Work-life balance is not a noun. Every day, I strive to find a balance between managing the demands of being a mom to my 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter while dealing with the pressures of being the Director of Merchandising. Here are a few of my tricks to maintain some semblance of sanity:
- Create a joint Google calendar with your significant other to prevent unnecessary conflicts – let technology be your friend. I know not to schedule a dentist appointment if both kids need to be at birthday parties at the same time.
- Create a running list on your phone for easy reference. Every time I run out of anything, I quickly grab my phone and add it to my food shopping list. When I am actually shopping, I delete the items as I go and ensure I keep a good supply of the fundamentals, including eggs, cheese, chicken, rice and beans, to make those easy last-minute meals. I also use my phone’s notes section to create lists such as “Gifts to Buy” as well as “Kids’ Activities” for a quick summary of important upcoming events.
- Plan ahead. Make lunches the night before and have your work bag ready to go. Mornings are hectic enough without the added stress.
Say No Sometimes
- Evaluate the consequences. Will my mother-in-law really stop talking to me if I bring store-bought cookies to the Father’s Day BBQ instead of homemade? Doubt it. They’re aging and need me.
- Evaluate the impact on future career opportunities. Can I skip the last day of a three-day conference to get home sooner when all I’ll miss is a golf tournament? Yes, take the earlier flight. In my case, playing golf may actually hurt more than help my career.
Make Time for What Matters
- Eat dinner as a family every night. Growing up, I ate with my family for breakfast and dinner, so this is really important to me. I leave work by 5:30pm and am with my kids during dinner, homework and hangout time until 9pm. I go back online to work when the kids are sleeping. To ease the pressure of cooking every night, I give myself a mid-week break with Wednesday pizza night. If it has been a particularly stressful week, I also order eggplant parmesan knowing nobody else likes it and I don’t have to share!
- Saturday night is date night. I make sure I have sitters in the hopper to spend uninterrupted time with my husband every week. Hoping to make 15 years of marriage turn into 50 years, we need to spend well-deserved grown-up time together.
- Plan girls’ night. Once or twice a month, I go out with my gal pals for a much-needed glass of red wine and good conversation. If those glasses could talk…
Have the Right Partner
I don’t think I could manage my life without having a husband who has the work flexibility to be available for our kids before and after school and happens to like cleaning and helping out with dishes and laundry. Finding the right partner is something that really resonated with me from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In”.
Even after following my own advice, I still struggle with the fundamentals like everyone else. I don’t exercise or sleep as much as I need or want to, but I do dedicate time to my top priorities and juggle it all the best I can. Finding the right balance is a challenge each and every day but is one that I welcome!
[Written while getting my hair colored —that says it all.]
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