If you want to balance your work and home life in a way that works for you and your family – you need to act. Balance is not a passive thing. It is an active thing. If you want to achieve balance in your life, step up and act on it!
It is not an easy thing to balance your life at work and home, but if you act like a grown-up, you can do it!
Each day, I speak with women all over the world. They vary in age, economic standing, religion, and marital status. Yet, they all have one thing in common. They are all looking for a way to balance their responsibilities at work and home. It does not matter if they are stay-at-home moms, entrepreneurs, or executives at major corporations, they are all looking for ways to balance it all. It is not easy.
Some do a better job than others of course. If you looked at them while they were standing around posing in a group photograph, you would never know which were the ones who succeeded. If you want to know which women are the ones who are able to balance work and home, you will notice one thing about them all, they are the ones who are on the move, the ones who are in action. Sometimes the action is physical. You can see them moving and doing things. Other times, the action is mental. In those cases, the women are making moves and making things happen, but you don’t see any of the action with your eyes.
When we are young, are under the control of others. Those others are our parents, teachers, and other authority figures. As we get older, we become in charge of our own lives. It becomes our responsibility to make happen whatever it is we want to happen in our lives. Consequently, when you are an adult with work you must do and a life you want to live, it is your job to find a way to make it happen. A few years ago my daughter listened to a song from the movie “Cheetah Girls” the relevant words are:
I don’t wanna be like Cinderella
Waiting in a dark, dusty cellar
Waiting for somebody to come and set me free
I’d rather rescue myself
The words to that song have stuck with me for many years because they so crisply and clearly put the idea into words. It is your life. It is your job to make it what you want it to be. It is irresponsible to wait for someone else to come along and solve your problems. It is your job to rescue yourself. In other words, if you want to balance your responsibilities at work and home, it is your job to act and find a way to get it done!4
Balance does not happen on its own. It happens because you decide to make it happen.
One of the biggest groups of people who have trouble doing the work-life balance is work-at-home moms. These are the moms who have a business and obligations to spouses, children, and themselves. Unlike traditional employees, these women work at home so they never leave the office when they are at home. At the same time, they never leave home when they are at work. Often the lines between work and home get blurred to the point where they cease to exist. Entrepreneurs have different problems, they are responsible for keeping the business running and if they have employees, they must make sure they continue to provide payroll so that employees may provide for their families. Even college students must learn to balance the demands of the academic world and the social lives they want to have. There is not one group of women that has it harder or worse than another. Indeed, each group has challenges that they must battle.
The women who are able to successfully balance their obligations at home and work are the ones who simply decide they are going to balance things in a way that works best for them and in their lives. I have spent my entire career as a work-at-home entrepreneur. Even with my law practice, most of my work was done at home rather than at the office. In order to make the balancing act work for me. I did several things:
- set up a clear and distinct work area
- created and maintained clear and distinct work hours
- realized that sometimes things would have to change
Set up a clear and distinct work areas to help with balance.
When you work at home, by definition, the office and the house are the same building. One of the first things you must-do if you want to balance things at work and home is to create a separate area for work where family/personal business does not take place. It can be a formal office in a separate room. It can be a corner of a room where all the work gets done and all the work supplies are kept. The size and location do not matter. What matters is that you set a clear distinct work area. It is important to set up a clear and distinct work area because it is a signal to you and to your family that what you do is work, real work, and should be respected as such. It is a way of telling yourself and your family that when you are in that area, work is being done. When you are done work, leave that area and the work supplies. It is a simple yet effective way of separating the workday from the personal day.
Create and maintain clear and distinct work hours.
One of the things that happen when you have a typical job is that you have a work shift. That means there is a specific time you must show up and start working each day as well as the specific time when the workday is done and you return to your personal life. If you are a work-at-home mom. This is a crucial step you must implement. In order to do this, look at the realistic obligations you have to your family that cannot be adjusted and set your schedule around that reality. For example, if you must take your children to the school bus stop each morning at 8:30 am and pick them up by 4:00 pm, it does not make sense for you to plan to start your workday at 8:00 am or to plan for it to continue after 4:00 pm. In that circumstance, it would make more sense to make your work hours 8:45 am to 3:45 pm and then continue work hours after your children have gone to bed if you still need to work. Whatever work hours you decide upon, set hours that keep your family obligations in mind. That way you can work assured that your family has received proper care. At the same time, you will be able to spend time with your family without feeling you have short-changed your business.
Realize that sometimes things will have to change on your journey to balance work and home.
One of the most important things you can do when creating a plan to balance work and home is to realize that sometimes, things have to change. To paraphrase a popular saying – woman plans and God laughs. This is an important idea to remember because often we take the time to create wonderful plans, SMART plans that take into account reality, contingencies, and potential pitfalls, but things still happen and we have to change our plans. This is not something to be concerned about. It is a reality of life that sometimes we have to change plans. Obligations, deadlines, illnesses, and a million other things may happen that cause us to have to change our plans. When we acknowledge at the start that this is a possibility, we are better prepared and will not be upset when it actually happens.
No matter what kind of woman you are and no matter what kind of work it is that you do, you must find a way to balance your obligations at work and home. It is something you can do. In fact, you are the only person who can do it in your life, with your work and your family. So, take time today to show up like a grown-up and balance your obligations. So, the question for you this fantastic day if you are a work-at-home mom is, how do you balance your obligations at work and home?