How can busy working women and mothers stay happy and sane?
Women today are likely to take on multiple demanding roles—as a mum, wife, and career woman. This can sometimes lead to the challenge of keeping up with their mental and physical health. Here are 8 important tips for busy working mums.
#1 Make time for yourself
We’ve all seen the safety instructions on the plane—”see to your own oxygen mask before attending to your children’s.” It’s the same with life in general. You are no good to anybody—at home or work—if you are not taking care of yourself first. Take time each day to do something just for you. Go for a health check, get a massage, watch your favourite TV show, travel alone, read a book with no distractions, meditate, or even just do nothing. As long as the activity calms you (even if it’s just ironing clothes!) and makes you happy, that’s all that counts.
#2 Organise your family calendar
Try a digital calendar, such as Google calendar. It is shareable, colour-coded, and whenever you update it, everyone is informed instantly. Mark due dates for monthly bills, create chores for the kids (you can’t be doing it all by yourself, right?), and set reminders for birthdays, school events, and special family date nights where everyone does something together. Spend a few minutes every weekend to plan for the following week.
#3 Plan a date night with your hubby
It’s common for couples to grow apart over the years as careers and the kids take centre stage. But don’t forget the number one person by your side—your partner! Head out for a nice meal or stay in for a romantic home-cooked dinner (rope him into the preparation). Share a hobby that brought you together in the first place. Consider signing up for an exercise class or gym membership together—working out with your partner is a fun way to relieve stress and keep the romance alive.
#4 Don’t forget “ladies’ night”
Your focus on your career, marriage, and family can sometimes take the attention off other important relationships in your lives, such as friendships. Women thrive on strong relationships with their girlfriends, and it’s important for your mental well-being to be able to confide in friends who understand and share your experiences. So, make sure you have a female support system around you, especially as you get older and the kids fly the coop.
#5 Stay physically active
This is beneficial for long-term mental and physical health, and should not be something you put on the backburner when other responsibilities arise. If you find it difficult to fit exercise into your daily routine, make time by getting up half an hour early every day. Find something you enjoy doing and start slow if you haven’t exercised in a while. Try yoga, if you are interested to improve your flexibility, or dancing, which is a popular way to enjoy music while getting a workout.
#6 It’s okay to say “no”
It’s easy to find yourself stretched too thin from juggling work, family, and social commitments. If you start to feel overwhelmed, remember the three ways you can answer a request: “Yes”, “No,” or “I’ll get back to you.” If you feel uncomfortable about taking up a new task, consider factors such as the amount of time you’ll have for it, or if you’re the best person for the job, before saying yes.
#7 Good enough is good enough
Perfectionism can sometimes lead to unwanted stress. From time to time, you can only work with what you’ve got, and in the time available, so it may make sense to overlook small flaws and accept that what you’ve done is good enough. This applies to both the workplace and at home. Are you going to work overtime just to get that report perfect, when it’s really good to go as it is? Is that really the best use of your time? And, yes, it’s OK to give yourself a break and prepare ready-made meals once in a while when you haven’t the time to cook something from scratch.
#8 Make sure your colleagues respect your boundaries and time
Have you inadvertently made yourself available 24/7 to your colleagues? Remember that not every email or text message needs to be replied to instantly. Manage their expectations by communicating your boundaries early, so they will know when to expect a response from you—for example, within 48 hours. Just be sure to keep to what you promised!