Balancing work life and home life can be a challenge for men and women. However, I think that working moms tend to struggle even more when it comes to optimizing the right balance between three of the most demanding and important roles in our lives – being a businesswoman, a wife, and a mom.
It’s a demanding triangle, and at times it can seem like the devil’s triangle! I am writing on this subject today as a fellow businesswoman who has earned a paycheck since I was 16, a wife to the same man for 29 years, and a mother of three beautiful children.
While I haven’t always been satisfied with my balance of these three priorities, I have picked up some good habits along the way. Here are my top four that have helped me through the challenges of being a working mom and wife.
Perfection isn’t reality.
Be realistic about your expectations. Every once in a while you will miss a baseball game or dance recital, so don’t crucify yourself over it. You won’t be the perfect mom, but you also won’t be the perfect leader or the perfect wife every day of your life. A full-time businesswoman without kids won’t be perfect. The stay-at-home mom won’t be perfect. This is life.
Set your priorities and then make decisions accordingly.
Determine how you are going to approach your triangle. Where can you be flexible, and where are you not willing to be flexible? Don’t set absolutes, and don’t draw a line in the sand.
Balance is long-term, not short-term.
There will be seasons of your life when different priorities demand more of your attention. Go with those needs. Your career is never more important when your child needs you due to illness or is in a season of need. I worked less when I cared for my aging grandparents. That was a season when our business got less of me. Was the business affected? It sure was, and that was the sacrifice. Juggling life’s demands means you are also juggling your sacrifices. Every decision has a sacrifice associated to it.
Don’t forget your man!
As working moms we often worry about balancing our time with the kids, but let’s not forget about the husband. After all, he is the person with whom you’ll grow old! Some day our career will come to a close, and our kids will be out of the house. Make sure you aren’t left living with a stranger due to being an absentee wife all those years. My husband, Keven, and I try to prioritize time together with very simple things like a squeezing in a quiet dinner together or taking a fun evening jeep ride.
As you might guess, I’m still working on my triangle. My balance ebbs and flows during each season of my life, whether it’s starting a new business with a three month old and a one year old or to where we are today with two kids in college and an 8th grader still at home. My end goal is to look back at my life and not have any regrets as a mother and as a wife.