More than once, people have asked me the following: “How do you balance motherhood, a great career and a healthy relationship?” I tell them, you can do it all — you just can’t do it all at once. I think that’s what I’ve come to realize — that it’s about balance, it’s about prioritizing and it’s about really taking those moments in life, especially to be a mother. Here are some of my best tips for keeping the balance when it comes to having a career and being the best wife and mother that I can be.
1. Stay balanced
If you are a working mom like me, it’s easy to get into a parenting groove and feel challenged when it’s time to focus on your career. Sometimes when you are in a professional mindset, you slack. As a mom, I love what I do, but there are times I look up and think, “there have been about two or three meals in a row that I haven’t eaten with my child or I realize we have eaten out more than I’d like during the week. We all want our children to eat healthy and I buy organic food for my son every chance I get, but it’s important not to measure yourself as a mom by comparing yourself to other mothers. Every meal won’t be organic — thinking you are going to pull that off is going to set you up for failure.
You aren’t a bad mother, you are a working mother — this means quick, fast meals. It is what it is. It helps to identify the restaurants that have healthy options so that you are prepared. Also, find out where there is a Whole Foods Market in your area. Stop beating yourself up at work; there are days that you make dinner and days that you don’t. You’ve got to stay organized and be prepared; I make my son’s food before he goes to bed, pick out his clothes and put his outfits together; this helps you not feel frazzled at home or at work.
When I find myself feeling frazzled, I know that it is time for me to balance out my time between work and home. I need to leave work at work and be the mom I signed on to be. As a result, I try not to let one day go by without having one meal with my son in a traditional fashion for 30 minutes to an hour. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, this time period allows me to know how my child is doing and what he is doing. Even after a long day or hectic week at work, it is important that you always find a special way to spend quality time with your kid(s). You just make it happen as a mom, and I think that’s true for most moms. Moms make it happen.
2. Keep your priorities straight
Identify your deal-breaking moments. Sometimes, you might not make every karate class, but there are those important events that you are going to attend. You have to adjust your schedule accordingly. Your children come first. You have to set boundaries and manage time well.
While balance is essential as a working mom, you have to have your priorities in order. As a mom, there are going to be various moments throughout your child’s life that cannot be duplicated and that’s when being a mom becomes the number one priority. Of course, there will always be obligations when it comes to work and your career — but that’s when planning and organization come into play. Work with your employer to ensure that you can plan for those special days and moments when you need to step into your mommy role.
3. Make “me” time
While balancing a career and motherhood can be difficult, it’s important not to forget about you! “Me” time is vital to the success of both. When it comes to “me” time, I find it in the cracks and crevasses of life. We put everyone above ourselves; there’s always something else that can be done with your time except spending it on yourself.
It’s important to take that moment for you and make yourself the priority. Take time to enjoy your favorite activities, whether that is gardening, working out or a shopping spree with your girlfriends. Taking time for yourself is not selfish. How can you expect to give your all to your family and your career without yourself being at full charge?
4. Take time with your partner
Commitments in your career can be demanding. This is when you need to have some forethought and plan accordingly. If you know when your job will require you to work long hours or a hectic week is approaching, take time out to plan a weekend getaway with your spouse in the near future. If you can’t hop on a plane or take an impromptu road trip, plan out a day for just the two of you to enjoy your favorite activities. Nurturing your relationship will help your family and career flourish as well.
While alone-time is important, making time with your spouse is certainly beneficial to keeping balance in your life. Get a massage or go on a hike. Make significant time in the day for just the two of you to enjoy your favorite activities.