In the spirit of many people gearing up for back to school, here’s Ten Tips for Bringing Balance to your Work and Family Life:
1) The idea of balance can be misleading; making people think you have to somehow have it all: the perfect career, the perfect family and of course the neat and tidy home at all times. This can put tremendous unnecessary pressure on today’s busy parents leaving people burned out or resentful. I see balance as a reminder to try to give 100% of myself to whatever I am doing while accepting that certain things will just have to wait.
2) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Try not to worry about what other people may be thinking. Remember you are not alone in your experiences of stress and frustration and feelings of inadequacy.
3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As I talked about in a previous blog, I fully believe that it truly does take a village to raise a child. If people offer to help, it usually means they really want to. Instead of worrying about being a burden, I enjoy knowing the joy my children bring to those close to them and I know that having this time away enhances the quality of our time together.
4) Honour your needs and your emotions. Some people find comfort in keeping busy and having constant social connection. Others may feel overwhelmed by a hectic schedule and need more solitude. In last week’s blog Be Not Afraid, I described how emotions provide us with valuable information that can bring us closer to our values and those close to us. They can also give us insight about what changes we need to make in our lives.
5) Reduce the stress of living up to the super mom myth by accepting the title of “good enough mom”. I firmly believe perfection is an impossible ideal that sets us up to fail. Instead of trying to “do it all”, prioritize and let go of certain tasks or obligations that take more time and energy than you have or that really are not ultimately your responsibility.
6) Self-care is not selfish but self-preserving. In order to keep up with the hectic pace of today’s busy life we have to constantly be refuelling ourselves. We cannot give to others if we are depleted or burned out. I’ve discovered that play is just as important as work and provides a wonderful opportunity to be in the moment with my little ones.
7) Be patient and forgiving to yourself. Both at work and at home we are presented with new challenges and new stages of growth and development. Give yourself permission to learn as you go, making mistakes along the way. Educate yourself about those things you feel least competent in and share your successes and struggles with trusted confidants.
8) Some time management strategies that have worked for me: plan your meals ahead, prepare big meals on the weekend with lots of leftovers; if you are in a relationship, play on your partner’s strengths and vice versa while making considerations for challenges (I am not a morning person so I get as much ready as I can the night before). Finally, maximize your high energy/creative time (I tend to do my reading/writing/planning in the evening after everyone has gone to sleep and the house is quiet) and don’t forget to build in mini breaks.
9) Put guilt in its place. Much guilt comes from unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. You have the right to enjoy work and raising a family and to sometimes wish you didn’t have either responsibility.
10) Remember no matter how hard you try the work is never done. Structure your day with a variety of obligations and rewards.
Share your comments with us on Facebook
Nicole Aug 28/12