The Realities And Challenges Of Balancing Work With Motherhood
Returning to work after you’ve had a baby can be a daunting experience. Having a child alters many aspects of yourself and your priorities which can impact your work and vice-versa. Yet, these changes don’t have to be negative. Much to the contrary, motherhood can help you develop valuable skills that can allow you to become a better worker. Ultimately, the question remains how can working moms achieve a successful work-life balance?
Set Realistic Expectations
Women are well aware that there is added pressure once you have had a baby. There is a constant fear that you may be passed over for a promotion or a project you may have been given prior to becoming a mother. Ultimately, this results in working mothers feeling the pressure to prove themselves when they are back at work, including taking on more work or overtime to prove they can still excel at their job.
In reality, finding balance between motherhood and work requires realistic expectations to be set. You need to be open and honest about what you need and the challenges you are facing. Suggest new ways forward which offer you greater flexibility so that you can perform better in your job (and as a mother). Not only will this show you are committed to your job, but that you are also actively engaged in trying to find ways to be more productive.
Be Bold And Brave
A hurdle many working mothers often need to overcome is the assumption that because they are mothers, they are unable or uninterested in taking on more challenging roles, projects or work which involves travel. Whatever your ambitions are as a worker, don’t be afraid to voice them. Rather than simply allowing assumptions about your availability or career interests to be made for you, communicate these to your leaders. Be bold and brave by putting yourself forward for projects you would like to be involved with.
The skills that you learn and develop as a mother can often help you to grow in your work too. Mothers are skilled at multi-tasking, being organized and efficient. As such, mothers can be extremely productive within their set working hours and more focused as a result. They also develop important skills in decision-making and assertiveness.
Say Goodbye To Mom Guilt
With all the focus upon trying to prove yourself as a worker, it’s easy to let mom guilt creep in. Instead, decide to ditch mom guilt. Rather than feel guilty about not spending time with your child, think instead about the value of your work to your role as a mother. Not only are you providing for your child, but you are also becoming an inspiring role-model for them.
Share The Responsibility
An important skill to learn early on is to ask for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to share the household responsibilities and chores, especially if you both work.
Share the childcare with your partner, not only to allow you to complete work but also to factor in some rest and break times for yourself too. This will allow you to enjoy time with your child more fully, whilst also giving you a chance to recharge and look after your whole well-being.
Being a worker and a mom are two demanding jobs. You won’t always be able to do them both perfectly, but learning to accept that being good enough is just as good as ‘perfect’ is an important attitude to develop.
In order to succeed as a working mom, you need to be flexible and open to continuous adjustments to meet different needs as they arise. There will be limitations to what you can do, but rather than be defined or limited by them, embrace them. Accept your limitations and learn to work with them and around them.
Although there are challenges throughout the journey, being a working mom is an achievement in itself. Remember to make time to celebrate the wins and achievements, however big or small. Chances are you’ll find that you’re a lot stronger than you thought.
Helen Davis is a marketing specialist, working at Academic brits. She works closely with companies and brands of all sizes, helping them to develop greater understanding of what sells by analysing market data at local, regional and national levels. Helen is a firm believer that hard work leads to success.