The decision to become a mother is an exciting moment in life – but it can also be a time of difficult choices. How do you manage to find the right balance between being a mother, career, and family and be successful in everything? Sandra Myre, from the Clippednews team, who has a two-year-old son, reveals her best tips for mothers with small children.
1. Be organized and plan ahead
Avoid stress by planning as much as possible. Book business trips in advance and informs your partner and family when you need help and a babysitter. Ideally, I do my weekly shopping online or during my lunch break to avoid stress and to waste precious time in the evening because I still have to buy groceries. I also recommend packing everything in the evening and getting ready for what you need the next day – whether all the stuff for the daycare center, complete outfits or shoes, and bags right at the door. The better you plan, the less likely you are to be late or forget something important.
2. Align the work with your schedule
My way to work is quite long, and I bring my son to the daycare center on the road, so early meetings are very stressful for me. Either I call from home and then go to the office. I also work from home when I have initial calls to Asia to avoid additional stress. Indeed, I presented myself by telephone from the nursery parking lot in the morning – and no one notices. My tip: Always look for a practical solution. That is what I learned from my mother: if you are flexible and can make compromises, there is always a solution. So I’ m glad that my company has a working model that gives me a lot of flexibility and that helps working parents like me.
3. Sell flexibility as something positive
My boss trusts me, and I can organize my working day flexibly – I am happy to return that. Business trips on a Sunday, working in the evening and coming home late from business trips are no problem for me. As soon as my son is asleep, I become part of the team again and enjoy doing any urgent work. I am very grateful for this flexibility, which is why I am entirely open and flexible with my company.
4. Delegate tasks to other family members
My husband picks up our son from the nursery, so I don’t have to leave the office stressed out. That makes a huge difference for me. I can finish my work every day, then go home and enjoy my evening. It is also important to sometimes have time for myself – my husband is happy to take care of our son when I want to go out in the evening, date friends or have a beauty treatment with the beautician.
5. Hire a household assistant
Enjoy the time with your family and don’t spend it cleaning. It is essential for me to plan special times for myself and with my family in the evenings and weekends so that I don’t just spend them on annoying household chores. Working from home on Fridays is also very helpful. It allows me to pick up my son Ralph from the nursery and do some housework during my lunch break.
6. Arrange with colleagues
Both my boss and my team are very flexible and support me every day, so I don’t have to feel guilty. Appreciate your colleagues and don’t be afraid to ask for help or look for a new solution if things don’t go so well. All my colleagues know and love my son Ralph – that’s great! So he also gets to see where mum works. He loves meeting people inside and outside the office.
7. Trying not to have a bad conscience
In today’s world of work, you don’t necessarily have to be present in the office any longer. It is challenging to reconcile family and career. I often feel guilty that I am not at home and then feel guilty for not being at work. Don’t try to wear yourself out on both fronts. Be realistic and let people know what your work schedule is. Postpone and arrange your availability in advance. The same applies to your family. If everyone knows your table in time and you have planned everything well, you have already done a lot for your work-life balance.
I love being at work and enjoy and appreciate the time in the office with my colleagues. So why should I feel bad that I want to work?
8. Take your family with you!
Since my husband is independent and therefore very flexible, he often accompanies me on business trips. Of course, not every family has this luxury. I’m realistic and know that he can’t come on all tours. Recently, during a trip to Kenya, it was complicated for me to be away from my family for four days. Nevertheless, I love to travel and try to take my son Ralph on as many trips as possible so that he can have as much travel experience as possible in his childhood. I don’t want him to think that business trips are negative. He loves to discover new cities and meet colleagues, and I am pleased that he can be part of my daily work. So everything is in perfect balance.
9. Daycare start: Prepare yourself that you are always ill.
Returning to work after my maternity leave was the hardest part for me. I didn’t have enough time to get used to the Kita (8 weeks in Germany!), and it was hard to get back to work as Ralph was still at home. My husband took care of him and then took over the familiarization, which I would have liked to have done. Make sure that your child gets sick – very often gets sick – as soon as it goes to the daycare center and that you get everything your child has!
I’m a pretty healthy person, and I haven’t had a single day of illness in my ten years of work, but I’ve been infected three times in four months. What luck that I can work flexibly and in my home office. My recommendation: Make sure that you can get your child settled in at least two months before you return to work. So you both – you and your child – have enough time to strengthen your immune system.
10. Change things when you don’t enjoy them
One of the many skills I have acquired as a mother is a greater willingness to make decisions. Also, don’t think so long about a decision. You no longer have the time to weigh every decision carefully and every day presents you with new challenges. So if something is not going well in your job and you don’t find the right balance, then you shouldn’t be afraid to change it and talk to your boss. Maybe you can reduce your working hours or work in your home office. Don’t forget to have your skills confirmed, including those you acquired during parental leave. I think that being a 100 percent mother is a qualification to be proud.