How To Perfectly Balance Work & Mom Life
It’s Saturday morning around 7:30 and Matthew walks in the room armed with his bears and blanket. I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth getting ready to head out the door for work. Even though Matthew is only 2 he knows the routine and is fully aware that I’m headed to Georgia Tech. Wait….let me back up.
My name is Felicia Tucker and I am an athletic trainer at Georgia Tech. You know the person who runs on the field during a game when someone gets injured. That’s me but I run/mainly walk onto the court because my primary job responsibility is women’s basketball. I have been at Georgia Tech for seven years and I have enjoyed every moment or at least learned from not ideal moments.
So Matthew says, “I want to go to Tech mommy and play basketball.” At first I’m hesitant because 1) I have a job to do and 2) oftentimes it’s easier to get things done without chasing behind a toddler. My husband is great because on the weekends he watches Matthew without any complaints or hesitations but today is different. He’s knocked out in the bed due to a long week at work. I look down at Matthew and say “OK”.
As a working mom we are often found juggling many hats sometimes too many to count. In addition, the demands of our careers can easily spill over into our family life. How do we as working moms maintain balance and sanity. As an athletic trainer I work many non traditional hours, however, I live by five key principles that keep me going as a wife, mom and professional.
Before you even get your day started…pray. Take some time to gather your thoughts, ask for guidance and get recharged for the tasks that lie ahead. It doesn’t have to be long and it can even be as simple as ” Lord help me.” Just a few quiet moments alone in reflection pays dividends in the end.
2. Build your supporting cast
We all need each other. I love the quote “no man is an island.” Stop trying to do it all!!! It is ok to ask for and accept help. I learned this lesson very quickly when my family of three turned into five when the twins were born. Not sure of who is in your supporting cast? It can be family members, friends, co-workers, church members and/or a support group.
For me an unexpected supporting cast would be the women’s basketball team and staff. As I mentioned earlier I took my son to work. He loves hanging out at the gym with his mom and the team. The players and staff have welcomed him from the day he was born which makes it easy for me to integrate him into my work world. Take stock of who you can lean on for support and allow them to become part of your supporting cast.
3. Be kind to yourself
It is so easy to criticize, analyze and compare everything that we do as moms to other moms. STOP THE MADNESS!!!!! Let me tell you a secret…you are not perfect and you never will be and that’s OK. The laundry needs to be done, toys are strewn all over the house, dinner is late getting to the table and you have unread emails to answer.
Pause. Tackle each item in order of importance and if you can put one on the back burner until you are able to get it done.
Do something special for yourself. It can be as simple as stepping outside for 5 minutes. I have to get outside daily and the amount of time isn’t important. I just need the sun to kiss my face and to clear my lungs with fresh air. As a mom taking time for yourself is being kind to yourself. We need to be healthy mind, body and spirit to ensure that we are healthy for our families. Find your refreshing zone and breathe.
4. Get organized
I believe the key to organization is to start small then work your way up to bigger tasks. The small things make the big things happen. For example instead of cleaning the entire house break it down by room type, level and/or task such as vacuuming and dusting. For me I clean downstairs on Friday and upstairs on Saturday. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your house doesn’t NEED to be cleaned in a day.
A big concern for me as a working mom is “I’m hungry mama.” This method of prepping and preparing meals has proven effective for our household. Prior to making a grocery list (a must) I plan my meals for the week. Each week is the same format but the meals are varied. My family knows that we will have a pasta meal, crockpot meal or new recipe and a traditional Sunday dinner (usually chicken something). Just a tiny bit of planning will go a long way and allow more time with your family and maybe a bit of extra time for yourself.
5. Laugh often
As a mom a three children being under three with two of them being six week old twins I find that laughter is immensely important. Finding the humor in the twins’ crazy sleep “schedule” or the fact that my three year old cannot stand being wet is what keeps me from stressing over small matters. Life happens and with it you sometimes have to laugh. If you haven’t laughed today I challenge you to find something funny and laugh from your gut, snort it will only make it funnier. Laughter is medicine for the soul and a healing balm for the mind.
All moms work whether it is inside or outside the home. Your work is important in both places but your value is in who you are not what you do! Remember to laugh and know that we see you.