A friend of mine recently sent me an email requesting for advice on how to balance her career and family needs. She got married almost 2 years ago.
After literally hunting for a job for one year without success, she recently found one. But her trouble now almost four months on the job is that she has “no breathing” space, her job is very demanding.
She leaves home early and returns late and worse still sometimes she is forced to carry some work home.
While my friend is not yet a mother, her story is not unique.
A good number of working women / mothers are in the same boat. Striking a balance between work and family life remains a challenge. I will share with you, what we discussed below;
This comes back to planning – career planning is important for everyone, but especially for women.
If you have a road map, you will be less likely to become derailed if you should, for example, decide to have a baby or get married.
As you plan you will find space to accommodate such life changes – prior planning equips you with ideas on how do deal with each situation.
I remember my days at the University seeing “young mothers” struggling – it is not easy to have a baby to breast feed almost every 15 minutes yet you also have to do your course work.
For the married women, the situation is different because commitment is involved. Creating a balance becomes a top priority for one to have a happy family.
The most important thing here is to plan your time and separate work from family. No matter how demanding and important your work is, it should never come before the family.
When you have this in mind it will help you to decide when you are faced with challenges at work. If your boss wants you to work outside your job description (extra hours), explain to them why it is practically impossible.
Explain to your boss that apart from earning your salary , you have children to raise , a home to keep together and a host of other commitment to your husband ( sometimes you have to be brutally honest) to save the situation.
As a matter of fact the family should come first because your ability to keep everything going especially your work will depend on a solid foundation at home.
Ask yourself the following questions: Why am I working? How can I make the most of my time with my spouse and children? What type of lifestyle do I really want and will this lifestyle make me and my family happy?
Professional advice from www.familysupportAmerica.org says you should keep family and work spheres separate – do not bring your work problems home with you or your family problems to work with you.
When you are with your family, you should not be thinking about the client that you lost or the work you will need to complete tomorrow – you need to be thinking about your family!
Involve your family in your work – while you should leave work at work and family at home, you can involve your family in your work.
Let them know what you do. Let them share in the excitement of a promotion, etc. If possible, take your children to work with you every once in a while, thereby allowing you to both work and spend time with your kids.
Get some sleep – yes, it can be difficult to find time to sleep when you are trying to find time for work or for your family, but if you are better rested, the time you spend at the office and at home will be better spent.