How To Have a Better More Balanced Life as a Working Mum

Creating a reasonable work-life balance can be tough, even when you're young, free and single.  Add a partner and kids into the mix and it becomes increasingly hard to find the delicate balance between pulling your weight at work and having a happy home life.  Read on for six tips that can help you to create a more balanced life both at home and at work.


Add in a hefty dose of working mum guilt and it's easy to feel like you're drowning.  But there are a few things that you should do both at work and at home to create a more balanced life.  We have lots of other tips on the blog for helping you to manage your time and create a better work-life balance, so look out for the links at the bottom of this post.

1. Create a Routine

Having a daily routine will make you less stressed about what you need to do each day at work, and helps you to prioritise tasks to make the most of the time you have.

Routines are great for home as well.  They let everyone know what’s going on and when, and don't forget your downtime too.  Don’t be afraid to schedule relaxation and fun into your routines, both for yourself and with the family.  Putting play time, family time and 'me time' into your calendar is a great way to make sure you all are able to relax and bond together.


2. Make a To Do List

One of the best tools to use at work and at home is to make a list of tasks based on priority. Prioritising your to do list allows you to get the most important things done and using a checklist allows you to see what you have achieved during the day.

Don't put more than 5 items on your to do list.  Not the every day stuff like 'Check email' or 'Load dishwasher' but bigger more important tasks that contribute to your longer term goals, a project you are working on, or your vision for your family life.


3. Ask for Help

The best advice I ever heard is that you can definitely have it all, but you can't do it all.

As working parents we cannot be in all places at once, either physically or mentally.  Ask your partner for more help, share school pick ups and drop offs with other parents, hire a cleaner or offload more tasks to your assistant.  Outsource what you can and concentrate on the things only you can do.

Someone else can do your ironing or clean your house, but they can't read stories to your kids during cuddle time, or take them for a wonderful walk in the woods on a spring day.  At least that should be you!  Look for tasks at work and at home that you can outsource, so you can have it all without trying desperately to do it all.


4. Work from Home

If you can work from home at least some of the time, it will make a huge difference to your life.  Without the distractions of the office a day's work can be crammed into a few hours and those hours could potentially be after the children go to bed or on a weekend morning when your partner is running them to swimming and football.

The freedom of working from home will give you some breathing room and show your boss that you can deliver what they need as well as being a parent.  This may make them more open to your future request for flexi-working or being able to finish early a couple of days a week.


5. Learn to Say No

Many of us think we don’t have the ability to say no at work.  This results in taking on too many tasks, working overtime, and being stressed about not being able to get everything done.  If there’s a job you know you won’t be able to get done or that you are not suited for, just say no.  You may be surprised at how well this is received by your employer.  Point out what you are doing already, or direct them to someone that could do it better and there probably won't be a problem.

It's vitally important to learn how to say no to social events and other things that will just add to your list of to dos, causing stress and anxiety too.  Maybe you have social obligations that are just too draining, or don’t allow you enough time with your family in the evenings.  Cutting other obligations and requests out will help you find balance.  And never feel obliged to be PTA mum on top of your other commitments, someone else can do it - and they probably have more time to bake than you do!


6. Communicate

Let your employer know what’s going on, for example, always let them know where you’re at on individual projects, if you’re going to be on time ahead of deadline or behind schedule. Communicating these vital elements to your employer will alleviate stress if you suddenly have to take a day off to care for a sick child or if your childcare lets you down in the school holidays.

At home, communication is essential.  Make sure everyone knows what is going on and ensure the family calendar is kept up to date with all events and occasions.

If your children are older, set a family meeting once a week to discuss upcoming events, stress points, things that may need planning and other elements of life that could cause problems if not well planned.  This simple act will help you find more balance between work and home, and help you feel more in control of both environments.

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