We have been asked in numerous interviews how we juggle work life balance and since the recent award nomination for the Best London Mummy Blogger for 2017, we thought it would be good to share our honest ways of juggling work life and motherhood. The juggle in its full meaning, what works and doesn’t work (for us).
It’s fair to say that being a mum is a full-time job in itself so trying to add work, “mummy time” and all that is important in one’s life as well is not an easy task.
To the question, how do you juggle work and life balance? There is no right or wrong, this is what works for us:
- Organisational Skills:
- To do lists are a MUST! And for those, who like us, are stationary addicts its even fun to organize a weekly or monthly planner with different color highlighters & tick with different pens or pencils as you go along.
Dina: My to do list is the way I roll with work, supermarkets, birthday parties, bills, family events you name it. I live by bright Post it notes and the family calendar sitting in our kitchen wall is a good way to get the whole family organized and in the loop. Now my kids drop down their activities and birthday parties/playdates too. It is great to get the whole family involved and helps avoid unpleasant surprises during the week.
2. Time Management:
- Be online and available to clients and business related thing when kids are not around or are being taken care of.
- Be strict and draw the line. When you are working, work hard, When you are with kids, it’s their time. Try never to mix the two. We know how hard this can be but it’s important for the children to not resent you or your working life.
Nathalie: This is the toughest part for me. I always try and get all my work done when the children are in nursery and try and forget about my phone when I’m with them but with everyone juggling work and life balance in their own way and time it doesn’t always go according to plan. Also, social media plays a big role in not being able to let go of your phone much. When my 3.5yr old son made comments of me being on the phone instead of playing with him after a full day of us not being together, I felt like a terrible mother but slowly I am improving and either put my phone is a completely different room from where we are when we watch a cartoon together or play or just put it on silent mode for few hours.
Dina: We really work around our kid’s schedule, that’s more like it. As working Mums who work from home, time management is essential. Emails, meetings, phone calls and press events are mostly squeezed during school hours those are our working hours. We limit distractions and time wasters by allocating specific time slots until the job gets done before moving on to the next task.
- We could all do with few more hours in a day to get everything we need to do done but then again, if we had that more time… we would just pile more things on the list. It’s a vicious circle but it’s important to priorities correctly. The power of now is what counts.
4. Team meetings:
- We have ours weekly to get updates on work deadlines and projects. We believe that, in any working or personal relationship, communication is key. And especially when everyone follows their own schedule, it’s imperative to know what others are doing to avoid doubling work or “stepping on others work”.
- Our work is very much online, starting with emails, meetings, editing, writing and then of course, always switched on, on Social media. Its important to take breaks. Have a proper lunch break and don’t just grab something and rush it while trying to make work calls or fit in another email.
Nathalie: I can tell when I need a break from typing or my computer. I often notice the quality of my emails dropping or mistakes about to happen so I shut down and either go for a walk, run errand around the house or just take a moment to breath and look around if I’m in a café. I think a few minutes break every half an hour or hour is needed for productive work.
Dina: My work never ends, and because I love what I do I find it hard to disconnect. I try to follow Nathalie’s advice but that doesn’t always work for me however much I want to. My dream? a holiday with no Wi-Fi
- Finding good quality childcare is key in order to have your mind at peace and concentrate on your work without having to worry about the children.
Dina: My children are in school now so that gives me time daily to concentrate on work but I also travel a lot for work. I am very close to my family and my mother and sister are a big support system for me as well as my husband. Having someone you trust with your kids is important for me.
Nathalie: I work best when I know my children are in nursery rather than at home with someone. If I need to call a nanny and run to a meeting or attend an event, I like for them to be taken out and be fully entertained so that they don’t see my absence as negative.
7. Let go of the guilt:
- It’s a common thing, as mothers, to feel guilty. Some mums don’t have a choice and other decide to work. Whether its to pursue a dream, maintain career or just wanting to keep connected with the outside world and mum duties, no one has the right to judge or make you feel guilty about it because you are not harming anyone. If fact, have you ever thought the good example you are giving your kids about working?
Dina: I always felt very guilty when I went back to work, even before Kensington Mums was born. Now, I truly believe that, where one has the passion, and possibility to pursue their dream career they should and that can only be a positive example to ones’ child.
- Both to maintain a healthy lifestyle & maintain sanity, exercise is very important for you to keep fit and release any stress you may be piling up from work or children behavior. Don’t underestimate this, it will make a difference to your everyday approach to things.
Nathalie: I’ve become a runner since having my son almost 4 yrs ago now. It’s my time. I like to start the day with a run and it wakes me up and motivates me for the rest of the day. I like to run outdoors and take it all in.
Dina: My way to set off my steam is by attending a weekly boot camp class. Its intense exercise that really helps me.
If you don’t run, walking works just fine. If you can run errands, pick up and drop off by foot, consider doing so at least a couple of times per week. It’s great for the kids too.
If you are not an outdoor person or don’t have the time to go out or attend classes, there are some amazing work out DVD which you can follow once the kids are napping or asleep or event with the kids around as a family activity.
9. Make mummy time time a priority
- We cannot emphasise on this enough; every mum needs some alone time doing whatever is it that makes her happy outside of the family nucleus. Whatever it is that helps you recharge your batteries it is important to keep doing it on a regular basis. Doing so is not selfish it is a necessity and we all know too well that a happy mummy makes a happy family and if mama isn’t on top of things, the rest crumbles pretty quickly.
Dina: I live by my motto “choose happy” and on a daily basis I try and work things around what I love the most in life. This is both for work and family. Go out with your girlfriends if you are up to it or go to bed early with a DVD. Pick up a book or magazine and go read it in the park. Whatever you do, make the time for you.
Nathalie: You are the most important person in your life so make sure you look after yourself in order to be able to make those around you happy too. Your children do not need a tired, stressed or grumpy mummy – Like in many things, its about the quality not the quantity so if needed, take more time for yourself to make the most of the time with your little ones.
10. Support network:
- As our previous article “why it’s important to make mummy friends”, Mums are an incredible support. Every mum is different and so are children but mums generally understand what you are going through on a daily basis so open up and build strong relationships with mums around you.
Dina: Don’t fear asking for help & support and make sure you don’t only build the courage to do so when you are at breaking point. No friend out there will understand you more than another mum so don’t be shy.
Nathalie: Since I’ve started making friends with other mums, playdates have become a joy I actually look forward to.
11. Family Time:
- Just as you make time for work, making time for your family, little ones and partner is crucial. This is important to nurture your family dynamic and it creates a sense of belonging and special family bonding.
Dina: My mum has a basket at the entrance of the door where we all keep our mobile phones when we go and visit her so we can really connect and talk to one another. I have recently applied this in our home. The minute my kids are home, my phone (aka as my mobile office) is tucked away until their bedtime. I do this so I can catch up with them, giving them the full attention they need and deserve. Multitasking: this is what work and motherhood is all about. One of our master essential skills which can be applied one handed sometimes.
Nathalie: We try to have dinner together every evening and bedtime for the kids is a family moment too. It’s the most precious time of day when we all sit together and my 3.5 yr old tells daddy all about his day at nursery & with myself and his little sister. It’s wonderful to see the day from his perspective and eyes… funnily it’s never as stressful and chaotic as I felt it was as we were living in which makes me think a lot.
We hope our tips may have helped or encouraged some of you in taking the time to do what you love best and still believe you are a inspiring role model to your children, amazing wife to your husbands or great partner to your companion.
We are our own person before embracing other roles in life. As women we have the amazing capacity to multitask, we believe this to be a blessing and also, our super power. Remember that where there is a will there is a way and you can achieve it all.
We would love to hear about yours if you wish to share as many mums have already done in our Motherhood exhibition interviews for the past years. Get in touch
Picture credit by Verusckha Baudo Portrait, as part of our branding photoshoot. Veruschka is an Italian contemporary portrait photographer and she specialise in photographing women, families and personal branding, drawing inspiration from the fashion world. Make up and hair by Slavomira Make up.