Decades of uproar by feminists all around the world – that’s what it took for women to move past four walls of the kitchen and realize that they are worthy of a lot more than just cooking, cleaning and taking care of kids around the house.
Now, a woman can dream to have it all! From leading a blissful married life to steadily and firmly stepping on the corporate ladder – there is absolutely no space where a woman cannot exist or thrive. A woman’s work life balance is hard to strike, though.
From the field of business we have Mary Barra who is the CEO of General Motors, to Serena Williams being an ultimate boss-woman at the tennis court; from Marie Curie who became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics to Beyonce Knowles winning hearts with her music; and from Angela Merkel being appointed as the chancellor of Germany to Kalpana Chawla, our very own first Indian woman to go to space.
Time and time again we have seen how women have made their mark in every field, stepping up to their male counterparts, turning out to be some of the most powerful women in the world.
All of these women have one thing in common – their undying passion to have it all. Married, some of these even have kids and they still rose to the top just because they dared to smash the glass ceilings! Of course, maintaining a work life balance is hard but it is not impossible.
You can dream your dreams and you can have the love and warmth of your family too, you can relish all of it, achieve all of it, and most definitely thrive in all of it.
Media portrays strong women who hold high positions in several fields as people who are perhaps unable to maintain a lovely life back in their house, but that’s untrue.
In recent times, we have seen Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, not only take charge of her country through some of the toughest events like the Christchurch Mosque shooting and the Covid-19 pandemic, but also give birth to a baby while she was in the office! That’s inspiring, right?
Here are some ways for women’s work life balance to be well maintained!
1. Sorting priorities
It’s important to ask yourself essential questions in order to be able to chalk out your priorities – at work and at home, both. If you want to become a successful working woman whose home and work-life balance is appropriate, you need to admit to yourself that you cannot prioritize everything as your number one task. So it’s absolutely necessary to figure out your responsibilities both at work and at home.
What are the things that are non-negotiable? What are the things you have to excel at and what are the things that you just have to make do with? What are some of your family commitments that you cannot cut down upon? Decide what you are and aren’t prepared for.
Work life balance for working mothers, especially, depends on how much adjustment you are willing to make as a mother and wife and also as a professional employee, in order to be able to accommodate being both a winner at work and house!
2. Talk to your boss!
It’s a smart call to be open, honest and transparent with your HR, manager, and other superiors. Be vocal and communicative about your personal commitments and figure out how you can flexibly manage your work, while also being available for your family.
Talking to your seniors is beneficial in the long run, since both of you can work on alternatives that would work best for you and them. Be confident and assertive but also give proper assurance to your employers about how any arrangements made wouldn’t affect your efficiency and performance.
3. Delegation is important
Nobody is a superhero and that’s okay! It’s significant to understand that you cannot work your way through everything. Hence, the art of delegating tasks is substantial for your physical and mental health. Decide what is important and what isn’t. Ease your burden by sharing your work and asking help from your co-workers, juniors, and even your spouse.
Divide household work between your husband and yourself, so coming back to home doesn’t become something you dread. Ensure that you’re not setting yourself up for a burnout because that’d do you no good at all! There is absolutely no point in being so consumed with work and family, if they become an everyday burdensome chore which don’t provide you any happiness, right?
4. Midday communications
Thanks to technological advancement, our lives are now connected to each other. As a working mother, balancing personal and professional life is hard then why to be disconnected with your kids when they’re just one call away?
During lunch breaks, you can call up your family and kids, or even video call them to see if they’re doing alright. It would give a sense of safety to your kids too that you’re not too far away from them and it will also put your mind at ease.
5. Put the distractions away
Those few minutes with a chatty co-worker or a break to surf the internet on your smartphone? It’s hard to realize but they eat a lot of your time that you can instead utilize to finish your work quickly. It’s important to set personal deadlines or restrictions in order to save time for yourself. Make a strict routine which would help you optimize your hours as best as possible.
Even at home, you can avoid binge watching TV shows and use that time to bond with your spouse and kids. Hours spent in strengthening your relationship with your family, in creating little memories with them, goes a long way!
6. Pamper yourself
For a woman’s work life balance to be maintained, it should also include timely breaks to nurture and preserve your physical and mental health. In the hustle bustle of our noisy and fast lives, it’s easy to lose sight of our own health and sanity. You cannot be the best employee or a best wife or mother if you stop focusing on your own well-being too.
Go out for mini-vacations, get a massage, go for the spa, re-read your favorite books, spend hours cooking and baking if you like that, go out for movies and brunches – simply do everything that would genuinely bring a smile to your face and help you rejuvenate. Let yourself breathe stress-free every once in a while. E-mails can wait, your mental health deserves to be taken care of too!
7. Learn to say no
In order to maintain women’s work life balance, it’s important to learn how to say no to things that don’t align with your goals. Learn to say no to the things that don’t benefit you in any way whatsoever.
Most importantly, learn to draw a line between work and home. Make a rule with your partner, and never bring your work to your house. When with each other and the kids, focus on building and nurturing your personal relationships. It helps nobody’s cause if you’re always busy on your phone, sending mails and replying to calls, while your family life is put on stand-by!
Women’s work life balance can truly be maintained well if you know yourself and your priorities and goals very well. Be willing to adapt to sudden change of plans since life is unpredictable. Be prepared to miss some of your family events for work and then some of your meetings for your family get-togethers. Maintaining work life balance is all based on how much you are willing to compromise and adjust to the changes as they come your way.
In the current situation of pandemic, where suddenly your work life has merged with your personal life, it’s important to not panic. Now that you’ve to look after your family while you’re also juggling with calls from work, just be aware of your own capacities. Draw daily deadlines for yourself and then learn to switch off your work when you meet those deadlines. Do not overwhelm yourself with every responsibility.
And, most importantly, communicate with your partner at all times. It’s times like these that test your patience indeed but also gives you ample opportunity to bolster your relationship with your husband. A woman’s work life balance is majorly dependent on how understanding and helpful your partner can be!
With everything being said, one thing that goes a long way is having faith in yourself. So trust yourself, your journey, and make the best calls given your situations!