The answer to how to balance your career and your family is surprisingly quite simple. State your purpose!
There is no magic easy button to help you perfectly balance your life and no long, lost super-hero serum that allows you to be everything to everybody all of the time. The true key to mitigating the chaos that is your professional and personal life is to define your boundaries and adhere to them. Without a verbal proclamation of what is generally accepted among your daily routine and likewise, those parts of your world that you aren’t willing to sacrifice, you can never define an appropriate system to stay on course and live a well-balanced life.
The mistake most people make is not giving credence to the “well of course I want that!” short list of life goals. We are quick to say “Of course I want to always put my family first!” but without any clear expectation of what that means, it’s really nothing more than lip service. You have to be deliberate when it comes to stating your purpose and priorities because anything other than a focused effort is quickly overlooked when the going gets tough.
It all starts with a clear vision of the life that you want. Picture it in your head down to the tiniest detail. For me, being able to challenge myself professionally and creatively is important, but my ultimate life vision is to be the mom that gets her kids off of the bus and is involved at school and never misses an opportunity to be with her kids. Once I had that picture in mind, it was time to outline what types of opportunities would help or hinder that. Anything that required heavy travel, long hours or high-level stress got axed. Family-friendly companies, flexible working environments and stable employment took a front seat.
When it comes to my professional life, I take advantage of all available resources. I’ve set limitations and boundaries on my time, have developed an efficient routine and workflow that allows me to accomplish a lot with a little. I delegate tasks and responsibilities at every opportunity and make sure I have the appropriate tools and technology to achieve quality results. Setting expectations for myself is just as important as defining expectations for my clients. The more I educate them as to what to expect when they work with me, the more empowered they are and the more understanding they are when I’m not available. Communication and transparency is key.
When it comes to my personal life, I try to keep things simple. Everyday life is an opportunity to engage my family. We cook meals together, clean together, and just enjoy being in the house together. Setting aside time to sit down and do puzzles, let the laundry wait to take on extra cuddles and just be silly keep us close. Everything doesn’t have to be a huge expedition. It’s the little things that count. Taking a moment to lay on the floor beside their little toddler beds while they fall asleep, early morning cartoons in mama’s bed, and asking them how their day went while we take a walk. Keep it simple. Keep it quality. I also delegate at home wherever I possibly can. I budget carefully so that I can afford to have someone clean my house and mow my lawn. These are luxuries, but so worthwhile when it means I have more time to spend with my children.
The best way to make sure you keep your focus on your purpose is to nominate an accountability partner. Mine happen to be my business partner and best friend. They know the life I have committed myself to and they are quick to remind me when I’m steering off course. Whether it’s a family member, a partner or even a professional, share that purpose with someone else so that you can be held accountable to that which you’ve stated. It’s easy to veer off in the wrong direction. Make sure you build the support system that can help you maintain that balance.
Accept that you’ll always be a work in progress. There is no one that truly has it all together. Don’t compare your journey to someone’s highlight reel. Celebrate the good days and forgive yourself for the bad ones. Achieving balance only comes when you commit to keep moving forward and don’t dwell on the past or when things just don’t go right. Pick yourself up, dust off and commit to doing better next time. If you keep doing this, before you know it, you’ll be closer to a well-balanced life than you ever thought possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Welcome to the chaos! I’m Katy, the writing Mama behind Chaos & Kiddos, a blog dedicated to helping working mothers claim a more manageable life as they seek to achieve balance and order in both the professional arena and their home lives. In between juggling twin toddler boys, a rowdy teenage stepdaughter, a handful of fish, a newly acquired snail, and one rescue pup as a single Mom, I also work full time in sales and run a boudoir photography business in Virginia Beach, VA.
When I’m not elbows-deep in kiddo crazy, you can find me behind the camera, teaching basic photography and small business management, or managing The Studio Hampton Roads. Yup, I’m one busy gal!
Call me crazy, but life is good. If you’d like to learn how to make life more manageable as a working mom, be sure to visit me on social media and subscribe to the blog! If you’re looking for a support system as a busy, working mom, be sure to join us at Working Moms United!
Make sure you stop by every Wednesday during October to read a guest post about balancing work and life. If you don’t want to miss it, subscribe to have the weeklynewsletter from Me Plus 3 TODAY delivered straight to your inbox!
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