Posted on 28/02/2017 by Dawn Alba
With three children and a fast-paced job, can a career-driven mother have it all?
For many this is a familiar question with an open-ended answer. Some would say, “Of course not!” and others, “Not if you want to stay sane!”. My take on this is; Yes you can!
When I had my first child, I really wanted to ensure I maintained my work-life balance. I had a job that meant I could leave on time, get home, cook dinner and then give my undivided attention to my son, not having to think about work for the rest of the evening. It was a stable job and I was content.
Five years and three kids later though, as your family grows, the need for more space increases and so does your household expenses! You’ll start to consider finding a financially rewarding job with career development – often leading to longer hours and a more demanding schedule. It was at this time that I found a career in recruitment – or shall I say recruitment found me!
I’ve now been a recruiter for almost seven years, my time is filled with juggling client and candidate meetings, running searches, getting on the phone, completing admin work, attending events and being with family. It’s made me realise that there is no such thing as work-life balance, it’s more about your work-life choices and considering the consequences.
The path I’ve chosen is never easy but it is fulfilling. I get to enjoy working hard while having the luxury of sharing precious time with my family. There is no perfect formula but I’ve put together the following points that have helped me make the right work-life choices:
- Choose to work for a company that values their employees’ well-being: Do your research and find out about any schemes in place to support working parents. A company with a family-oriented culture, for example, could allow you the flexibility to work from home when required. Also, in my opinion, an ideal company would be one that employs a healthy number of working mums meaning you will have a good support network. Get to know them so you can surround yourself with people that share the same sentiments and with whom you can swap ideas and give playgroup advice.
- Time management: This is so easy to say but hard to do. When at work, make sure to focus on it 100%, outside of work, shut down and try to avoid bringing your work home.
- Ensure you have a great support system: Having someone reliable to help out at home while you’re at work is key! He or she can be a well-trusted helper or family members who can take care of your kids during work hours. This allows peace of mind and the chance for you to relax knowing they are in good hands.
- Ensure that your partner is supportive: As a couple, it is important that you get your partner involved in all your decisions. You both need to openly communicate and understand the expectations of each other’s jobs. Do make time for each other as much as for your children to maintain a good balance.
- Communicate with your children: Make sure to always communicate well with your children. There may be times when they’re already asleep when you arrive home so it’s important they know where you are and why. Kids are so much more aware than we sometimes think, so speak to them as much as you can and tell them about your work. When you do have quality time together it will be all the more special. Weekends and outside of work, give them all the attention you can and always tell them that you love them!
I hope other working mothers find these tips helpful in making the right work-life choices. Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org