Getting the work life balance right for working mums

Before I start, I’ll come clean: I am one of the most stressed-out working mums I know, juggling what often feels like an impossible amount of responsibility, emotion and general stuff to do across work and family life.  I often ask myself “am I getting the work-life balance right?”

I frequently skulk out of an over-running meeting arriving late at school with my kids being the last to be collected. I then hunch over my laptop late into the evening only to spend hours awake with a crying child at 2 am. Not exactly the go-to person for advice on how to get it right? Researching for this article, I spoke to our Medical Director, Doctor Ruhil Badiani, herself a working mum and in my eyes, a bastion of calm with a hugely sensible perspective. Mums, we are in good hands!

Society has a perception that a working mum can have a thriving career and an effortlessly joyful home life running perfectly at the same time. One of society’s less palatable secrets is that many of us struggle to get either right. When pushed, I have plenty of working friends who admit to being compromised either by doing a part-time job that doesn’t meet their career hopes just so they can do the school pick up or by feeling like they aren’t there for their kids when they should be. We working mums worry about being seen by our bosses and colleagues as less committed, whilst on the flip side, many of us feel selfish for having a job, putting our own needs before those of our children.

With support, there are ways you can improve your work-life balance. Here are some tips for getting it right:

  1. Being a mum is one of our greatest achievements and we can be proud of that in everything we do, especially work. Talk about your family when you are in the office, making it clear to your colleagues what is important to you.
  2. Seek the support of your bosses and colleagues: make sure everyone is aware of your schedule and where your ‘hard-stops’ are so you can walk out the door guilt-free when you need to. Don’t miss the school concerts and races, these are the magic moments that trump any meeting.
  3. If you work with working mums, give them the support they deserve by helping to make flexible hours a reality. Most importantly, show you appreciate their hard work: feeling like our efforts are valued makes a huge difference!
  4. Ask for help when you need it. Try to have 2 or 3 people, friends or family, that you can rely on to call if you are running late and need help with pick-ups.
  5. Dads need to pitch in! They aren’t ‘babysitting’ or doing you a favour by doing the drop-offs, they are doing the job of any parent to get them on the school run and take turns to stay at home when the kids get sick!
  6. Your time. Find time for yourself to focus on just you. Exercise, get your nails done, meditate, watch Netflix, doze. A guilt-free time that is not about work or the kids. It’s what keeps you sane and healthy. It’s the oil that makes the world go round.
  7. Don’t get disheartened when everything goes wrong because it will from time to time. There will be days when you can’t think straight after a long week at work only to come home to find the children screaming and fighting. Tomorrow is a new day, dust yourself off and try again!
  8. Rely on services like Health at Hand to make your life easier. Health at Hand is a doctor video consultation app that gives you immediate peace of mind with reliable medical advice from a real doctor within minutes, wherever you are. Skip the traffic and waiting and get the help you need when you need it. Handy, right?

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Article written by Amy Pickles from Health at Hand.

If you download the Health at Hand app from the app store, you can use promo code MUMSAW2018 for a further 50% discount off an annual subscription until 30th November which will cover you and your family for unlimited consultations.