Being a working mummy can be tough. Feelings of guilt and that constant dividing of your attention between work and family can get a mummy from cool and calm to stresshead crazy lady in minutes. So what is the key to finding that balance between the two jobs?
I am a mother of a very active, five year old boy who has karate club, football club, drama club and a social calendar that any celebrity would be proud of. I also run my own business, work for another company and I am in the process of starting a new venture. I haven't quite nailed the whole juggling mummy and work circus act and I'm yet to meet a woman who has. However when I'm on top of it I sail along that tightrope on my tiptoes with my head held high.
The first step is acceptance. Accept that children do come with restrictions and that certain parts of your life will never be the same. Don't look at this as negative, instead look at it as a positive and look for the opportunities that can be found.
An employed mother should be in, or if not should negotiate for flexible working hours so that she can ensure her balance between childcare and working is one that leaves her feeling good and not guilty.
Guilt is a common feeling in working mums. Guilt that you had to leave the office early to get to a ballet show and therefore your project isn't the best it could be. Or guilt because you cooked a lame dinner for your family as a result of you being late home from the office where you were on a roll. There is no need to feel guilty as long as you can separate the two things and give your full attention to the job in front of you.
Mums that work from home deal with the same guilt and sometimes even feel worse due to having to work on something whilst their children are in the house or even in the same room! Neither of these women need to feel guilty.
Be Organised. Be sure you use that diary and combine it with the calendar on your phone so that if someone asks you for a play date you can check there and then or if some one gives you a deadline you can pop it in. At the beginning of a school term take the time to update and sync the two together to ensure that they both carry the same information. At the beginning of the week go over both and give yourself an overview of the week ahead so you can start the week with clarity.
Schedule in when you are going to be working. Can you fit it in around childcare, nursery or school? Allow yourself to be able to be 'out of office' at certain times so you can enjoy your family.
Don't forget to make time for you too. Be sure you block off some time for exercise or reading or just laying in the bath with some music on - this is THE most important thing to have as if you are not at your best then the juggling balls will hit the floor.
Networking is so important for both business and motherhood and being a mummy gives you so many connections that you should be able to become Wonder Woman.
In the playground I have met artists, farmers, teachers, marketers, hairdressers, builders and gardeners! An eclectic bunch of human beings all practicing the same juggling act. Reach out to them and you will find support, business connections and friendship!
Use the fact that you are a mother as your motivation to not procrastinate. If you know you have to leave the office at 2:30pm in order to be on time for the school run then make sure you get that project finished by 2pm. If not then no big deal, you can finish it tomorrow because once you clock out it's mum time.
If you work at home and you know your baby is going to wake up in 30 minutes then don't put another episode on Netflix! Instead get what you needed to get done, done.
My biggest piece of advice is if you are not happy then change what you are doing. Don't spend your life being unhappy. It's not worth it. The key to keeping the balls in the air is you.
What do you want your children to say about you when they are grown? Keep that at the centre of your goals. Remind yourself that no one is perfect and you don't need to be perfect. Every mistake you make is part of the experience of being mum.
Now go out there and do something today that you and your children will look back on and thank you for.