Working motherhood is a beautiful journey that is right for some moms and not for others. For me, being a working mom has many more pros than cons for our family which is why it is the right decision for us. But being a working mom also means saying no a lot. Saying no to things I once enjoyed, saying no to my family when it is needed, and saying no to my job at times too. Being a working mom means changing the definition of “all” in “doing it all” and sharpening my prioritization and organizational skills. While the changes that motherhood brings to my life are too endless to count, there are some major changes I made to my work and career after having a baby that needed to happen in order to keep things afloat. Your work life balance will never be the same. These work life balance changes after baby can help make both your career and motherhood manageable and enjoyable simultaneously!
I am a recovering “yes” woman, especially when it comes to work. I have always been the first one to volunteer, and jump in on all projects, committees, and feedback sessions. Being a working mom means I have more priorities on my plates. After baby arrives, your time at work and at home needs to be protected. There is never enough to go around! I am a work in progress with my ability to say no guilt free, but this is a change that makes a big difference in our ability to do it “all.”
Stop Justifying Your Time Off
I remember how things used to look when I had to take time off from work. Whether for a personal day or a sick day, I would go into extreme detail. I would tell my team why I was taking off, who was sick, how long I would be out, and how connected to my messages I would be while away. The more I tried to justify my time off, the less it felt like actual time off. The same can be said for the evenings or weekends. If you are taking time off, or your working day has ended, no one needs to know why you are unavailable. If you decide to take the day off to binge Netflix or take a shopping day, you do not owe anyone an explanation. Your work time is for work, but the rest of your time if your own business. Do with it what you wish and do not feel the obligation to explain it.
Leave Emails Unanswered
I used to be the queen of the empty inbox. I could not go to bed at night without checking my phone to make sure I read and responded to any emails from that day. When employee life becomes mom life, I have to leave on time to meet my commitments to my kiddos. This means only staying late at work when absolutely necessary and leaving emails unanswered for the next day when they come in after my workday is over.
Be Content With The Present
One of my old habits was always keeping “up.” Knowing what is happening in the news, in the world, with my colleagues and friends. All that time spent soaking up information was time I was not being fully present when I was home. I have made a habit of being content with not always being fully in the know. I can find things out later or carve out specific times to catch up without feeling like I am missing out. Before baby, I was often saying yes to after work happy hours or coffee dates before work and felt much more current with all the happenings. I was keeping up with all the things on social media and missing out on the present. I may not know the latest and greatest all the time now, but I have bigger things to worry about.
Take Advantage of Down Time
I used to view all time at work as extremely valuable. All my lunches were spent networking with colleagues or taking part in “lunch and learn” sessions. If I finished my work early, I was hunting new projects or pitching ideas. Down time is rare in my current line of work, but now I take advantage of those opportunities whenever I can. On the occasion that I have a lunch break, I use that time to go for a walk outside with a podcast or an audiobook. Sometimes I add in a break time between meetings to schedule all of my kids upcoming appointments. I Facetime my kids at the nanny’s house during my pumping breaks to check in. I no longer view every single minute of the workday as something that needs to be filled, and view any moments of down time as a gift.
Don’t Be Afraid To Advocate
When it comes to work life balance, advocacy for yourself and your family is key. You need to always advocate for what you need. If there is something you need, ask for it without expecting the answer to always be no. It can never hurt to ask, and it could be something that could make major difference in your life. Do you need to move a meeting so that you can pickup your kids on time? Do you need to take an early morning meeting from your cell phone in the car? Are you dealing with morning sickness or a high risk pregnancy and you need some flexibility in your schedule? Make sure you are always voicing what you need when it arises to ensure you are taking care of your needs and your family, alongside your work obligations.
Where you can delegate, delegate. If you have a colleague at work with extra capacity, pass off pieces of a project. If you manage a team and have the ability to rework the responsibilities, see if you can lighten your load a bit in some places. Along with delegating, it is very helpful to manage your expectations with your work colleagues. Communicate the changes you are making to your plate in line with your ideal work life balance, and look for ways to achieve that balance through the support of your team. If you are a freelancer or independent worker, take a look at your schedule and see where things can shift. This is the time to make your schedule and your weekly tasks work for you, so that you can manage all the things as best you can.
Have Endless Grace For Yourself
Being a mom is hard work. Being a working mom can be complex and overwhelming. With this role comes the need for endless amounts of grace. Have grace for yourself whenever you stumble, because it may be a lot. Let go of any guilt you carry at the end of each day, and try again tomorrow. You love your kids, you work hard at your job, and you do the best you can to balance all the things. Have an endless amount of grace for yourself as you navigate the murky waters or work life balance, and keep finding the joy in your everyday.
What are some of the changes you made to your work after welcoming your babe?
All the best,