As women, we’ve been sold the idea that in the modern age we can have it all—a beautiful home, a rewarding career, well adjusted children, a loving relationship. Since then, thousands of column inches have been dedicated to unravelling this concept. Is “having it all” a myth?
Or is the secret just getting better at balancing all those competing priorities?
Female business leaders have had to become experts at juggling the competing priorities of their careers and home lives and are now steering the conversation away from the idea of work-life balance. They claim that the concept no longer fits with today’s world of constant connectivity, flexible working arrangements, enhanced caring responsibilities and personal branding.
Instead, the approach should be more like a work-life integration. It’s not about that precarious ongoing balancing act but about finding solutions and systems that integrate the full spectrum of your life.
This approach allows you to bring your whole self to anything that you do. So, if you’re a mom caught in the web of having it all, try these simple tips to achieve a more harmonious balance.
Give Your Whole Self
When we get stuck on the idea of balance, we lean towards compartmentalizing our existence. We have a “home self” and a “work self,” a collection of disparate identities which can mean we only give a small proportion of what we’re truly capable of.
The idea of work-life integration removes these artificial boundaries. This allows us to be able to be our whole and complete selves no matter which sphere we’re currently moving in. You don’t have to cut off all your emotions and become a corporate robot at work. Being a human with a heart is a strong value in an increasingly automated world—it allows us to connect with others and bring more humanity to what we do.
Similarly, don’t feel bad if you have to bring work home sometimes. Although you shouldn’t be spending every evening trudging through your inbox, it’s okay for your family to see you at work. In fact, it’s a great thing for kids to see a female role model succeeding in business.
Ask for Help
Successfully “having it all” is only possible with the correct support.
Sometimes we are so afraid of not being a superwoman that we try to take on too much. Really there is no need. If you can afford to get some help with the cleaning, why not? It frees up more time for you to spend with your family or work on that special project.
Don’t try and make life harder for yourself to prove something to the world.
Find the shortcut, and take the easy route. Order your groceries online. Automate all the bill paying. At work, delegate what you can—it eases your load and provides a valuable learning opportunity for others.
The same goes for personal care. If things are getting on top of you you, don’t try to hide away from it. Accessing Mental Health Services is an important form of self-care and should never be a source of shame. Care for the caregiver and the whole family benefits. Asking for help is a sign of intelligence and strength.
Finally, remember to take a moment if it all seems too much. A time out to reconnect with yourself and decompress is vital and always a smart move to help you manage everything you have going on in your life. You got this!