4 Tips to Work/Life Balance (Parenting Edition)
Project Manager Lina Brda’s tips for finding balance as a parent at work.
It’s Sunday night. You’ve loaded the dishwasher, packed the kids’ lunches and bags for school, and folded the latest load of laundry. Now you can finally put your feet up and relax. But that isn’t always how it goes, is it? Instead, your mind is racing, thinking through the 8,000 things you need to accomplish this week. You have kids, presentations, chores, meetings, quality time with your partner/spouse, timelines, and self-care (if you even have time for that). How will you manage to balance all of this?
We’ve read all the articles and blogs about how to be the best parent we can be and how to not screw up raising our kids. We find the time to keep up with industry trends and continuously improve our work skills. We overthink whether or not our kids are getting enough bonding time with us. We also overthink whether or not people at work are annoyed with our interruptions and sometimes delayed responses. We wonder if the pandemic has made us better parents and coworkers or if everyone can see us flying by the seat of our pants some days.
I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read about work/life balance. About how to be a full time mom of two and be the best employee and coworker I can. How to not feel GUILTY all the time. Much to my dismay, what I’ve come to painstakingly realize is there isn’t just one answer that will solve everything forever. Work/life balance is just that. An ongoing balance between multiple important aspects of my life. I began to focus on specific things I’d read about in the moment when I needed them most rather than thinking about everything I should remember all at once.
So, my wonderful, hardworking friends, here are reminders I have to tell myself all the time. Even when I don’t believe them at the moment:
Stop apologizing. For your kids crashing work calls. For forgetting a conversation at work. For needing more time on tasks. For asking for help. It. Will. Be. Okay. I promise. Your kids are a friendly reminder of what is ultimately important. Your forgetfulness is not just because you have a million things going on in your head, but also because forgetting something just happens. Requesting more time on something doesn’t mean you are slacking off. It means you want to put additional thought into something so you are really giving it your all. Asking for help is never a flaw. It shows your awareness and your strength in wanting to do the best that you can. Think about what advice you would give a friend and give yourself that same advice. You’d remind them that they don’t need to apologize because there really isn’t anything to be sorry for.
Things feel hard because they ARE hard. It’s okay to admit when things are difficult. Both at home and at work. Things DO get hard. If things were always easy, we would be really bored. When things are hard, they challenge us to do better, push further, and grow. That doesn’t mean you have to have an answer or solution for all these moments. You can say those words and not feel ashamed. In fact, I think acknowledging when things are difficult, taking a deep breath is super helpful. It will allow you to mentally give yourself that much needed space to get you in the right mindset to move forward. Give yourself some grace. You’re doing the best you can with what you have.
Everything you need to get done, will get done. Trust me, I know long, never-ending lists. But those are not realistic. We place unnecessary pressure on ourselves when we set our minds to accomplish everything we can think of. If you’re anything like me, your lists get detailed. Create a collective list of all the things you want to get done and prioritize them in terms of what must get done, what would be nice to get done, and what can get done eventually. Walk into each week knowing that your attention and time would be best used if you focus on the few things rather than the full list. I know it’s so much easier said than done, but I promise you that just looking at the checked off list of the small number of big things you wanted to do will make you feel accomplished.
You are a rockstar. You are enough for your kids. You are enough at work. You’re doing the best you can and that’s all you could ever ask of yourself. Try to shift your focus from what is negative and focus on the positivity and your small wins. When you think of everything you’re doing on a day to day basis, the impact you are making at home, and the unique mindset you bring to work, you will see that you make a huge difference. Your co-workers and boss see your passion both in and out of the workplace. Your kids look at you and see the most wonderful person who loves them unconditionally. Even when some days it may feel like you need to work harder, remind yourself that what you’ve already accomplished is perfect. You work hard. You are a rockstar.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s a reminder I tell my kids every night before bed: You are amazing and don’t you ever forget it.