5 secrets from The Confident Mother to balance work and life – Birds on the Blog

5 secrets from The Confident Mother to balance work and life

The one thing I notice when I talk to mums who work, is that we all struggle to confidently balance work and life. It doesn’t seem to matter whether ‘work’ means career or business. For some of us, the struggle is every day, all day. For most of us, how we manage that balance – or blend – of work and life varies day-to-day depending on our current work or family commitments.

Why do we struggle to balance work and life

The answer is different for every woman. Partly it’s our culture. Study after study reveals the startling facts that women do more (house)work than men. On average, women in employment earn less than men. Women are more likely to work part-time but also women are more likely to have lower paid jobs. In June 2015 The Telegraph reported on a study published by MenCare. Guess what, women DO carry more of the burden.

It’s not surprising then that working mums struggle to balance work and life.

But that can’t be the only reason …

It is hard because we are trying to do too much.

Having it all

Often, we are trying to do too much because we want to have it all. After all, that’s what we see in the media, on TV, in magazines – women beautifully dressed, sexy, confident, with charming children, eating a healthy breakfast, driving a pristine car with the wind gently blowing our hair …… yeah, right.

In reality, the house is untidy and messy, there’s a pile of ironing on the settee, this morning’s breakfast bowls are still on the table, the car floor is covered in car park tickets and crisp packets, the children are squabbling over the remote control …

And sometimes it’s not that we’re trying to ‘have it all’ just that nobody told us it’s ok to not be perfect. Maybe it is possible to have it all, but probably not all of the time.

5 secrets to confidently balance work and life

Let’s look at the secrets shared by inspirational mothers and prominent experts in The Confident Mother on how we can confidently balance work and life.

1 – You do not need to be perfect

If you set yourself up to be the perfect mother with the perfect work-life balance, you are setting yourself up for failure.

As I wrote at the beginning of The Confident Mother, it is impossible to be perfect:  “… whose ‘perfect’ would you be? Your ‘perfect’ will be different to your children’s ‘perfect’ which will be different to your mother’s perfect. Perfection as a mother is impossible to attain.” 

Superwoman is a caricature. She does not exist. So don’t even try.

The evidence shows us that a good enough mum really is good enough. We don’t even need to be a good enough mum all the time, just some of the time is enough for our children to develop into well-rounded, emotionally mature adults.

2 – Identify what is most important to you?

In reality, you can’t have it all but you can have what’s important.

Focus on what’s most important to you as a working mum. What is the work-life balance that feels right for you? How do you want your children to look back and remember their childhood? Don’t worry about how others may judge you. Do what is right for you. For me, it is important to have a home-baked cake at birthdays. For another mum, it might be really important to always be at the school gates.

Work out YOUR priorities and your values, and pay attention to those first.

3 – It’s ok to accept help

In our bid to have it all, very often, and illogically, we refuse to accept help from others (even though that might allow us to have it all). Or we complain like mad when somebody doesn’t do things the way that we would have done them. How important is it? Is that what you’re going to look back on when you’re an old lady sitting in her rocking chair?

Accept help when offered. Don’t see it as a sign of weakness, instead see accepting help as a sign of strength.

You are accepting help so that you can be a better mum and balance work and life more confidently.

4 – Look after yourself

It is essential to look after yourself through compassion and kindness. Forgive yourself (and others) when you make mistakes. Find ways to manage the overwhelm. Do small things and take ‘me’ time. ‘Me’ time is a necessity, not a luxury. How are you going to look after others if you don’t look after yourself first? There are loads of fabulous ideas on this theme in The Confident Mother, including insights from experts including Lucinda Button, Toni Brodelle and Julia Harris.

Find what works for you: – take a nap, eat chocolate, go for walk in the woods, practice meditation, do moderate exercise, or take a proper lunch break.

5 – Permission to say no

Do you do too much because you are trying to please everybody else first? Take time to think about what is most important to you and focus on that first. You do not need to say yes to everybody else. It is ok to say no and to set boundaries on what you will and won’t do.

In conclusion

Yes you are not alone if you are a working mum who sometimes struggles to balance or blend work and life.

It is easier when you remember that you do not need to be perfect, focus on what’s most important to you, accept that it’s ok to receive help, look after yourself with love and kindness, and give yourself permission to say no.

These 5 secrets from The Confident Mother can have a big impact on how you cope with the day-to-day pressures, so that are better placed to balance work and life. Just give one a try.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or stuck and would like some help with how to confidently balance work and life, let’s talk. Sometimes a simple conversation is all you need.

About the Author Sherry Bevan

It can be hard to balance career and family. Sherry helps ambitious women get clear on what they really want, then find the confidence to do it. If today's the day, you want to put your head in your hands and cry, know you are not alone. Why not check out these tips on how to cope with overwhelm. Coach | Author | Speaker | Dog sitter

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