As any working mum knows, trying to find a balance between family life and work is a constant challenge. The daily routine can consist of a seemingly endless battle of trying to juggle all your work and family responsibilities.
Getting up early, preparing the kids for school, getting them there on time, and arriving at work is just the start! You then have to do a full day’s work with all the stress that entails. Then, you have to do it all again but in reverse order to pick up the kids and get home. That is not to mention making meals, driving kids to their afterschool activities, and helping them with their homework.
The hard reality of caring for your daily responsibilities can take a toll on your emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Apart from not getting enough time to relax and exercise, prolonged stress can also take a toll on your health. This can also result in feelings of guilt because of not having enough energy to spend quality time with your family.
In this article, you will learn about different ways that can help you take back control and regain your balance with work and family life.
For mums, the challenges of balancing all the roles of being a working mother are especially difficult. A study on the effects of work-life balance on Australian mums found that around 30% experienced a high level of conflict between personal and work life. Caring for responsibilities in the family, at work, having to work long hours, and poor physical health combine to create many challenges.
It seems that Australian mums suffer more than working mothers in other countries. According to the Australian Government Department of Health, employees in Australia work longer hours on average than those in other Western countries. Working too many hours can have a negative impact on wellbeing.
If you are a working mum, what can you do to regain balance in your family life while carrying on a successful career?
Your hard work contributes to your family’s overall wellbeing and this is only a positive thing. However, you should also try to see the positives in the daily routine. For example, try keeping a “joy journal” to record funny or sweet things your kids did. You could also text your partner with some antics that your kids got up to.
Although you have a busy day, try to carve out some time for yourself. Some working mums take a walk during their lunch break or arrange to meet up with a friend. You could also use the time to pamper yourself an get your nails done. Or, you could put some headphones on and listen to soothing music. Try to schedule 20 minutes or so every day to do something you enjoy doing.
Bedtime is a great time when you can bond with your children. Research has shown that consistent bedtime routines help reduce stress for both child and parents. Use the time in a positive way to read stories, chat with your kids, and show them affection.
Being under constant stress can make some mums draw away from others. So, it is very important that your employer knows what your needs are and what is necessary for you to continue being a valuable employee. Usually, working mums are some of the most hard-working and committed employees.
At the same time, it is also good to communicate your needs with your partner. Maybe there are opportunities to share responsibilities or rearrange the daily routine to ease the stress.
To help keep the balance between work and family life, it is essential to switch off from work when you leave the office. The Australian Parenting Website recommends that, when you leave work, you switch off your work phone and put on some relaxing music while you are travelling home. It is also recommended to switch your thoughts to your children on the way home.
It is also good to avoid taking work home with you and to use the evenings and weekends for family time.
If you have a partner, arrange for date nights at least twice a month. This is a great way to reconnect and invest time in the most precious relationships.
If you still find that you are having difficulty finding the balance between work and family life, it may be a good idea to speak with your doctor or find a good stress management course.
Photo by Sai De Silva