The life of a female leader is always busy and hectic. But, when that busy leader adds “mum” to her list of titles, there is even more to balance. Our children quickly jump to the number one slot on our list of priorities, and it is also still important to maintain your position as an effective and respected leader at work. Here are five tips for helping balance the two.
- Prioritise your tasks at home and at work. You will need help managing some tasks in order to prevent having too many things on your plate. Find things you can completely turn over to others, and then stop trying to manage those yourself. For example, it may be time to hire a housekeeper at home, so that when you’re there with your family, you don’t have to spend time cleaning. Look for tasks at work that you can delegate, as well.
- Learn how, and when, to work from home. Working from home can buy back the hours you spend commuting, allowing you to get more done in a day. It is important, however, to carefully choose when to work from home. As a leader, it is critical to continue to maintain a physical presence in the office for important meetings and other highly visible events. When you are working from home, be certain that you are still available to your team in a focused way. Team members and customers shouldn’t feel like you are distracted or disconnected when they are on the phone with you. Using some form of video conferencing software such as Lync is a great idea to maintain that face to face contact whilst still allowing the flexibility of being offsite.
- Have reliable childcare. A good childcare provider is one of your most important assets. You should have faith in the provider, so that your mind can be focused at work, rather than worried about the baby. In addition, your childcare provider must be reliable, so that you aren’t always scrambling when the babysitter is sick, or has something else come up. It is a good idea, however, to have a backup provider regardless of how reliable your regular one might be.
- Take time off. Balancing everything everyday is tough. Recharge your batteries by consciously allotting some time off from work. When you plan this in advance, you can ensure that everything in the office is in order, so that you can really focus on ‘taking a break’. With young children, having a break doesn’t always mean taking a trip, but it should mean taking time to slow down and enjoy your family.
- Maintain confidence in both roles. Don’t apologise at work for having to take care of your family, and don’t apologise at home for having a career. Take the time to plan activities for both roles so that you are well organised and prepared for the unexpected. Once you have done these things, you can thrive both as a mother and as a leader, so long as you feel and express confidence in your abilities in both arenas.