""— The constant juggle: Finding balance between a career and family
With so many recent holidays celebrating family, such as Family Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, we thought it would be good to find out what Tricia’s advice is to have time for both family and work; she seems to have mastered the art of building capacity for both. This is a rare yet much-needed skill and here is what she said:
If you could give your younger self advice about taking on both work and family life, what would it be?
Firstly, I’d tell myself to find a way to make money doing something I love, and in that way, I’ll be sure to never work a day in my life!
Living your purpose and finding a career that allows you to do this is the secret to a balanced life. Work shouldn’t have to be the trade-off. Work shouldn’t be a ‘thing’ you have to endure for 80% of your time so that you can get 20% family, friends and free time in. To me, that doesn’t sound like balance – that sounds like a prison sentence.
Bring the family with for the ride, bring your work home, or share it with your family and friends. Purposeful work has a way of impacting every area of your life.
What is the most important thing you feel you need to remember during the tough times when both are a bit too demanding?
Be kind to yourself and remember that you’re a perfectly imperfect human. These steps have always helped me:
- Re-evaluate what’s important at that moment in time.
- Communicate your decision and manage expectations.
- Ask for support where and if you need it.
What is balance to you?
The dictionary describes it as follows: “To keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.” I really like that…This suggests that balance is by no means a one-off event and that the primary purpose of balance is to ensure that something doesn’t fall.
Balance to me is mostly about being mindful of the need to constantly review the areas of my life and notice if something is about to fall. It’s also about doing whatever is necessary to steady my position so that I don’t fall.
How have you dealt with all the stress that accompanies being a successful business woman and a mother?
In the past – not very well, to be honest!
A little-known secret is that I seem to have some perfectionistic tendencies. This coupled with people pleasing tendencies had me running rings around myself to be everything to everybody all the time.
After three burnouts, a few relationship breakdowns and one too health scares, I finally decided to stop the madness. After all, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, right?
Here are some things that are working for me now:
1. It’s not “fine”. Sometimes I have to stop myself for a moment and identify what it is that I’m doing that’s causing me stress. I then ask myself if I have to do it or if I can figure out another way to get it done or not do it at all.
2. Focus on my circle of influence. Remembering that I’m only human and that no amount of worrying about things that I have absolutely no control over, is going to change them. The weather, the state of the economy, other people, etc. I ask myself: Is there something I can do right now that will influence the outcome or have an impact in any way? If the answer is yes, then I do it. If it’s no, then I let it go. All together now in your best singing voice: “Let it go! Let it go! You can’t hold me back anymore…”
3. Manage expectations. Managing my own expectations and learning to be more adaptable has been a game changer. Managing the expectations of others is just good manners. Most people’s expectations are simply based on their experience of you and aren’t unrealistic at all. If you’re sending emails at 3 am and answering your phone on the weekend, then why is it unrealistic for people to expect that of you?
If you want them to expect something different, then start doing something different, and let them know why things are changing. Turns out people are more understanding than we give them credit for because, like us, they’re also grappling with this elusive thing called balance.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being both a business woman and mother?
That I get to live authentically and without sacrifice. I don’t feel as though I must choose between a career and motherhood. By finding ways to navigate both, I also feel that I’m giving my daughter choices for her own life one day.
Live life to the full
Balancing family and work life is not always easy and that really does take a lot of practice and maybe even more patience. Both elements are important in our daily lives – too much of one leaves an empty space on the other side. Think of a see-saw and try and approach your time and energy this way, to ensure neglect in an important are of your life doesn’t creep up on you.
If you enjoyed Tricia’s take on being a super mom and super career women, watch out for the next blog, which will go into more detail about the challenges and rewards of mastering family and work life.