Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A Working Mum's Survival Kit

It is meant to be my second day of work.  After all the RTW angst and my successful first day, here I am. Stuck at home with a sick child  At home, caring for my sick child (not mentioning any names, Dew Drop aka The Cling-on).  Not exactly what I had planned for myself today.

I have been wondering how other working women do it. You know, balance family commitments with work commitments. I need A Working Mum's Survival Kit!

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I searched high and low for some interesting articles/posts on managing life as a working Mum. I didn't find anything specific on dealing with the sick child when you are meant to be at work, mind you, but there was a whole lot of 'juggling' and 'balancing' going on (rather like a circus act).

Time seems to be the enemy of the Working Mum (WM). If you are a WM stretched to your limits, I have sad news for you. There are only 24 hours in a day. No, really. Trust me. I searched the internet and no-one proclaimed to know how to find the missing 25th hour.

The good news is that there are many ways to make the most of your time. Take up the fine arts of  "outsourcing", "screening calls" and "combining activities" (like your exercise with catching up with people for instance) to find more time, but remember, these strategies only give the illusion of more time.

Better organisation and prioritisation seem to be key factors to finding the elusive work/life balance. If you are looking to improve the balance in your stressed life, perhaps embracing your busyness, making the most of situations ("don't worry be happy" style) or being prepared (like a good Scout) may be strategies worth investing in. You need to become a multi-tasking specialist, and according to Amanda Alexander, you'll instinctively do this better than men do (she reveals a fun game of Survivor that you must read if you haven't already seen it!).

Whilst you are busily adjusting your schedule and seeking opportunities to free up some time, you need to remember to take care of yourself. You are the lynchpin of the family. If you go down, they all will. Do this in whatever way suits you. Exercise, eating a healthy diet, and taking time out seems to be one recipe to success.

Take time out. That old chestnut. Good in theory, I know, but we Mums don't always manage this reguarly enough, so when things get out of hand, try a 10-minute miracle for the frazzled Mum. This should put the mojo back into your day and the spring in your step (even if you are wearing high-heels which I don't advise).

The last piece of gear in your Working Mum's Survival Kit is the ability to take charge when things go wrong. Basically, take a step back and a deep breath. Re-evaluate. Look at things through different eyes. It is about 'attitude change'. Let's face it, life seems insurmountable some of the time, but it is the same life that you were breezing through and enjoying last week. It is all about attitude and the real cornerstone of success is learning to keep things in perspective.

If you still feel like you are failing, you are succumbing to a common misconception of the working Mum. This hilarious A-Z will show you that at least you are not alone!

* I am doing ProBlogger's 31 Days to a Better Blog. I started more than a month ago (sorry ProBlogger, it'll be more like 6 months to a better blog for me!) and have reached Day 7 -Writing a Link Post. Hence the links.


Maxabella said...

This is a fantastic post... and I cannot believe you are home today!!! What tha? One step forward...

life in a pink fibro said...

Top marks for linkage. ProBlogger will surely be impressed. As for all that juggling, I agree, but it should be written up as a high-wire balancing act as well. One wrong move and the whole lot comes tumbling down. Next week will be better!

Busy Working Mama said...

Hope the little one gets better soon. I was home with mine one day last week, taking work calls all *&^^%# day long even though I was using a vacation day. I do agree with your time out suggestion. Mine - (hahah) is work (hahaha) but no, it's true, I love my job, it challenges me and I love bossing auditors around and tackling new problems and crunching the numbers. I do take an hour lunch each day (if I can) and hit the gym. It makes me feel like a new woman. I do have to say finding a flexible work environment is key. I leave at 4pm daily, period, unless there's some type of financial/reporting/accounting emegency. My boss knows this and accepts it and has told me before "I know you leave at 4, but can you take a call at 4pm while you drive?" Being that he's a 48 year old man with a stay at home wife who tends to his household and gets his shirts laundered, I really, really appreciate his understanding that my child comes first.

I'll have to check out Problogger...I've been winging it with my blog. Thanks for the tip. I'll be back to read more! I like your post and am following your blog.

CJ said...

Hey. THanks for checking out my blog! SO cool our twins are the same age minus 2 days! I will follwo you and thanks, the survival working Mom kit helped! Yes, mulitasking and not killing your husband in the process!
Keep reading!

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