As a woman who has had 4 kids while managing a career I often get asked how I do it all. Of course the reality is it’s a juggle, I’m no different and I don’t get it right all the time. However here are my learnings along the way
Find a role model. I don’t just mean a working mum, but someone who’s situation reflects your own. I find many senior women in my organisation have stay at home husbands, or husbands who are not the primary bread winner. I am in a dual career family and I’m the primary carer, so I’m the one who rushes to pick sick kids up. It’s therefore important to me to look up to someone that I can identify with. For me that was Maggie Van’t Hoff then ask that person if they would be a mentor to you. Meet monthly, plan an agenda and use their experience to guide you.
Build your A team (thanks to my coach Amanda Davie for this one). Build a list of people that can support you in work and Home, identify what you need from them and let them know. For example I go to my trusted friend Nikki Moore for work and Home advice when I know I need to hear a hard truth.
Identify your Ikagai. This is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being." If you are able to find work that is aligned with this then you will find joy every day.
Plan your day. On my best days I use Franklin Covey time management. I need to get better at using it for my personal life too.
Be mindful. Again, on my best days I get up before the kids and have 5 mins using the Headspace app.
Outsource all of the jobs that you can afford too. I get food shopping delivered (I’ve found Morissons the most affordable with good service and use Ocado when I want a bit of luxury), I have a brilliant handyman (neither my husband nor I have time to change light bulbs, something that would stress us out, then I realised someone could help us, quickly and efficiently), I have a cleaner for as many hours that I can afford. This then means that precious family time is spent enjoying each other.
Prioritise the kids. I now attend all events, I used to be anxious about nipping out from work, however I make the hours up and I still get the job done well. I understand not all can do this & not all roles allow it, but speak to your manager and find your balance. The kids are only young for a short time.
Don’t be afraid to ask for flexible working. You may get a no - but if you don’t ask you’ll never know.
Be a role model to others, while you’re looking up, others will be looking at you to understand how you are managing. Be authentic, women can feel like they’re failing if it appears on the surface that you find it easy. There’s no shame in admitting it’s hard, in fact I think it’s empowering.
Make time for yourself and your partner if there is one, this one is often forgotten.
Thanks for reading and if you want to join the discussion, supporting and empowering women, come and join the The Career Mum Facebook group, currently at 1400 Global members. I would love to hear your tips and understand what I’ve missed.