As a wife and a mother of three wonderful children, meeting up with family duties and responsibilities can be very challenging, let alone combining them with work demands as a career woman.
Women generally, are more pron to multitasking than their male counterparts. A woman can wear many caps, such as full time wife, mother, and a successful career. The question is: How easy is it to wear these caps as a woman and still maintain sanity and balance?
Creating a perfect balance between family and career can be an illusive venture. However, some harmony is needed to maintain sanity.
Here are some guide on time management to balance family and work as a career woman:
- Set your priorities aright: For everything you invest your time and resources to do, there is always an opportunity cost on the other thing that is left undone. In other words, you can hardly eat you cake and have it back. Therefore, set your priorities aright from the onset. This will help you to choose wisely whenever there is a clash between family and work. For me, I have always priced family over work because I consider my position at work to be a highly dispensable one, unlike my position in my family. This does not in any way mean that work duties should be neglected, far from it. Rather, it means that whenever I am faced with a serious and unavoidable decision to choose between family and work, my family will always be my priority.
- Plan your meals: Most times, I find planning what to cook to be more tasking than the actual cooking. You can imagine that! Create a weekly flexible meal plan (timetable). This helps to take off the time and pressure of planning daily meals for the family. The meal plan should be easy to adjust in order to accommodate more variety. In doing this, if you have family members who are serious picky eaters, try and blend their preferences within the meal plan to reduce the stress of cooking different meals at a time.
- Bulk purchase and Bulk cooking: You can’t possibly be running to the market every now and then to buy things. Buying in bulk saves time, energy and money. If you have the resources, and you so wish, you can use the services of professional shoppers. Preparing and storing some foods in the freezer can also be a time saver.
- Plan your day’s schedule ahead: Lack of proper planning is equivalent to planning to fail. Failure in this case may mean underachievement and waste of precious time and other resources. Take a little of you time before the end of each day, to plan your daily schedule for the following day. Allocate time to the outlined activities and give room for contingencies. Remember that time is more valuable than money!
- Know your limits: Everyone has limits my dear, including you, the “super” woman. Know your limits in terms of physical strength/energy and avoid stretching yourself beyond those limits. When any thing is stretched beyond its elastic limit, breaking is inevitable. So, know when to STOP!
- You can ask for help: Everybody needs one form of help or the other. Asking for help is not weakness. It can save you from getting overwhelmed. Harness all the available help channels. Get internal help from your husband and children (if possible). External help channels such as cook, nanny, house keeper, driver, etc. depends on both your resources and willingness.
- Create ME time: Don’t get lost in the business of taking care of everybody and then forget to take care of yourself. You need to refuel so that you can deliver well. Even the bible says in Proverbs 11:25b that “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” Create some “ME” time to indulge in your hobbies. Pamper yourself a bit. Also, meditation and prayer is a great way to refuel spiritually.
- Delegate where possible: Delegation makes life easier, especially when the delegated work is in good hands. However, as a working wife/mother, some things, such as, being a wife to your husband and a mother to your children, should not be on the list of things to be delegated. This does not mean that trusted hands cannot help you to take care of your family. Instead, it means that regardless of how “busy” you are, try and make conscious effort to fulfill your wifely and motherly responsibilities to both your husband and your children respectively, within the limits of your time. For instance, if work keeps you busy must of the weekdays, try and maximize the weekend in bonding with your family.
- You don’t need to be perfect: One good thing about being a wife and mother is that you are your own boss at home, even if not at work. Lol… This means that you are mostly accountable to yourself. Therefore, give room for some imperfections and occasional “laziness” You don’t have to be the “super” wife and mother at all times. Don’t beat yourself up unnecessarily for the days when you won’t feel like cooking special dishes and cleaning up everywhere. Recognize and appreciate your mistakes. Laugh over things and move on!
- Exercise and Rest: Be deliberate and intentional with your exercise. Although some house chores are forms of physical activities, don’t use it to replace deliberate exercise. Exercising your body regularly, not only helps your physical health, but also your psychological well being and self confidence. Take time to rest.
As we carry out our responsibilities, both in the home-front and at work, let us remember that we are nation builders, indispensable in our generation!