A common dilemma that many women face is making a choice between career or a family. It is a double-edged sword - placing your job as a priority is viewed as selfish, and prioritizing family is seen as unproductive. The deep-rooted societal expectations of women being the primary caregiver for their kids (and to the elderly and in-laws in many cases) combined with the struggles of maintaining a sustainable work life balance make it daunting to be a working mother.
A good Work-life Balance is something that many people seek, yet is often challenging to achieve. Demanding work cultures, fear and pressure to meet work expectations, and technology pushing us to be accessible at any time have made it almost impossible to maintain a work-life balance.
Understand your Needs:
First, understand your needs and restrictions. Identify your priorities and what brings you happiness, and where you would like to give more of your energy. Next, map out your desirable timings that would work for you and what changes you would like to make, if any. Once you have more clarity, it will be easier to take steps to build a sustainable work-life balance.
Involve your Family:
Be transparent and communicate with your family to make them understand your goals. Encourage your family to join in with home-related tasks to ease your responsibilities. If you are worried that your children will feel insignificant, try to give your complete attention to them for at least a couple of minutes - even if it is just 5 minutes - during the day to make sure they know that you are still there for them.
Get into a daily routine and plan your time well. Little by little, build a pattern of habits to make it easier to fulfill your priorities. Furthermore, creating a daily routine will automatically convey your availability to your family and work team. For example, if you work from home and take your lunch break regularly at a particular time, your family will know they can spend time with you then, and your work team will also avoid scheduling tasks for you then.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself! Make sure you build a support system - these could be relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. Build a cordial and mutual relationship with them and reach out (and reciprocate!) for any help needed. A community can help in various ways - taking care of kids, handling emergencies, and even emotional support.
Structure your Work:
Try to adjust your work schedule to accommodate your personal needs. Flexible work timings and nurturing a team-based model to delegate the workload are some options. Focusing more on delivery-based tasks rather than time-based will also offer more flexibility.
Be vocal with your boundaries and explain your availability to your work team and family. Once you have communicated your needs, you can make arrangements with your team to accommodate any work past your comfortable timing. Similarly, plan your schedule such that your family needs will not interfere with your work calendar.
Finally, remember that change does not happen overnight. Rather than jumping into multiple changes, make a few smaller goals you can consistently work on.
Maybe you want to wake up earlier to help you establish a routine. Instead of suddenly waking up much earlier at a time you are not used to, try waking up 10 minutes earlier, then 20, and so on, and build from there. Rather than working on achieving a goal, work on creating sustainable habits for a healthier future.
About the Author
Meghana Ganesh is a Community Manager at Her Second Innings. She is a Computer Science Graduate with a passion for women’s empowerment and equality, and diversity hiring in organizations.
Her Second Innings supports women professionals on a sabbatical in their journey of getting back to work. The mission of HSI is to guide women to achieve financial independence. Support from HSI comes in the form of job interviews, reskilling programs in Automation and, free Career Guidance Counselling. Sign up with us and complete your profile to get a call from our counselors to know your job fit.
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