It’s a beautiful thing, but we know that balancing the wonderful gift of motherhood with work can be challenging. So we wanted to come up with a couple pieces of advice that have helped us working mothers. From our working moms here at Ama La Vida, to all you strong, working mamas at home.
Tips for Balancing Work and Motherhood
My children are now grown. I spent way too much time when they were young while I was working worried about intangibles…
What I wish I had done was asked myself this powerful question: “What do I want to be sure my boys know for sure about me?”
From that vantage point, I would have had more clarity about how I spent my time and energy working and at home. I would have known what my goal was. For them to know that I loved them unconditionally, had confidence in their capabilities, supported their independence, and was always there for the really tough stuff.
As someone who is relatively new to motherhood (and balancing work and motherhood), I’m still learning. One of my favorite mentors once told me that “parenthood was the hardest job you’ll ever love.” It couldn’t be more true. There are good days and there are really challenging days.
Everyone’s situation is different. I recognize that I am privileged to have a partner who is actively engaged in parenting our son and a support system of friends and family. At the end of the day, I am constantly reminding myself to be grateful and also to recognize that I’m doing the best I can. We all are.
For my clients who are moms, I encourage them to take time to get to know the person they are now that they are a mom. Call on your support system and let your needs be known, and practice gratitude and self-love. Most importantly, though? Have fun and laugh with your children.
One thing I was surprised to hear so many of my new mom friends say was, “I just didn’t expect x to be so hard.”
For some it was the postpartum period, for others it was mom guilt. Perhaps one of the benefits of having babies later than a lot of my friends is that there was little left to be so completely surprised by.
I believe that expectations management is one of the most crucial skills in life. Now this may sound cynical, but I went into motherhood with low expectations. Let me clarify. I expected this baby to bring me joy and love that I’ve never before experienced. That turned out to be true. But I also expected her to challenge me in ways I’ve never before experienced and test every aspect of my emotional and physical wellbeing. That also turned out to be true, and I don’t anticipate it will let up as she ages.
I think this mentality has helped me tremendously. Going into this experience with eyes wide open has not made it any less demanding. I’m still exhausted. My heart still aches when I miss a milestone while at work. I’m still struggling to figure out how to get it all done in 24 hours. But I knew I would face all of those things, and the knowing makes it so much more manageable.
Know that motherhood will bring you indescribable joy. And also know that it will bring you immense challenges. If you can find a way to manage your expectations and lead with love, then you and your little one will be just fine.
There is no such thing as a perfect balance. I tried to chase the balance for so long before I realized that life is a see-saw. It’s constantly moving up or down based on what is required from your personal life, motherhood, or work. Let your see-saw be dictated by what’s pressing and tell yourself that you made a conscious choice to allow one aspect to take priority in that moment. Be sure to keep in mind your unconditionals about work and life and try to honor those no matter what.
At the end of the day, you’ll make the right choice for yourself, your family and your work based on the information available to you. Be kind to yourself next time that the mom guilt or co-worker guilt creeps in. You’re doing an incredible job being a role model to your children and everyone else around you.
Everyone will “mom” differently, because everyone’s children are different. This is the hardest and most important lesson I learned as a mom. Whatever you do, if it works for you and your kids, then you are doing a great job! And if it doesn’t work, you are still doing a great job and are learning along the way!
As a mom of older children, the next hardest lesson I learned is that I, as my children’s parent, can not care more about their passions and pursuits than they do. This one is a struggle because I want my children to have their dreams come true!
I’ve found that my balance is that I have four goals for my children. I want them to be happy, healthy, support themselves (with health benefits) and be a productive, contributing member of the community at large. How they get there is up to them, and they will have my 100% support in their corner!
I am a brand new mother, in a pandemic. One of the greatest lessons I am learning is to let go of unrealistic expectations. I know I can tackle my entire to-do list, just not all at once. Some things get pushed to the next day, and that is okay, as long as the important stuff gets done. Working from home full-time while also balancing full-time motherhood can be exhausting. Setting boundaries and giving grace are the best gifts to yourself.
One thing that gets me through my day is my favorite coffee mug with my favorite quote, “the days are long but the years are short.” This season will pass in what will feel like a blink of an eye. So I’ll lean into the challenging moments and cherish the extra time I get to spend with my baby. Because 20 years from now, I won’t remember the little things that didn’t go according to plan. Instead, I will remember how fortunate I was to make memories with my son while also pursuing a career.
People always say your life changes when you have children. I found myself resisting that statement prior to the arrival of Grace. I didn’t want things to change and I was afraid of what “your life changes” would mean. This fear of change can be daunting and really restrict your growth. I had this misinformed idea of what change meant. I was connecting change with “bad”. The change was fear, hard, ugly, and something bad. When in reality change was GOOD.
As every day, week, month, year tick by I feel those changes in new ways and am having to adapt, constantly. It’s taken me several years to really discover that as I lean into these changes I also need to look inward at what I need to change for me. Over the last year, the pandemic threw me into a deep self-reflection and once again, change; from diet, fitness, values, self-care, and even my definition of a successful mom.
My advice to you is twofold:
- Don’t be afraid of change. Roll with it. Lean into it. Love it.
- Look inside. Create your definition of a successful mom. Care for yourself in a way that feels good to you. Let the change come.
Enjoy the ride and LOVE the change that is always happening in your life.
You are not alone in figuring out how to balance motherhood and work. We hope that these tips from our wonderful mom’s at ALV helped!