Caring for Mom

Supermom Secrets 7 Steps to Sanity: The Search for Work-Life Balance

7 Steps to Sanity: The Search for Work-Life Balance

The debate as to whether women can “have it all” wages on in the media. Meanwhile, you’re neck deep in that difficult transition many women face when returning to work: How do you devote yourself equally to your children and your work? The answers range from the practical to the philosophical, and some of them might surprise you.

  1. Start the day strong. Mornings set the tone, and leaving that to chance is asking for trouble. Set a morning schedule for your family that allows enough time for all the necessary tasks like breakfast, getting dressed, day care drop-off and commute ­– and be realistic.
  2. Take care of the basics and stay healthy. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet and exercise. It’s the oldest advice in the world, and you’ll never be as challenged to follow it as you are now. Set an early bedtime, pack nutritious lunches and schedule time for exercise. If you’re tired, sick and depleted, your work and family will suffer.
  3. Develop a routine for domestic chores. Plan your weekly dinner menu on Sunday night. Schedule shopping trips for once a week. Tackle laundry on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Whatever it takes to bring order and structure to your daily life will help you feel in control. However, remember that remaining flexible is also essential to preserving your sanity. Be prepared for the curve balls that will inevitably come your way.
  4. Choose the right childcare provider. Above all, your childcare provider must be someone you trust beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you don’t, your work and ability to focus will suffer. Beyond that, choose a childcare provider whose location and hours complement your families’ work schedules. The right fit can be tough to find, but worth it for the advantage it brings.
  5. Delegate, at work and home. In order to accomplish everything you need, you’ll have to ask for help. This might be hard if you want to appear invincible. Know that asking for help, and assigning duties to those around you, is a sign of strength. At work, delegate duties that can be performed by others, and at home, enlist the rest of the family. You’re all in it together.
  6. Accept that you can’t divide yourself equally. This will sound counter-intuitive, but the first step to achieving balance is recognizing that giving equal parts of your time and energy to family and your career is probably unattainable, and isn’t the point anyway. The goal is balance, and achieving balance requires flexibility. Sometimes you’ll be reading a spreadsheet when you’d rather be reading a bedtime story. Sometimes you’ll miss an important meeting because your baby has pink eye. Keeping score will drive you crazy, so try to go with the flow.
  7. Make time for you. This is last on the list, because that’s where moms tend to put themselves. With so many other people angling for your time, it’s hard to do. But take a moment each day to sit quietly and breathe. Find a bit of time every week to do something you enjoy. Nurture yourself in healthy ways. Then head back in to the fray, refreshed.