Are you a harassed working mom looking for the right work-life balance? Here are five tips to keep you centred.
By Anasuya Jagan
Working women play a vital role in running and supporting their families. As the needs and demands of a household get bigger by the day, it is the norm now for both husband and wife to work and earn. In such a scenario, the challenges faced by mothers are plenty, as they juggle their responsibilities in the home and workplace.
Taking care of children, preparing food for the family, honouring family commitments and maintaining sound physical and mental health – all of these become huge tests of ability when office and work dominate a woman’s time. Here are five points to keep front and centre, to ensure that you don’t neglect your family even as you give your best to your workplace.
Time it right: Your job is important. But remember, your family is invaluable and irreplaceable. It should be your top priority in life. Plan your work at the office efficiently, so that you complete it on time. Don’t work extra hours at the office, as this will inevitably result in compromising on your family time. Putting in more hours once in a while is fine, but don’t make it a habit. Eight hours at the office should be sufficient to complete all your professional responsibilities for the day. Make sure you finish all your work within that time. Ensure that your boss clearly understands that your home is as important to you as the office. This might not go down well with everyone initially, but if you are firm on your stand, you will ultimately win respect. If, after completing all your given work, you are frowned upon for leaving the office as soon as working hours end, it’s time to look out for a new job that respects your personal life.
Spend time with family: Never carry your work stress home. It will complicate your family life and prevent you from doing your best as a mother. And don’t devote the entire evening to television. Instead, spend quality time with your children. There can’t be a better way to relax during the evenings. Share your own lighter moments at work and listen to what your children have to say about their experiences at school. All the better if your husband joins in. Sit with your children and guide them in doing their homework, projects and preparations for the next day at school.
Take time to eat: Remember, you’re human, not Superwoman. When you reach home after a gruelling commute at the end of a hectic day at office, you may find loads of domestic work staring you in the face. Don’t just plunge into this fresh workload. It will only up your stress levels and give you a headache. Instead, take time out to relax, and, as importantly, respond to that rumbling in your stomach. Your body needs some nourishment in the evenings. So, make time for a snack right after you return from office. It could be biscuits, fruits, nuts, or even a cup of milk. You’ll definitely feel better after having it. If, at times, you find the hunger creeping up on you even before you reach home, stop by at a decent food joint and recharge your energy level. You’ll find that you’re able to be more receptive to your children’s needs.
Lists can be timely: Your day is likely to go for a toss if you forget things that have to be done. Always maintain a written To Do list for each day, and put in everything, be it a regular chore or a one-off item. Taking your child to tuitions and fetching her back home, making your monthly grocery purchases, paying school fees, making and keeping doctor’s appointments, keeping track of vaccination schedules for your children, even taking your own medications on time – all these and more can be managed effectively by means of lists which can be checked off. Make use of technology. There are some wonderful apps available today to help you cope with your domestic responsibilities effectively even while you handle your official ones. You can even set long-term reminder alerts or alarms on your mobile phone for important items on your family’s agenda. Remember, work done on time earns you a lot of hours to spend on other productive work, or just to relax.
Enjoy some ‘me’ time: You are an individual as well as a wife, mother and working woman. You need to spend some time on yourself, and with yourself, to maintain emotional and mental health. Yoga, meditation, mild physical exercise and breathing exercises will all enhance positive vibes in you, in addition to boosting your metabolism. Sacrifice a little bit of your early morning sleep for them, and you’ll find yourself bubbling with energy and confidence. Your example will also encourage your spouse and children to join in, and your whole family will reap the benefits.
To sum up, as a working woman, you are sailing in two boats simultaneously. It’s up to you to perfect the balancing act, keeping in mind that your family always comes first. Good Luck!
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