Today is the age of the “woman who has it all”, or the age of the woman who has a successful career (or is on the path towards a successful career), children, and a loving partner with whom to share it all. Although this may seem like a blissful picture from the outside, it can be downright chaotic when we are attempting to balance work life, family life, school life, and lives of our own. In today’s economy, a two-income household is becoming more and more necessary, and finances can be tight even when parents have good jobs.
With the increasing demand for advanced education, many more women are also staying in school until later in life to acquire graduate degrees, and many are having children while in school. Despite the trend towards equal sharing of household responsibilities, women continue to pull the majority of the second shift of housework and childcare when they are at home.
Because of all these factors, women are increasingly finding themselves attempting to gain or even restore balance. What does this look like? Succeeding in the classroom, doing well at work, and then shifting into wife mode/mommy mode. This can be quite overwhelming, and nothing will turn this chaos into the easy life. However, I have a few tips women may be able to ease their stress levels and lighten their load.
Do Not be Afraid to Delegate Work — Especially While WFH
The woman who has it all may think she needs to do it all, but this is not so. If you need help, ask for it! In theory, you would think remote work makes it easier but it can actually make things worse when expectations aren’t clearly defined. We can and should delegate items from our to-do lists in a variety of ways, including giving our children more chores, asking our partners to help more around the house, or looking for people to share projects at work or in school. It is surprising how often this pays off. Remember, “I feel” and “I need” language can make a difference!
Do Not Apologize for Taking Breaks From Work
Busy moms may feel as though there is no excuse for resting because there is always so much to be done, but everybody needs a break every now and then! Unless the children are in mortal danger or you will be fired for not completing a project, it can wait. It is important to take time during your day to break and recharge. This will actually help you become more productive and will help you maintain your mental sanity. If you ask me, I totally feel like Naptime Fridays should be a thing!
Nothing Has to be Perfect
Being present is so much better than being perfect. Would children really suffer from the occasional microwaveable meal, or the house truly fall apart if dust or dirt accumulated for a while? Will you really get written up at work for using a less than beautiful font on your draft? Not everything has to be done perfectly for life to function well. So it is important for us as women to understand that we do not need to do everything perfectly so we can get more time for ourselves.
Share Stresses and Accomplishments With Friends…Safely
This goes right along with the phrase “shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half sorrow”. It is important to find somebody we can talk to about our difficulties and accomplishments. It can be very helpful for us as women to find a friend with whom we can both brag and vent. Everybody needs a sounding board and a personal cheerleader. The key is to know the difference between support and people who want to see you fail or spread your business.
Get Pats on the Back
It can be great for women to praise themselves for accomplishments, no matter how small. We deserve to celebrate a promotion at work just as much as we deserve to celebrate getting our kids to cooperate with the most basic ask. These accomplishments can be marked with anything from silently telling ourselves “good job”, to set aside more unwinding time at the end of the day, to throwing a full-on celebration with friends. Whatever helps us realize that we did a good job is appropriate.
The bottom line is simple. There are ways for us moms to balance work, school, family, and our lives. These include delegating housework, taking enough rest, avoiding being a perfectionist at home as well as sharing joy and pain with friends and family. Even reading a good book can be helpful. Either way it goes, you just have to figure out what works for you and stick with it!
What other suggestions do you have that I might have missed? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
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