Whether you’re already a working mum or considering going back to work – here’s our golden rules for happier work-life balance
From letting go of guilt to delegating and taking time for yourself, we’ve come up with these working mum commandments.
At a glance
- Guilt achieves nothing, focus on the positives
- Delegate, you cannot do everything. Ask your partner to take over certain chores or family to help out
- Make time for yourself - It will help you stop feeling quite so overwhelmed
Thou shalt accept that mums are awesome
We all love our children and do our best for them. Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of worrying whether others are judging us, or thinking the grass is greener, we all just gave each other a virtual high five? Whether you’re a working mum because you want to be or because you have to be – you’re awesome because you are doing what’s best for you and your family.
Thou shalt understand the grass is not always greener
From time to time you might feel a flash of envy for stay at home mums (and they might sometimes feel the same of you), but motherhood is absolutely not about who envies whose situation or decision and none of us would want mums to ever feel set in opposition to one another. Occasionally, if these flashes strike it might help to take a moment to think about the financial, social and professional merits.
Thou shalt tell guilt to ‘do one’
Working mums can feel guilty that they’re not spending enough time with their family or that they are working less hours than their colleagues. Or both! The worst thing about guilt is that it achieves absolutely nothing. The best thing about guilt is that, because it is self-inflicted, you can learn to stop feeling it. Put the word guilt into Google and you will see hundreds of self-help books and articles. Talk to your friends, family and colleagues about how you feel and take their reassurances on board.
Thou shalt delegate
If you have a partner, it’s worth having a conversation about dividing the chores more evenly. Do this proactively by setting some time aside and thinking about specific tasks, rather than reactively by shouting when there are no clean socks. You may need to be prepared to take the lead on this rather than expecting your partner to ‘notice’ things that need doing.
Thou shalt take some time for thyself and feel good about it
And we don’t mean once a year! Many working mums put vast amounts of energy into both their work and family lives. If we’re not careful, we end up with no time for ourselves. Schedule in a little time for you. And don’t ruin it by feeling guilty or checking your phone every five minutes. You’ve earned this – so enjoy it!
Thou shalt have realistic expectations of thyself
We’d all love to have an immaculate, harmonious home, look glamorous and crochet our own Christmas decorations but in reality this isn’t always possible. Congratulate yourself for the successes rather than beating yourself up for the ‘failures’. So you haven’t dusted in three weeks but – guess what – you’ve been going to work and helping your daughter learn to read! You’re awesome.
Feeling nervous about getting back into the working world? Check out our Confidence Boosting Tips. Considering your options? Check out our advice on flexible working and working from home.