he hard truth for parents everywhere is that the juggling act between work and family is physically and mentally exhausting. Get 8 hours of sleep each night they say. Squeeze 5 days of physical activity in each week they say. Eat better, they say. Oh, but don’t forget to also prepare that presentation for work that was due last week, send off the 25 emails that are in your draft folder and also work on training the new hires at the office. Last but not least, Jack has soccer practice tonight at 5:30 and Norah needs to be picked up from daycare by 4:00 at the very latest. Oh, and by the way, what's for dinner? Now that’s a FULL schedule. Motherhood and employment are two things that are tough to navigate on their own, but together? Now that’s a different ball game. A 2012 Gallup survey found that working stay-at-home mothers were significantly more likely to experience depression than mothers who worked outside of the home. How do brand new or experienced moms navigate a balance between motherhood and employment without feeling completely burnt out, depressed and stressed?
Build a Support Network
You know when you have something on your mind and as soon as you talk about that something, you feel incredibly better? Same goes for navigating a healthy balance between motherhood and employment. Though it might seem easy to rant to your significant other or your husband each night, try to stay away from that as your only outlet. Turn to your like-minded woman tribe to cry, laugh or brainstorm together - whatever it is you need. Other working women really get it. Putting all of your marbles into your children, partner, and work duties will only stress you out even more. An external emotional support network outside of your main relationship (if you have one) is a great buffer to escape your daily grind.
Don’t Let Guilt Get to You
In today’s work world, you would think that every company values mothers, but as we all know, not every organization is created equal. Have to leave the office 30 minutes early to pick up your son from soccer practice? Don’t feel guilty about doing so. Did you put yourself first and sleep in an extra 15 minutes because you knew deep down it would make your day THAT much better? Don’t let the guilt get to you. You do you, and put yourself first. You need to benefit from a company that truly embraces motherhood.
In the midst of juggling work and motherhood, there’s one very important thing you can’t let slip your mind when finding a balance between motherhood and employment. That very important thing is play. Related to that, make sure to laugh out loud. No joke, laughing triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Even if it means laughing at the fact you have spit-up on your blazer because your life is a literal gong show, embrace it and laugh about it.
Know Your Strengths
At the end of the day, you know yourself best. Many working moms get down on themselves for no good reason. If you know that ordering in for dinner 3 nights in a row will ultimately allow you to finish up those dreadful work tasks, then do it. If you know the best way to get work done at home means letting the kiddos watch tv for 2 hours, do it. Being a mom isn’t an easy task, and combining that with employment is an even bigger fish to fry. Feeling worthy and practicing self love will help you feel comfortable celebrating small and large milestones that come with the effort of being a mother. A boss one, that is.