We have all heard the term "work-life balance" and how elusive it can be. We often tend to underestimate this term, especially when we are riding high on the waves of success and giving all our time to making our career move ahead as fast as possible. But we realize at some point in our lives that striking a work-life balance
matters a lot and such a time is when one becomes a working mother. To maintain the same tempo in your professional life while raising a child is a very challenging thing. When a child comes into your life, you begin to feel all the changes and it can affect you at work a lot. It is important that you chalk out some plans in order to maintain your work demands while being a good mother at the same time.
Working mothers can be compared to well-oiled machines that work without rest. From waking up in the middle of the night to working overtime, you come to a boiling point where you just want to stop doing anything. You begin to wonder if this is what you are meant to do in life. The new-found happiness that came with the baby suddenly evaporates into a mist of doubt. You begin thinking that your career is going to go on a downward spiral. How are you going to pick yourself up from this situation?
Managing Yourself is the Key
If you look at some of the wonderful stories about how some working mothers have demonstrated their mettle in various walks of life and broken the glass ceiling of the male-dominated echelons of the traditional corporate ladder, you will find that they all have the same story to tell. They all faced some common hardships regarding work-life balance, but through their hardships, they found the will to do what they wanted because they were able to manage their lives. So it all comes down to how you can manage your time.
As a working mother, you will need to prioritize your tasks. You need to efficiently manage the packed schedule you have. Plan your weeks ahead to get things done on time. If you are a happy-go-lucky kind, it is time to change yourself. You are now a mother (a working one, at that) and you have immense responsibilities. Develop habits that will help you to be more efficient.
Cut Yourself Some Slack and Ignore Some Things
Haven't done the laundry for a while, whereas you used to do it twice a week? It is time to let some habits go for the sake of your work-life balance. Do your laundry only when it's necessary. Did you invite your family over to your house for dinner every weekend? Are you the one who does all the cooking? You should let others understand your situation and distribute some of these responsibilities. Or invite them once every two or three weeks. If you are someone who deep cleans your house until it is spotless, you need to let go of it and just make sure that it is tidy enough for the child.
Make Sure That the Workload at Home is Divided
Raising a kid is no easy task and if you have no help at home, it is going to be impossible for you to maintain your professional life. Make sure that there is a clear division of the workload so that you are not overwhelmed with huge amounts of things you have to do after coming home from work. You should not be the only one waking up in the middle of the night to attend to the baby's needs. Get your husband to do it every alternate night. Arrange with your husband to pick up your child from school on alternate days so that you can give more attention to your work on those days. Making a work schedule for the both of you is going to ease most of your burden.
Hire Someone to-do Things That You Do Not Have Time For
The best way to get more time is to let others do some of your work. Most household work can be outsourced to professionals who can do it quite effectively and quickly for a minimal amount. You will find that paying for some services which you have no time for is worth the money. Does your carpet need cleaning? Call on someone to do it. Your garden needs some mending? Hire someone who can do it for you while you are at work.
Try Talking with Your Manager to Make Your Work Schedule Flexible
If you are lucky and your work is something which can be done from home, ask your manager to let you do that. It will save you a lot of time which otherwise would be spent on travelling. If you are not one of those lucky ones, talk with the manager to at least make your work schedule flexible so that it does not put too much pressure on you. Having a bit of flexibility to deliver projects and work on flexible timings can do some real magic. You will find that your life turns out to be much better.
The above tips should calm your worrying nerves about handling the work and personal life aspects at the same time. Remember that this is something new and it is normal that sometimes things do not go as you plan. But if you can stick to the above tips as much as you can it will be a lot easier for you.
Hasib is a professional writer working with one of prominent job portals in India - naukri.com. As a career coach, he helps professionals in making decisions related to career and job opportunities. He is an avid reader and lives for two things - football and food. If he is not involved in any of those, you can find him contemplating existential issues. Follow him @ twitter, Google+, LinkedIn