As a woman, our lives are full of transitions. First we transition from little girl to young women, from women to wife and from wife to mother.
These seem easy in comparison to the transition from home to work and work to home. How do you keep it all together as you make these transitions on a daily basis? Who do you turn to for support when you are being pushed in so many different directions?
As a working mother, you are juggling two full-time jobs – and depending on your significant other and their needs – possibly three.
How To Handle The Competing Demands Of Work and Family
1. Develop Me Time
I am a huge proponent of extreme self-care. Take time each day, week, or month to fully take care of your needs. By taking time for yourself whether it’s going to the gym, getting a massage, or having dinner with friends, you are refueling yourself so you have more to give to work and family.
2. Create A Morning and Evening Ritual
This is a great way of marking the physical, mental and emotional move from work to home, from worker to parent.
One of my clients had a specific routine established for the family so that they knew what was expected of them each morning.
One child was assigned to feed the family pet, while the other set the table for breakfast. The adults in the family each had their roles as well.
It reduced everyone’s stress level (including the children) because everyone knew how the morning was going to flow. The day started out positive and that feeling stayed with each of them all day long.
Upon arriving home there was another well orchestrated routine that was followed. Everyone bought into the structure, which supported the goal of “family first”; they saw themselves as a team working for the benefit of the entire household.
3. Use The Time Between Work and Home Wisely
My friend Sherry loves to keep up to date on the news of the day. In order to fulfill that desire and not have it interfere with her precious and limited family time, she listens to her favorite talk radio show while sipping her favorite herbal tea during her commute time.
Do you love to read but can’t seem to find the time? Why not listen to books on tape! Take the train to work? That’s a great time to do those crossword puzzles that you love so much. What to just chill out on the ride home? Go for it!
Using this time wisely does two things: let’s you participate in an activity that is important to you – remember extreme self care – AND doesn’t take time away from the family.
4. Get Comfortable
At one point in my life I had a high stress, high demand job. As soon as I got in the door I would immediately head upstairs and change into my sweats. Oh the joy I would feel as I peeled away all those work clothes; the pantyhose, suit jacket and skirt. Ah, the freedom! My whole attitude would shift just because I was not in my work attire.
When you get home try changing from your work clothes to something more casual. I know a family that would change into their pajamas when they got home. It symbolized their transition back to the fold.
5. Hire Outside Help
Now you may be wondering what hiring outside help has to do with making a smooth transition home, but think about it. When you get home what is usually waiting for you?
More than likely, chores which could be better done by someone else. Hire someone to clean your home, cook your meals, or maybe hire a service to deliver your groceries. See what works into your families budget, and if you can afford it, consider hiring help.
Coming home will be even more extraordinary because instead of thinking about the “to do list”, you will be able to greet your family knowing you can spend quality time without distraction.
6. Share A Special Memory of the Day
Have each person share something that occurred that day. This can be something funny, serious or just something that they are dying to tell. This can be done as soon as the family is together or at the dinner table. Either way it’s a great way to get the family talking and re-connecting with each other.
7. Choose Your Mindset
Parenting is full of routine tasks, but it is also where the best memories are made. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that.
Working is tough; parenting is even tougher.
By using this tips and strategies you can conquer the often difficult transitions from home to work and back again.