Think back to when you were in your 20s. If you were anything like me you had a
BIG VISION to change the world and become the next Oprah Winfrey - more to
the point, you knew you could do it and nobody would stop you!
THINK AGAIN... TICK TOCK TICK TOCK your maternal clock kicks in and
before you know it, you have a couple of kids and a gorgeous husband at home,
and life is no longer your own. The vision you once nurtured now appears
compromised by the 'WORK/LIFE balancing act' that nobody prepared you for.
The question is can you change the world and still be home for dinner with the
kids? If Sheryl Sandberg can do it, so can the rest of us.
It's all very well kicking it at work, but feeling miserable when you miss your kids'
parent evenings can leave you feeling flat about the day's achievements. So in
the end you have to ask who wins?
However, fear not, because if you really want to change the world and still be
home for the kids, I believe there is a formula. Implementing an invisible weighing
scale that measures out the balance of your week will help to make sure that you
are levelled out on both sides of your work and life balance.
Whether you are the owner of the business or working for someone else, there
must be ground rules in place so that everyone knows how you measure out your
Here are some golden rules for working mums who still crave the work life
balance you always dreamed of...
1. Putting work in your life's balance
Know what balances you need in your life - if it is four days a week and Fridays
off plus being home for 6pm to put the kids to bed then acknowledge that, and
own it. Most working parents I know take their laptops home and on the odd night
work a late shift from 8pm until late to clear the day's incomplete workload. What
if it is not about the hours at your desk, but rather it is about the projects being
completed. How you make that happen should be on your own clock as opposed
to the one that hangs in the office.
2. Friends in the right places
It always helps having a friend at the school gate who's always clued up on
all the dates for the school activities are, and then make sure you put them
in your diary so that everyone in the office can see them - Memo in Google
drive: 'Leaving work at 4pm in 6 weeks time' gives everyone plenty of notice. My
friend Fiona is a school 'must-have' for any working mum!
3. Brain Holiday
Holidays are a must in the diary and a #brainholiday is a necessity for any
woman who requires space for creative thinking, as well as quality time with the
kids. The world continues to spin when I take the month of August off, so ensure
parameters are in place, which mean if you leave your business for any period of
time, it will stay standing. Make yourself available mornings and evenings so that
you can make your calls and clear the decks. That way your mind can be on the
kids and creative planning for the rest of the day.
4. Partnerships unite
Having a partner at home and good co-worker to have your back creates
space for you to be both a working mum and a parent. There needs to be an
understanding, both at work and at home so that when the weighing scale tips
more one way, or the other, both your partner and co-worker will support you in
your quest for success.
5. Live out your Passion
In my little book of rules, I have always said that when work starts to feel like
a job it is time to get out. I ask myself a question to help keep myself in check
when I start to moan, "WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?" How am I going
to change it? Being a mother of two, I feel that if I am going to be away from
my kids for any period of time, then I should be working on something that I am
passionate about. That way, as they grow up, they get to see me happy and
passionate about the work I do, doing what I love and be a part of that side of my
Whether you are working for someone else or running your own business, it is
most important to stake a claim on the life you want to lead and to stay focussed
to make it happen. It is no good living a life you don't want to live, since I find
that the only person who loses out is normally you. It is always hard to juggle - I
can't imagine that any man or woman find it an easy task, but I will say that the
sooner you find a way to be content both at work and home, the easier it will be
to change the world and enjoy your kids as well.