An Impossible Balancing Act?
Ever feel like your family is suffering because you spend too much time grinding at work? Or maybe you switched to working from home during the pandemic but found yourself slammed with new challenges balancing childcare and your career?
Whether you're hustling daily to balance work and family while WFH or commuting to the office, there are still only 24 hours in the day. That means you’ve got to learn how to make the most of your time both at work and with your family. And if you're trying to do it all, climb the career ladder, or you're just wired to be a workaholic, the pressures are super intense.
Why We Overwork Ourselves
In the United States, hard work is highly regarded, and vacation days are often scarce. Overworking is expected. This culture makes it difficult or even taboo for you to take time off. Hard work is prized, and promotions go to those who are in the office churning out projects.
But as a psychic advisor, I frequently connect with working moms (and dads) whose drive to overwork is internal and goes deeper than the expectations of culture and employers. Take a look at these other reasons to see if they resonate.
- Work Satisfies Your Survival Instinct. Constant striving feels essential for success. Releasing the instinct to overwork requires a higher state of consciousness that recognizes the value of rest, rejuvenation, and connection as much as the value of work. Do you feel that rest is a luxury, or fear that if you step off the treadmill, you’ll be less successful at your job?
- Busyness Has Become a Habit. Staying busy is a staple of modern culture. It's common to have chaotic calendars and full schedules. It's easy to fall into the routine of rushing from one activity to another. You may feel lost if you don't have another checkpoint to head to immediately after your current activity.
- Mindfulness Gets Lost in the Bustle. If you're addicted to overworking yourself, you've likely let go of the important habit of mindfulness. When you're mindful of your surroundings, you exist entirely in the present. Does slowing down scare you about what you’ll find?
It takes a mindful choice to buck the system for you to stop overworking yourself. If you're trapped in a cycle of overworking yourself, step back and reconsider your approach to life. Slowing down and prioritizing your health, family, and relaxation can do wonders for your wellness and may even boost your productivity on the job.
Work-Life Balance is Possible
Borrowing from the metaphysical, you need to imagine what you want to be true before you can see it coming true. Instead of "I'll believe it when I see it," try flipping it: "I'll see it when I believe it."
So first, shift your mindset - work-life balance is possible for you! Armed with faith in yourself and some practical strategies, you can feel good about rocking both your career and caregiving.
Finding Balance as a Working Mom
Being a working mom is challenging. With your career, family, and personal needs, balance can feel impossible. But with intention and self-care, you can find more harmony.
Start by giving yourself credit for all you manage daily as a master multitasker. Focus on progress over perfection. No one can do it all flawlessly.
Take Control of Your Time
To make your 24 hours each day count, try setting aside time for scheduling and planning. Even 30 minutes of mapping out your week can help optimize your time. Block out dedicated windows for work, family, and yourself. You can even use insights from astrology to help you optimize your time. While rigid scheduling isn't always realistic with kids, having some structure helps.
Try these concrete suggestions:
- Wake up 30 minutes early to map out your upcoming week over coffee before the chaos begins.
- Schedule focus time during your lunch break to align priorities and assign time slots for family, work, and self-care.
- Set a recurring 30-minute calendar invite for "planning time" that you treat with the same importance as a meeting.
- Use pockets of time like your commute or children's activities to review schedules and meal plans, or knock out scheduling tasks hands-free.
- Ask your partner to watch the kids for an hour after work so you can plan without distractions.
- Take advantage of extra planning time when you have childcare or help, like during a babysitter's weekly visit.
- Feng Shui your workspace to create a feeling of peace or use crystals for energetic support.
And don't be afraid to schedule "me time"- you need that space to recharge. For example, I always make a point to enjoy a cup of tea on the patio each Saturday morning while my family is still sleeping. That quiet time helps center and energize me for the weekend ahead.
Practice Saying No
When obligations pile up, remember that saying "no" is an act of self-care. Limit taking on extra tasks at work when your plate is full. Asking loved ones for help around the house or with childcare isn't a weakness - it's wisdom. Remind yourself: trying to do everything solo will only drain you. We all need support.
For instance, if your boss asks you to organize the office holiday party when you already have a full workload and family commitments, practice saying "I appreciate you thinking of me, but unfortunately my plate is too full right now to take this on. Perhaps I could help in a smaller capacity or next year when my schedule is not as packed."
Make Time for Self-Care
To keep your energy up, prioritize self-care. Whether it's waking up early to meditate, enjoying a weekly bath ritual, or getting a sitter for date nights with your partner, purposefully rejuvenate yourself. You'll be more present both at home and at work.
Striving for work-life balance takes practice, and some days will be more chaotic than calm. Cut yourself some slack. With consistent effort, you'll find more harmony. And remember - a happy, healthy mom sets a powerful example for your kids. They'll learn from your commitment to caring for yourself and finding fulfillment in all areas of life.
Work-life Balance for the Sandwich Generation
Many working moms also find themselves caring for an aging parent or relative. This can add further complexity to maintaining a work-life balance.
If you've taken on a caregiving role, give yourself extra credit - caregiving is physically and emotionally demanding work. Be intentional about asking others to share the care workload so it doesn't all fall on your shoulders alone. Explore respite care services that allow you breaks to recharge.
Since caregiving needs can be unpredictable, communicate proactively with your workplace about potential needs for schedule changes or remote work options. Inquire about possible employee benefits such as respite care hours, care coordination services, flexible schedules, and telecommuting. Seek out employee support resources for caregivers.
Set boundaries with family regarding when and how much you're available for caregiving tasks. Schedule breaks and self-care time just as you would for work and family. And don't neglect your own health - as a caregiver, you must stay well to be able to serve others.
Lean on support groups connects with others navigating similar challenges as a working caregiver. You don't have to do this alone. With self-compassion and support, you can find your footing as a working mom and caregiver.
Work-life Balance for Dads
While the focus here is on working moms, it's important to recognize that working dads and single dads often face similar pressures when balancing careers and family life. Especially in families where both parents work and share childcare duties equally, dads can feel the same strains of juggling work, household responsibilities, and children's needs. And for single fathers taking on the provider and nurturer roles solo, the demands are even greater.
Fathers striving for work-life balance can employ many of the same strategies around planning, boundaries, support systems, and self-care. Dads also deserve credit for all they manage, permission to sometimes fall short of perfection, and encouragement to carve out time for self-renewal. The challenges of work-life balance extend beyond gender - anyone in the thick of caring for children while building their career can feel overwhelmed at times. We must support one another.
More Work-life Balance Strategies
For single parents
- Set up a co-op with other single-parent friends for childcare swaps, grocery drop-offs, and meal trains during crunch times.
- If the budget allows, hire helpers or babysitters for a few hours a week to get time for self-care.
- Take advantage of flex schedules or work-from-home options when possible, for handling sick days and school events.
For parents with long commutes
- Use hands-free technology and audiobooks to make drive time feel productive.
- If possible, work compressed schedules to reduce commute days per week.
For parents working non-traditional schedules
- Communication tools like shared calendars and note boards keep the whole family connected.
- Lean on the family to help with getting kids to activities you may miss.
- Nap when kids nap, even if just a 20-minute recharge. Stay hydrated and meal prep for grab-and-go eating.
For elder caregivers
- Explore respite care services that allow you a break from caregiving to prevent burnout. Even a few hours a week can help.
- Look into adult daycare programs to provide your loved one with socialization and activities during work hours.
- Schedule weekly check-ins with siblings or extended family to discuss shared caregiving strategies and divvy up tasks.
- Invest in technologies like medical alert systems, video chatting programs, and medication reminders to provide security when you can't be present.
- Get Compensated: Caregivers may be able to collect a modest income from performing the tasks you're already doing. Programs can help relieve your family's financial strain, so you can focus on what matters most — your loved ones. Investigate these possible avenues:
Work and Life - Have Faith, You've Got This
In closing, know that while balancing work and family presents challenges, you have the power to create positive change. Whether you're a passionate workaholic or struggling between competing demands, arm yourself with planning, support systems, and self-compassion. Carve out time for activities that energize you, and don't be afraid to say no to obligations that deplete you. A psychic career reading can provide much-needed insight and support. With consistent effort, you can find harmony between your career and caregiving duties.
Finally, I want you to believe that you can have both - a fulfilling job and a nurturing family life. With time, you can find the right rhythm. Have faith in yourself - you've got the ability to make work-life balance a reality.