Can work-life balance happen?
Work-Life Balance – The Ongoing Battle
Tonight I stumbled upon a video featuring Nigel Marsh talking about work-life balance being an ongoing battle. This TEDx video rings home some great thoughts on setting boundaries and expectations as you make the choices needed to maintain a better work-life balance.
Here are some takeaways from the video:
Choose Your Career Wisely
1. Certain jobs and career choices are NOT compatible with being present and meaningful to a young family.
Flex time and dress down Friday all mask core issues.
The Truth about Balance
2. Face the truth – Governments and corporations will not solve your work life issues.
We have to take responsibilities for the life that we lead. It’s particularly important that you put your life in the hands of corporations.
Commercial companies are inherently designed to get as much out of you as possible.
We have to be responsible for setting the boundaries we want in our life.
3. We have to be careful in the timeframe in which we choose in which we judge our balance.
Write-out the ideal day we aspire to have with balance.
Be realistic. You can’t do it all in 1 day. Elongate the balance of our life. Don’t fall into the trap of we will have a life when we retire.
A day is too short. After I retire is too long
Balance in Key
4. Approach balance in a balanced way.
To be balanced, you have to attend to all areas.
Smallest investment in certain places will help
So here is my question for YOU: What does a life well lived to look like for you and your family?
This is a constant struggle for me as a working mom. I am pregnant with our fourth child and I know baby #4 will be another ball into the juggling act. This video could not have come at a better time!
Let’s talk about surviving the morning rush. If you were to sit in the living room watching all that goes into getting us out the door in the morning, you would laugh.
There are 5 of us – and on various days of the week we’re in different locations, but for the sake of this post – of the 5 people, there are 4 different locations we’ll be.
- Z & E are at school – must be there by 8:00 am – we have to leave BY 7:45 am to get there and make it thru the crazy drop-off line.
- Izaiah is at his sitters.
- Sean – at his work
- My – at my work.
I would love to say that Sean and I wake up at 6:00 am, brew our coffee, read the latest news and chat while I make breakfast. That’d be a big fat lie. We’re night owls. No matter how hard we try to change this, it just isn’t happening.
We wake up at 7:00 am. And by 7:00 am I mean we have our alarms set and are hitting snooze and know our butts MUST be out of bed by 7:00 to make all things go. The kids must be dressed, eat breakfast and all things must be ready in order to make this happen. While I know we could make adjustments, and this and that – the whole goal we have set for our family is to adapt to what is best for us. To create the best work-life balance for OUR family. And for our family, the work-life balance is must sweeter when we aren’t taking medication to force ourselves to sleep so that we can wake up earlier when we are just NOT morning people!
Here are 5 Tips to Surviving the Morning Rush:
1. Make Breakfast Before Hand
Breakfast food is easily accessible for kids. This helps with the morning rush before school and work. Work-life balance people
I would love for my kids to eat a wonderful full breakfast in the morning. With all of our priorities, my goal is now to just make sure what they are eating is somewhat healthy and is actually consumed by them.
My son who is in Kindergarten has a 10:30 lunchtime, so am not TOO worried about him eating, as he eats early and has a snack 2x later in the day. My daughter who is in 2nd grade – has a 1:00 lunchtime! CRAZY! While she has a snack around 11 am, I want to make sure that she’s not having to wait that long to eat.
The kids are responsible for feeding themselves (with us reminding them of course!). In order to make this work, I make sure to have food ready for them and milk or juice on a refrigerator shelf that they can access. Pre-made muffins, packaged muffins and fruit are the favorites among my little people.
The baby is a different story, my husband usually makes sure he eats at least fruit and has his milk. His sitter does feed him a full breakfast, but giving him a morning snack let’s us all enjoy time with him before the hustle and bustle. He helps make the mornings smiley!
2. Shower and Lay Out Clothes the Night Before – Including Yours!
Taking showers and laying out clothes the night before helps with the morning rush.
Having the kids’ clothes laid out the night before is essential for us getting out the door in time in the mornings. As part of the night time tuck-in routine, their clothes are laid on either the top bunk or on the side of the bed. This gives no excuse for delay in the clothes department! If socks are needed, those are laid out – as well as belts. We take showers at night, no time for that in the morning with our schedules.
As for myself, anytime I am headed to the office, I lay everything out the night before. ESPECIALLY pregnant, I find myself in a major rut when I don’t know what I am wearing ahead of time. This leaves me second guessing and that’s time I don’t have in the mornings!
My hair is extremely thick taking hours to self-dry and a good 30 minutes to blow dry, not including the flat iron. I take showers at night, sleep with wet hair and then flat iron in the morning. It only takes a few minutes for me to do. Again, another time saver for the morning rush! Plus the shower at night doesn’t have a time limit, unless you count bed time.
3. Backpacks and Shoes at the Door
Shoes and Backpacks are placed at the front door ready to pick up and GO!
Before being tucked in, the kids make sure their backpacks and shoes are at the front door ready to roll.
Both kids still need snacks for the morning, those are packed at night.
Any papers needing to be signed or homework we make sure is done the night before. Mornings aren’t our thing for that1
4. Require Shoes On & Hair Done Before Eating
Hair brushed, shoes on feet – before hitting the kitchen table for breakfast.[/caption]
My daughter has this amazing head of hair that goes down most of her back. The great thing is it’s beautiful. The bad thing is it must be brushed regularly! Before eating breakfast in the morning, she makes sure her hair is brushed and I help her beautify with either an accessory, braid or a ponytail.
My son sometimes spikes his hair, but for the most part, it just needs that un-bedhead look which requires a 60-second brush!
Shoes must be on their feet with their backpacks in hand at the kitchen table as they eat breakfast. By putting this little rule into place, we’re all set and ready to go should breakfast need to be cut short.
5. Be Loving & Graceful – but FIRM!
I love my kids to no end. While I would love to say I’ve never broken this rule, that’d be a flat out LIE! The stress of getting everyone to where they need to be on time is painful, but one thing I’ve learned and reminded myself of DAILY is that starting a day with yelling isn’t going to get things done any quicker. There is no point in working myself up and getting the kids even more upset on days that just aren’t happening like we need them to.
Make sure to tell your kids you love them. Hug them tightly. But stick to a schedule and encourage with love and grace. This will not only help your day get off to a great start but theirs as well!
Being a working mom can be hard. Remember, with the key is finding what works best for YOU and your family in regards to the work-life balance. Keep finding tips and tricks to ease your schedule. While it may not be perfect from an outside perspective, it’s all about what works for you!
Leave a Comment and Share Your Tips to Saving Time in the Mornings!
Not Traveling = Connecting With My Family
This work life balance thing with a family is NOT easy. One thing with my job is that I am often required to travel. I THOUGHT I had the traveling working mom bit down, even though I have 3 smallish children at home. Having a few months home without the hustle and bustle of the friendly skies – I am starting to realize that maybe I didn’t have it down as well as I thought.
Finding That Work Life Zen
After returning from maternity leave with my 3rd child last June, my season of travel for work picked back up. It was back to business as usual, making sure that my kids and husband knew I loved them – all while traveling back and forth to various places – exhausted. I found that I could shorten my work trips by taking the first flight out and the last flight home. Or if that wasn’t an option, I could take the first flight home in the morning, but all of those options left me as one VERY tired mom who wanted to be “on” for her kids and family – but ended up being asleep as soon as possible.
It’s been 3 months since I’ve been on a business trip. I haven’t had this much time at home in years and honestly can say I needed this. My 3rd trimester is right around the corner, and our event season at work doesn’t go into full swing until August. I am embracing this season of not traveling and connecting with my family in ways that I didn’t know I missed.
Finding the work life family balance is critical. Before my last business trip, I was tired and missing my family terribly. I am so glad we were able to work out the last business trip where the family could go with me. I attended SXSW in Austin and having family that had recently moved there the kids and husband were able to join me. Having my kids there after the long days meant the world to me. My son’s 1st birthday landed during the trip, I didn’t have to miss it. The kids were home for Spring Break so after each day at the conference we could go do something Austin and enjoy family time in our favorite city. I realized then that the quiet, empty hotel room with room service that I was loved, was actually overrated.
What I Have Noticed While NOT Traveling
My husband and I are in sync. Not that we’re not when I’m on the road, but I feel like I have time at home to be his wife and support system and am not always asking for help with this or that. As much as I prepare the kids for me traveling as possible, trying to make it as easy as possible for my husband – it just isn’t easy.
Being home more with my kids is great. Helping with homework that we can’t do over Skype, or even going thru their binders at night is something I never thought I would appreciate.
But of all things that I had no idea that was missing was the connection between my youngest and myself. While I’ve loved this little boy before he was even born, we had a rough start with many sleepless nights and a really bad bout of colic. Then throwing myself back into work, I feel like I missed a bonding time that we’ve now been able to establish. Each Thursday night, for the most part it is just me and Iza’s time. We get to hang out, connect and laugh. He had grown so close to my husband, I didn’t even realize why. Well, his mom wasn’t his primary care taker.
While I’m someone who tries to live with no regrets, I do believe in lessons learned. I need to make an effort to better balance my work travel with my family. There I said it!
It’s been a sweet season. I’m happy to be home, not racking up miles and enjoying the family and growing this baby. But when my travel season returns, I’m going to make sure to recognize all the needs that my family needs from a mom and address those with each booked trip. As a wise person once told me, it’s a marathon not a race to the finish. You have to pace yourself or else you will wear yourself out.
Do You Travel For Work? What Is The Hardest Part For You?
Being a working mom that travels is crazy. Life has been a whirlwind — and Denver, CO – I am sure you are a fabulous city, and I will see your face TOMORROW…. BUT first – I have to do a few things. This whole working mom who travels thing has me thinking. I’ve learned a few things since I travel so much, so why don’t I share some of these tips with you. Even if I can help just one mom settle her nerves, this blog was worth it!. So, I give you 5 travel tips for working moms.
5 Travel Tips for Working Moms
1. Write notes for your kids and husband and place in obvious and in obvious places.
My kids love finding these notes everywhere. It never fails when I talk to them at night… “Mommy, I love your note.” It’s a sweet way to remind each of them that though we are apart, I love them so much. For the husband who is having to handle it all – it’s a gentle reminder that I truly appreciate all he does.
2. Planning is everything.
I am so not a planner, but when traveling I HAVE TO BE. From where I am going to park (Park and Fly? Airport? Valet?) to an itinerary of the trip – it helps so much calm my nerves when I’m not home.
3. Great communication with your spouse is key.
My husband and I have a good relationship. That being said, sometimes communication isn’t always a strength of ours. Being a working mom that travels, I make sure that we are in full communication of what’s going on – from kids to my work trip. I make sure everything is well organized and he has an email from me containing everything he would need to know.
4. Back-up help is essential.
Having family able to help in the event that my husband works late or a kid is sick has been essential for me traveling. Fortunately, our kids’ childcare is near my mom’s house and my brother’s so in those “I NEED HELP!” situations, we have back-up.
5. Try not to stress being away from home.
It’s so hard for me to separate work life from home life when traveling, but you know what? I have to. I have a job to do and since this is what I am getting paid for and I KNOW my husband is wonderful with the kids, I need to let the stress go and try to make the best of the trip.
I hope these help someone, and hopefully that someone is YOU.children)
I don’t know what your pre-travel planning includes, but here is a glimpse of what I do before my typical 3-day weekend trips for Women of Faith.
- 3 days worth of clothes laid out for each of our 3 children.
- 2 days worth of snacks packed with notes for the kids’ backpacks
- All bottles sterilized and premade .
- Baby bag packed with bottles, diapers, spare outfits, wipes, Tylenol and chew toy. Yes, because like a dog our 6 month old likes to chew on things.
- Notes for the kids. I always leave them behind notes – obvious and hidden.
- Charge both work & personal iPhones, laptop and iPad.
- Laundry so I have something to wear, therefore allowing me the ability to (see next bullet)
- PACK! oh that little detail.
- Between this trip and the last my air card has gone MIA and I am going MAD, so find that.
- Review itinerary.
- Check in for flight.
- Get cash.
- Find luggage.
- PRAY for my husband’s sanity and my energy
- And SLEEP. Please Lord, I would L-O-V-E this one.
While mom travel means extra work for everyone, I am going to make the best of it.
Women of Faith Denver
I’ll be live tweeting and blogging the Women of Faith Denver event.
You can catch us over on Twitter at @womenoffaith – we will be tweeting with #wofIMAGINE.