If we could sum up motherhood under the umbrella of one skill, it would most likely be juggling. Yes, with a hundred-and-one things to do, being a mum can often feel like trying to keep your balance on a unicycle while attempting to keep more balls than you can juggle in the air!
According to recent research carried out by Baby Dove, this is a very relatable concept. Indeed, the study revealed that a staggering 81 percent of Irish mums have admitted to finding it hard to balance spending time with their child and fulfilling other obligations.
Now, Baby Dove doesn't believe there is a right or wrong way to bring up your little one - everyone's journey is different and unique; but, here, we're sharing a few tips that mums have found useful when trying to find that balance between motherhood, work and life, themselves.
Put a schedule in place
While no one can get around to everything they need to do in one day, organised people tend to fare much better than those without a plan or schedule in place. With so many tasks and responsibilities of any given day, we can often be left wondering how on Earth we can fit it all in – and where we can squeeze in quality time with our loved ones. Creating a schedule and allotting a specific time slot for everything – and making sure to stick to it – can make life, and striking that balance infinitely easier for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and no amount of careful planning is going to make you feel better, it could be time to ask for help. Sit down with your partner and let them know how you are feeling; that you need a little more support. Together, come up with a plan – would it help to divide up responsibilities more evenly between you? Or is it time that you invested in childcare? Whatever the solution may be, just remember that you should never be afraid to ask for help.
Scrap the idea of perfection
It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, and to be everywhere at once – so why would you waste your time and energy trying to live up to some skewed image of ‘perfection’? There is no such thing as ‘a perfect mum’ – we’re all just out here trying to do our best, and that is good enough. Be kind to yourself, and don’t beat yourself up if you get overwhelmed; go back to basics, assess what is important, and ask for help with the rest if you need it.
Be realistic and kind to yourself at work
OK, so it won’t always be possible for you to walk out of the door at 5:30pm without another thought about that big presentation, but this should be the exception. As a rule, try your very best to leave your work – and any work-related stresses – in the office. By not bringing your work home with you where possible, you get a much-needed break and time to focus on other aspects of your home life.
Sometimes, you just have to say ‘no’
Yes, we all want to be the kind friend or in-law who will always be there to help someone out; but in reality, that’s not always possible – and you shouldn’t feel bad over that. If you’re already struggling to find a balance in your own life, you can’t possibly be expected to add the responsibilities of others to your plate. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing to be kind and helpful to others; but if it’s going to make finding the balance more difficult for you, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
Create a food plan
Mealtimes can be stressful for mums, with the constant pressure to serve up tasty and nutritious dinners that the whole family will love. You may find yourself asking, ‘How can we possibly find the time to do this every day?’ Well, the honest answer is that we can’t always – which is why a food plan can be a total lifesaver! Sit down with your pen and paper, and write out a list of meals to make for the week. Next, write down a list of all the ingredients you need, and bring it with you on your weekly shop. Pick a night of the week where you can batch-cook and meal prep for the week, then cook it all up and put it into the fridge or freezer. Then, simply consult your plan each night, and prep as required.
Try to make some quality time for yourself
Sometimes we need some ‘me time’, to decompress and chill out while doing something we enjoy. This could be an important part of your day, that you can prioritise; and while you might not think so, taking this time could actually really help to get the balance right between work, life and motherhood. If you’re taking time to focus on yourself and your happiness, you could therefore be able to take on the rest of your day and responsibilities with renewed gusto and enthusiasm.