As a mom of three kids, with a full-time job, I found that the Covid-19 pandemic introduced challenges into my life that I was just not prepared for. My husband and I have worked together to coordinate schedules, navigate office space (at home), and support remote learning for our children. But, as much as I try to stay organized, stick to a schedule, and keep everybody happy, things always feel a little chaotic around here.
IAW Influencer Latika Vines is a mom of four and runs a coaching business where she guides working moms to be confident and successful in going after the life and career they are destined to be in, without sacrificing their family for success. I recently had a chance to talk with Latika about the challenges that working moms face, and she had some great suggestions.
Becoming a Working Mom
For moms who are reentering the workforce after a pause or returning from maternity leave, Latika shares these two tips:
- If you’re interviewing for a new job, take time to do your research. Are there women on the leadership team? Does the company have policies for remote work? These are indicators of a supportive environment, which is exactly what you’ll need as you transition to a new role as a working parent.
- It’s important to be honest with yourself and with the organization. What type of schedule do you need to be successful? Communicate with your employer about your needs and define a schedule that allows you to be successful at work while also not feeling overwhelmed at home.
Latika and I agreed that mothers face an incredible amount of stress which has only increased in the current pandemic. Latika says, “You cannot master work-life balance unless you make yourself a priority.”
This doesn’t mean that you have to put yourself first in all situations, but you must make time for yourself. Make sure you take the time you need to breathe. Latika says that creating boundaries and self-care are two important elements of your plan.
- Boundaries provide a signal that helps to define your time and space. It’s okay to say no to certain people and things. Think about which meetings are necessary and where an email may be sufficient. When possible, separate the space between mom stuff and work in your home, so that there’s a physical boundary in place.
- When it comes to children, it’s important to give them a schedule for the day and to set them up with activities that will engage them when you have an important meeting to join. Designating quiet time and rewarding good behavior have helped Latika master working from home with four young kids in the house.
- Make sure you’re giving yourself time to breathe. Self-care looks different for every woman and whether it’s exercise, reading a book or enjoying a glass of your favorite beverage, be sure to take that time!
Calm the Chaos
I asked Latika if she had any strategies to help calm the chaos and she shared these five tips:
- Work smarter. Use a schedule for everything—work, homeschooling, cooking, laundry, and time with your husband. When you have that schedule, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming because you’ve given everything a place and a time. Be strategic about every minute of your day.
- It’s okay to forgo traditional work hours. Wake up early and start your work day before the kids are awake or forgo homeschooling for a day if you need to. Monday through Friday is not a forced schedule. Look at your meetings and school schedule and then make an intentional plan for the week.
- Use technology when you need to. A virtual playdate with a trusted relative can offer a great distraction when you’re in an important meeting (still in the same home, and close enough to keep an eye on things, but not so close that the noise will distract from your meeting).
- Communicate effectively. If you have to work non-traditional hours, share honestly with your team. Block out the time on your calendar that you need with your children and make a plan to catch up on any work you missed later in the day. Being upfront about your plans and telling those who need to know really takes the pressure off of you.
- Your children are bound to interrupt you at times, wanting your attention, so be intentional about scheduling quality time to connect with your kids and plan fun rewards for them. Their lives have also been turned topsy-turvy, so it’s important to recognize how much they need us.
As a boss-mom-coach, Latika teaches moms how to navigate and thrive in their careers while also focusing on themselves. Her upcoming coaching program Navigate & Thrive is a six-week coaching program for working moms, to help them not just survive but even thrive in this current pandemic. If you want support managing your career as a working mom, be sure to connect with Latika to learn more about her program.
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