Although being a working mom is not a new concept, there remains an ongoing conversation of whether work-life balance is a fallacy and if women can have it all: career, love, family, downtime. Although it’s challenging, many women have found the key to doing both simultaneously and successfully. Yet 43% of highly-qualified women with children are leaving their careers or taking a break from them. While many of these decisions are made by choice, the struggle, as they say, is real.
With that in mind, in celebration of National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, below are ways working moms can continue to find tremendous success in the boardroom while being able to also raise and enjoy a healthy and happy family.
Reframe your balance as presence
So what is the key? For many, it’s simply about perspective. Stop struggling to find work-life balance because the reality is that there is no perfect equation. Reframe the way you think about work and life as work-life integration and give yourself permission to devote your full attention wherever you are and be all in, be it the boardroom or the playroom.
To do this, create boundaries, such as telling your team that each night from 6:30–8:30 you will be offline to allow yourself to be present and in the moment. Once the kids go to bed and your spouse is happily ensconced in Game of Thrones, you can get back online to finish the day’s work or simply take a moment in a cozy spot you’ve created for yourself to do something that brings you joy.
Make meaningful decisions
Being a working mom doesn’t mean that you go to work and go home. You also need to carve out one-on-one time with your significant other, time with friends and family and, importantly, time for yourself.
To achieve that mix of time well spent, you need to self reflect and make meaningful decisions about what’s important in your life. Do you love watching your son score at his basketball games? Go scream in the stands for him. Does working out clear your head? Make that SoulCycle class a priority. Does an upcoming presentation need extra work tonight? Reprioritize and dig into that deck. Thinking of the bigger picture will help you make thoughtful choices that make an impactful difference.
Combine your worlds
Ask yourself: What meaningful difference do I want to make in the world? For some, it might make the most sense to create your own destiny by combining your passions of being a mother and a successful businesswoman. Whether it becomes your primary career or a side hustle, leverage your best skills and passions to solve a pain point that’s meaningful to you. You may love and be great at bringing people in your community together and fueling imaginations. Take that excitement and create a new experience for kids and modern parents, which will fulfill your professional aspirations and satisfy your personal ambition.
Learning never stops
Another useful way in better integrating your work and home is to leverage learnings from all aspects of your life. For instance, you may learn patience from your five-year-old and put it into practice while waiting for a pitch decision. On the flipside, you may hone your negotiation skills with your clients and apply it to a conflict at home.
Lead with kindness
Backed by a study from Kindness.org and Oxford University, kindness not only improves well-being but it also impacts bottom line results. Effective leaders and moms who have and implement this trait are more likely to succeed because positivity breeds positivity. Taking a wholehearted approach and demonstrating how to treat others with kindness and respect in the office and around the house will yield success in both arenas.
While there’s no right answer that works for everyone, being a successful working mother is possible with perspective. You don’t have to find the answer or have the right answer. It’s about the answer finding you. It takes time, presence, mindfulness, kindness and a willingness to continuously learn and try new things. But in the end, the result of successfully growing a business, yourself and a happy family is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.