, I took it upon myself to do some research and put together a case for an office space nearby. I found an office that was cheaper than their office in their New York City office and showed them how I could be more productive with a shorter commute. I made such a compelling argument that he had no choice but to say “yes”. This victory was incredible and changed my life and that of my family.
Understand what is most important to you and find a way to make it happen. You have to stand up for yourself, because no one else will.
Childcare was necessary for me to continue my career. But beyond our babysitter, I also trusted my daughters’ teachers and followed the advice of other parents, especially those with older children.
From the fifth grade, the teachers told us not to help our daughters with their homework so that they could learn to do it themselves. Although it was difficult at first, it was a blessing in disguise, as it taught my children to be independent and understand things on their own. I had friends whose kids were in high school and the parents always tried to help them with their homework. So glad it wasn’t me! Other mothers also gave me great advice and made me feel like I was not alone. It really takes a whole village to raise a family, and it’s always good to ask for help.
As moms, we know how difficult it can be to balance work and motherhood. If we stretch too much then we will not be at our best professionally or for our families. As the world opens up again and we can return to some semblance of normal life, I hope these tips help you find your balance and be the best mom who can work.