There are many definitions of work/life balance out there and even more books written to tell you how to achieve it. However, I believe that each mom has a unique work/life balance and only she can define what it is in her own life.
While all moms share in the struggle to balance everything in their lives- what each mom balances varies. Whether you work outside of your home, run a home based business or have made homemaking your full time career; the need exists to discover how you can successfully tackle each day while maintaining your personal well-being and enjoy your life!
Defining your personal approach to balance involves a few key areas:
- Understanding your preferences (particularly related to work, stress management, and time management)
- Knowing your core values
- Accepting that balance is not achieved over night and it is fluid, ever changing
During this three part series on work/life balance, we will take a look at each of these key areas, beginning with understanding your preferences.
Most moms are involved in activities outside of her family, whether it is paid employment or volunteering. The question to explore when considering work/life balance is whether the outside commitments stress you out and leave you drained at the end of the day or do they give you energy? The answer to this question can certainly shed some light on how these commitments influence your role as a mother and whether or not you are achieving a sense of balance or harmony. In order to make informed choices about which outside activities to involve yourself in, it is worthwhile to understand some of your basic personality preferences.
We all have preferences that we are naturally drawn too. Our preferences influence all areas of our lives from how we organize our closets to the type of work we choose to pursue to how we like to manage our time. Understanding and respecting our natural preferences can guide us in making choices that will serve to enhance our lives versus making things a greater challenge. Finding the right fit is everything!
When seeking to find balance between work and motherhood, mothering is the job you can’t quit. When considering outside commitments, consider your role as a mother. What parts of mothering are most exhausting for you? You don’t want to make outside commitments that will drain you in these same ways.
Let me offer an example. Last week I shared with you how the preference for introversion versus extraversion influences where you get your energy. As an extravert I gain the majority of my energy from interacting with my peers, unlike the introvert who is energized by time alone. For many extraverts, myself included, one aspect of mothering that feels most daunting is being at home and feeling cut off or isolated from the rest of the world. Understanding this preference should then influence what activities to engage in outside of the home. Choosing to work in an environment where I am alone with limited interaction with peers is only going to leave me feeling drained. Consequently, I return home depleted of all energy because I did not have the opportunity to engage with others. However, if I choose to work in an environment that allows me to connect with others I will leave work feeling energized and ready to for my family responsibilities. The work you choose needs to compliment you as a mother by providing you with an opportunity to do the things you don’t or can’t do at home.
I encourage you to spend some time noting your preferences. Exercise your self-knowledge muscle and ask yourself “who am I and what do I want” and really listen for the answer. Be willing to honor your preferences.Remember, there is no right or wrong way to be and every mother experiences aspects of mothering that are rewarding and that are exhausting, no mother enjoys all parts of it and that is not only ok, that is normal!
In part two of this series we will take a look at how core values influence achieving work/life balance.