Tuesday, January 09, 2018

5 tips for mega moms: How to keep the work-life balance in your favor

I've been a working mama for more than 7 years. I can't see myself not being one, to be honest. I enjoy working. Sometimes I dream of taking a long break—maybe 6 months to a year of just being a housewife and see if I take to it, you know? But I like it that there's a part of my life that is separate from motherhood. I know a lot of moms work because they have to provide for their family. That's one of my biggest reasons for working, too. But I'm also lucky to actually enjoy what I do. I don't enjoy deadlines and enduring the traffic and staying up late at night writing, but I've adjusted my attitude towards the unpleasant parts of my career so that I can continue appreciating the work that puts food on my table and my sons in a good school.

From 2013 to this day, my constant work companions: my kids, their toys, my coffee.

You see, that's the dilemma that many working mothers face. You need to work but you also want to be with your kids. You love your job but you feel crushing guilt when you're missing family time. You want to have it all but when you're just too exhausted, then is it all worth it? Well, after 7 years of triumphs and failures, I have a few thoughts on how to make this work-life balance work.

First things first: There's no such thing as work-life balance. The sooner you get that into your head and accept it, the happier you'll be!

Balance means everything is equal. That means literally giving everything the same amount of time and energy. Let's divide your 24 hours, mama. You need to be a wife, a mom, a career woman, a friend, a homemaker, and yourself. You need to sleep, too. That would mean 3 hours being with your husband, 3 hours with your kids, 3 hours at your job, 3 hours having lunch with friends, 3 hours cleaning the house, 3 hours at the spa, and 3 hours of sleep. Plus at least 3 hours in traffic, of course. Sounds ridiculous.

What you just need to know is everything has a time. It's time for lunch, then eat. It's time to sleep, then sleep. It's time to work, then work. It's time to go home and have dinner with your family, then for heaven's sake go home and eat dinner with your family, put the kids to bed, and spend some time with your husband. Easier said than done, I know. I'm still figuring it out myself because once I get a schedule working, my life changes—kids suddenly don't have classes, husband has a new job, my deadlines suddenly moved earlier—and so I have to re-organize and re-prioritize. It's constant juggling!

Huge perk of bringing my kids to work: Celebrities I interview warm up to me fast!

I've learned a few things about keeping this working mama life enjoyable, though. Here are five and I hope they help you:

1. Don't multi-task.
So how to juggle? I don't believe in multi-tasking, mamas. I believe in focusing at what or who is on front of you. Yes, that's my first tip. Focus on the task or the person in front of you, take care of it, then move on to the next. When you're running all over the house, answering emails while cooking lunch and changing diapers, you won't feel in charge, you'll feel like a disaster. So focus focus focus!

2. Make a family schedule.
A family calendar is a must for every busy family and is especially useful for family groups where a parent has returned to work or school. No more forgotten appointments or inability to organize family time or date night. There are plenty of calendar apps available for download, some for free. I'm a bullet journalist. Yep, nothing like pen and planner! My husband has a white board calendar on the back of our bedroom door.

I'm the social calendar keeper in my home—pedia check-ups, play dates, kiddie parties, family visits. My husband takes care of the financial calendar—when bills are due, when they're paid, what checks are expected. I've now put a calendar in my kids' room, too, so they're aware of important dates. It's really helped everyone stay on top of (instead of buried under) their lives!

3. Ask for help.
This I know for sure. Everyone calls me a supermom because I have three little boys, juggling many jobs, and no household help. Let me tell you something—I feel like a failure most of the time! And I also realized one thing: I earned more and was happier when I had household help. My life now is not impossible because I'm obviously making it work, but is it easy? Nope.

Spare time for working mamas, if can even you find spare time, is so precious. School and work aside, there is a considerable chunk of time taken doing seemingly small chores and activities that can take time away from your family. Cleaning, meal prep, personal admin, these can all take time away without you thinking twice. There are some simple ways to regain those marvelous minutes.

Cook and freeze meals on the weekend to be eaten together during the week, or you can order meals from Harvest.ph. Use ride-sharing services like Uber so that you can answer emails on the way home. Hire a cleaning service like Happy Helpers to come in once per week.

You know what works in my family? Everyone chips in. My husband does chores. No such thing as "domestic duties are for women" BS in our home! All the children have a task to do—packing away, making beds, setting the table, cleaning the car, sorting the laundry, cooking. Don't think you can do it all yourself. You can have it all but only if you don't do it all. You can quote me, mamas.

4. Make time for you.
When you are tired, both physically and mentally, you will be less inclined to sit and enjoy family moments. This is why I know I need household help, mamas! I'm always so cranky and mean when I'm tired. Guess what? I'm always tired! But this year, with the youngest boy finally weaned and my two older boys in school, I now have a little time for myself and my mood has improved a little.

Taking care of yourself can be as simple as eating. Yes, mamas. Don't forget to eat! Something as simple as a yogurt or banana is excellent if you're too busy to eat anything else. This year, I am so grateful because I can now take baths again. I don't have to rush through my showers anymore because the baby is crying, and that is a big deal! I also get a mani and pedi once a month or a massage as I wait for my kids to be let out from school. I have also gotten more sleep since my youngest stopped breastfeeding. I'm so happy! From 4 hours of sleep since 2010, I now sleep 6-8 hours! This is monumental for me! This 2018, I've started doing 10 minutes of exercise every day, and I'm hoping I won't just become a stronger and healthier mother but that those endorphins will also make me a more cheerful one.

5. Never stop learning.
Sometimes, you really just have to accept you can't have a normal job and have a fantastic family life at the same time. Many moms I know had to quit their jobs and started a career from their home. They became real estate agents, insurance agents, freelance writers, graphic designers, artists, makeup artists, and bloggers. Sometimes, it's the other way around. You haven't been employed because you devoted 5-10 years to your kids and now they're all in school and you want to go back to work. What to do???

Whether you're going back to work, quitting your job, want to start a business, or planning to work from home, you can still be a mega working mama by learning a new skill that can help you become better at your job or propel you to a new career. The best part is technology makes it possible for you to do this from home or on your spare time! You can sign up for the Master Class courses (the ones taught by celebrities!), attend workshops (like the Boss Bellas ones I do with Manila Workshops), or enroll in online MBA AACSB accredited courses. 

At a photo shoot with two kids in tow. Possible but not easy! Still, I'm grateful for my life!

When you're a working mama, you'll likely feel tired and overwhelmed. Your family won't always be as supportive as you need them to be as they struggle to adjust to your new job or the ever-changing demands on a working mother. But your work is not just for putting food on the table, it's also for your personal happiness, so don't ever think you're not being a good mother just because you have a career and are overwhelmed. You can do this, mamas! 


*This post contains paid links.

7 comments:

  1. I so agree that there is no such thing as work-life balance. Work is part of life, not separate. So it is all about priorities.

    Great tips here by the way ��

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can have it all but only if you don't do it all. I love this :) And sending hugs your way and a prayers you will have a yaya soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Naiyak ako! Haha. All these resonated. Last year was the beginning of my WAHM journey and I haven't really adjusted 100% yet. I also am having frequent mood swings because of tiredness, I felt sorry for my babies sometimes for being harsh. These are great tips, as always, Ms. Frances! Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes I agree on that mommy, balance means equal, minsan mahirap lang pero syempre kelangan pagdaanan dba po? and you need to know how to do it :) plan plan plan :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gusto ko yung focus what is on front of you. Ganitong ganito ako sa bahay, gusto ko kung ano ang ginagawa ko tatapusin ko muna bago ako gumawa ng panibago. Kasi pag pinasabay sabay magulo at parang wala ka tlgang matatapos. Time management lang din tlga.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I learned the hard way. I worked at home since June. Like you, I cannot find a yaya for my son. I thought being a multi-tasker is good for me. I easily get burned out and found myself being lost. I need constant reminder of my progress. Last week I got exhausted and got sick too. I dropped everything and take a break. I slept a lot. I accept that I am no superwoman but I can be an awesome wife/mom/woman for myself and for my family one step at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's hard to be a SAHM but it seems even harder when you are a WAHM. You need to juggle roles and do tasks while making sure you still take care of yourself so you'll have the strength to care for the ones you love.
    I agree that you ask for help and delegate tasks to hubby and the kids. It's also a way of teaching them some important values in life.
    I also think that writing down in a planner or journal all the important things that you must remember helps so you will not miss important events and obligations. Sobrang makakalimutin ako at minsan ulyanin na. I found myself almost putting my daughter's rubber shoes in the microwave oven and the kettle inside the ref. Kaya yun mga importanteng bagay inililista ko talaga.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for dropping by my blog! It really means a lot that you spare the time to read... and comment!