Things I’ve Learned While Attempting to Balance Motherhood and Career
I am not a mom blogger nor is this a mom blog, but I am a mom. I’m also a working mom. I’m mom who enjoys being fulfilled by a multitude of things. And for those of you who are also moms I’m sure you feel the same way to some degree. I don’t believe that just one avenue of life defines you. Stay-at-home moms, working moms, single moms (dads too) all have their ways of getting by and then some. We all share the same responsibility of raising these tiny humans we’ve brought into our families. In my case, I’m a working mom who’s trying to achieve a collection of goals I have set for my family and myself. I am choosing this working mom lifestyle and I’m grateful I have the opportunity to still pursue other my hopes and dreams. I want to show myself and more importantly my kids that you can have it all but that it takes effort (and a lot of coffee). I know there are times I’m getting it all done and other days I’m failing hard, but I’m trying. We’re all trying.
While I purse my career-minded goals I’ve learned a few key things that have helped me balance motherhood with those goals in mind.
P.S. I’m still learning, send help.
Help – Accept It Where Available
Asking for help can sometimes feel like an admission of failure but guess what, it’s not. Why do you think people say it takes a village to raise a child because it truly does take a Whole. Damn. Village. Just like your company or business likely does, you have a body of people all working toward the same goal, supporting you and working with you. When you have the proper support system in place at home to make your 9-5 possible things just run a little smoother all around. If you have family close by, utilize them if possible. If you have the means, look into getting some additional support for after school hours. We started using a service called Sitters Made Simple about a year ago. They handle all the back end vetting and set you up with candidates to meet. Having those days I know I can work late, meet up with a friend or sneak in some me-time is a total game changer. A shared calendar also helped our family out so my husband and I can communicate quickly on who needs what and when. Bottom line: Ask for what you need, and if people offer to help, accept it. There’s no medal for being the mom that can do it all.
Let Go of What You Can’t Control
This includes guilt. Let go of the guilt for getting extra help, the guilt for missing a moment at home, the guilt for making time for yourself, your partner and friends. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once. There are a lot of things in life you can control but a lot more you can’t in the child-raising realm. In the workplace, deadlines get moved up, people quit, the list goes on and you figure it out. Just like when your kids get sick and need to be picked up early from school, you do what you need to do to get by and move on. You can’t help extenuating circumstances but you can control your reaction. Fix what you can and move on – you can’t control it all. Working and motherhood don’t always go hand-in-hand so know that to do both you’re going to have to let some things go. Try and control the here and now, what’s in front of you; plan ahead when you can but don’t forget to give yourself some grace and know that you’re trying, you’re doing it, you’ve done it before. You’ve got this.
Acknowledge What You Need for You
This is so important whether you’re a mom or not. Call me selfish but I love time alone. I once heard someone say that moms with young kids live for time alone and moms with older kids can’t wait to have their kids back around. Judge if you so choose but I agree with this on so many levels. I utilize working out as a way to gain some alone time and as a device to help cope with my anxiety. I know I have it and I know sweating it out helps me. I’m more productive, more confident and more energized after that time. I’ve acknowledged what I need for me. It’s easy to put everyone else in front of yourself and a lot of being a mom is just that - putting everyone else’s needs before yours. But when you have a job and mile long mom-list and nothing for yourself, things don’t end well. You get burnt out and are exhausted on another level because you’re consistently trying to get back on track. Also make time for your partner. Keeping your relationship healthy is part of what you need for you. Work will be there, home will be there with your support system, so take a beat for yourself. You’re worth it and need it.
We can make time to plan all the things but at the end of the day you have to be flexible with both work and kids. Take life as it comes and if you don’t like what you see, make that needed change at the right time. Know once you have kids things rarely go how you envisioned. Roll with life’s curve balls and don’t stress on things not going in line with your perfect plan. Sometimes the derailment of your plan can lead to the best memories.
I’m still learning and growing as a mom and as a person. Just because you’re in one new chapter of life with a family does not mean another chapter ends. If I can leave you with one thing let that be that you can try all you want to have the perfect healthy balance but at the end of the day you may have better luck finding the healthy imbalance of it all to make your career and family goals achievable. Don’t let yourself fall into those stereotypes of what you think you should be doing. What you need to be doing is most likely already what you’re doing: working hard, chasing your dreams, and loving your family hard. Everything else in life is a bonus.
Ashely Van Nuck is an HR professional and married mom of two boys and two fur babes. She’s originally from the west coast but made Nashville her home years ago and hasn’t looked back. She enjoys sweating it out in a group fitness class or finding time alone with a book to recharge her batteries for life’s next big adventure.