The balancing act facing working moms in the 21st century is as real as it’s ever going to get.
Natasha Kisten-Skuce from Fit Like Mummy, Montagu brand ambassador and Fitness influencer shares her thoughts on the balancing act or working moms.
Women all over the world are living with conviction knowing full well that they can be anything their hearts desire, but the ultimate goal is achieving balance.
As busy working moms, time is most certainly not on our side. It is also relatively easy for us to neglect ourselves as we prioritise everything else life throws at us. As an aviator by day and blogger by night, this mom of two knows all too well about making excuses due to time constraints and over commitment. After being diagnosed as being chronically ill in December 2018, I learnt that the truth really is that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
If we don’t take care of ourselves who will?
It pretty much comes down to prioritising. Prioritising ourselves, that is. I’ve come to firmly believe that living a balanced life starts with physical fitness. Improved physical fitness positively affects our lives as a whole. By exercising we have improved energy levels, better mental focus and we start to feel better about ourselves. Exercising is also a great way to deal with anxiety and stress which often stems from the workplace. It’s the one aspect we tend to sacrifice due to a lack of time. So whether you go for a walk after dinner, dance it out in the lounge or work out at the gym, your kids need to be part of the journey. It’s an exceptionally great opportunity to get in some quality time with your loved ones.
While exercise is a great starting point, I have a few more tips on how you as a working mom can achieve a balanced lifestyle:
- Me-time is not negotiable – They say that moms have guilt running through their veins; but guilt-free me-time is so important for working moms. It’s a great way to invest in yourself and by doing so you will recharge your batteries, reset your mind and have a greater appreciation for yourself and your families. I take one day a week (normally a Saturday) where I spend the entire day on my own. I attend workshops or fitness events, then take myself out for lunch to my favourite restaurant where I spend the afternoon reading nonsensical magazines. This often includes some retail therapy that doesn’t involve shopping for the family. Spa days also rank high on my list of things to do.
- Sharpen those organisational skills – Organisational skills are a working mom’s best friend. Have a family roster set up in a visible location so that everyone can keep track of what’s going on. Organise your home in such a way that the kids can help themselves. Knowing where things are will prevent you from running around like a headless chicken trying to find things. I have 3 planners (true story). One for my blog, one for work and one for the family. I suppose this is a tad OCD but the system works for me and helps me stay on top of things where I’m trying to meet deadlines while attending to the daily needs of the kids.
- Ask for help – Yes, it’s true that moms have capes and are pretty much everyday superheroes who get everything done, but we really don’t have to do it all. Get the entire family involved – the old adage “many hands make light work” holds true. Getting the kids involved will also teach them responsibility and new skills. Even get dad / partners involved. Families are about teamwork and helping each other will result in less frustration and tension.
- Learn to meal prep like a boss lady – As the self-proclaimed Queen of Meal Prep, let me just tell you that weekly meal preps are an absolute win for a working mom. Every Sunday I prepare our family dinners for the week ahead. A meal prep for the family takes me under 2 hours, which in turn saves me 8 to 10 hours during the week. Meal prepping will ensure you have healthy balanced meals on hand instead of stopping to grab takeout when you are under the pump. Meal prepping will also save you money.
- Set boundaries – Setting boundaries for the kids and yourself is extremely important. These boundaries should be non-negotiable. Things like eating dinner together, no phones at the dinner table and no television while eating will create another opportunity for quality time. Strict bedtimes will ensure that parents get some alone time. Setting a strict bedtime for yourself will mean that you get a sufficient amount of time to rest which will keep you focused and efficient while at work.
- Don’t over commit – Be mindful about over committing yourself. As far as possible try not to bring work home or work late. These two matters rob you and your family of precious time together. It’s also okay to say, “NO”. You don’t need to please everyone by accepting every invite you receive.
- It’s time for a purge – Okay, so this may sound rather intense but remove anything or anyone who does not add value to your life. We spend far too much time forming attachments to things, people and places, so much so that our lives become overburdened with trivial things that really do not add value.
While all of this is easier said than done, you working moms need to take exceptional care of yourselves to avoid anxiety, burnout and stress. If you haven’t yet been able to achieve that elusive work-life balance then take a step back to assess your current game plan. Then make the necessary tweaks that accommodate you and your lifestyle. Once you have a bulletproof game plan, you, my dear, will be unstoppable.