Balancing Work-Life as a Mother: 10 Steps to Happiness
In today’s world, many mothers work both inside and outside of the home. We want it all and we should be able to have it, but is it realistic? Achieving a perfect work-life balance would assume that both parts are created equal, 50/50, and that you can divide your time accordingly. Doing so will result in satisfaction and happiness both at home and at work, right?
In Series 5 Episode 1 of Mums on Cloud Nine, the podcast from Supermums, Heather Black, CEO and Salesforce Career Coach and Trainer, talks about being happy in life and creating the right work life balance for you. Regardless of what ever level of the company you work at, you should focus on living out your values and feeling happy.
As mothers we shouldn’t feel like we have to work in a junior lower skilled role to find balance and we need to remove the myth that women in more senior roles can’t have work life balance, it’s not true. The best female leaders are those that have mastered the key to work-life balance. Ultimately if you are happy in your life then this will lead to better relationships, higher performance and ultimately more success in all areas of your life.
Heather started her journey to improving happiness back in 2019 working with a leadership coach as part of a mastermind group. As a qualified coach myself she knew and appreciated the value of coaching but sometimes you can’t coach yourself to the desired effect, you need a third party. Heather knew that she needed to make a change as the balance she had just wasn’t working for her and she wasn’t fulfilled. She felt exhausted from working so many hours, frustrated at not being able to spend more time with her kids and it was the opposite to what she had set out to achieve.
“I had gone from happily working as a freelance Salesforce Consultant earning a good salary and working part time to making the decision to grow a Salesforce Consultancy team in 2015 which unfortunately put extra, rather than less pressure on me. I had imagined that by growing a team it would be exciting, it would help to share responsibilities of work load so i could continue to work part time and give me a team to bounce ideas of, to some degree it did but it also brought the added pressure of needing to ensure the team performed and we had sufficient income to pay the team each month and my hired employees expected my presence in London at least 3 times a week to create a team environment which was a 4hr round trip at a £90 a day expense. I hadn’t really got the balance right.”
When Heather had her second child in 2016, she had hoped to take a few weeks off and work part time, but when a team member suddenly got offered a better deal and another member of staff left due to family illness, her capacity to work part time became a dream. With a small business and a team to manage, she didn’t have the resources to recruit an acting CEO so Heather powered on, working full time, through sleepless nights with a newborn, commutes to London and juggling business responsibilities all while working round the clock to cover staff shortages. Alongside work challenges, relationships at home began to feel the strain too as they negotiated on child cover and financial arrangements to try and find the right balance as working parents with the expectation that both of had to contribute equally to the family fund.
“I had hit the wall by 2019 and needed help to see the wood for the trees. I needed to make a change but i needed someone to take my hand and guide me through a process to make it a reality. The coaching helped me to make some fundamental shifts that has radically changed my life for the better and i’m back to living my dream life without having to give up leading a company, pausing my career or taking time out. I’m managed to create a work/life balance that makes me happy, which has boosted my performance in work and enjoyment of life.”
Here are 10 areas Heather focussed on to shift her balance and boost her happiness which has improved her quality time with the kids as well as productivity & relationships at work:
1 – Get clear on what happiness looks like for you.
This was the aim i wrote down at the start of the coaching journey, but what does this really mean. How would i describe this goal in more detail? Doing the wheel of life coaching exercise can be a great starting point to really evaluate how you feel about different areas of your life right now honestly and frankly. Be warned it can be painful to really face the reality in some aspects. For those areas you want to improve upon you need to reflect on what a ‘10’ – ultimate happiness would really look and feel like.
2 – Focus on living out your values.
Are you clear on the values that are important to you in life and work? Surprisingly many of us spend little time really evaluating these and bumble through life without alignment. When we are evaluating what makes you happy then you want to be clear on what values are really important to you. You can then make sure you are living them out through everything you do and setting them as the foundation for your work and who you hire so you can check they are aligned.
3 – Spend time being creative.
We need to nurture the creative part of our brain to stimulate ideas, innovations, reflections. This is an essential skill for life and work so its great to do creative activities with the kids as well. You need to find the right environment that stimulates your creativity. Personally i get my most creative work time either walking or swimming or chatting over food with team members or friends. If creativity is important in your workplace then this time commitment should be ‘work’ related, you don’t have to be sat at a desk to be working!
4 – Do the bits you love and delegate the rest.
Get clear on what you really enjoy doing and build a team around you that can do the rest or change job roles so you can focus on your areas of strength. This could be chores at home or at work. Write down all of the things you do and start to assess what you enjoy doing, need to do and what you could delegate. You will find you put off tasks, don’t do them well or you feel drained afterwards. Dissect your role and get clarity on what your strengths are. Personally I love educating people – to inspire and support them on their journey – I enjoy writing and sharing content and delivering training and coaching people who want to learn and develop. As the CEO I now focus my business efforts on Supermums, our strategy and supporting our community by producing meaningful content and delegate the rest of the tasks to a team who are better than me.
5 – Recruit the right team around you.
Having the right team around you should feel energising, supportive and fun. Recruit the right skill set to complement and add value to yours, understand each other better – what motivates them, what their strengths and weaknesses are to set expectations and areas of development, and spend time having fun and working together to foster meaningful relationships. My benchmark of success is that the team and business can run without me if i take time off, it should never be dependent on me. I started using a series of personality profiling tools during the hiring process and during team days to help us build the right team skill and attitude composition so we could understand our strengths and weaknesses better. It’s costly and problematic to hire the wrong people and don’t be afraid to let people go if they aren’t the right fit for your team. Focus on hiring and spending budget on those that are the right fit as you will all excel working together.
6 – Surround yourself with positive people.
It’s time to examine your relationships in your life. Do the people around you support you and your ambitions and bring happiness into your life? Learning about narcissism was a big turning point for me in my life and it highlighted some of the challenges i was facing in my work and life situation. As a person I am focussed on positive intentions and solutions, not blame or criticism. if something isn’t working how do we fix it together. If something went wrong, lets investigate and understand how we do it differently. I can never understand why people would try to put you down, threaten you, bully you, ignore you without any constructive positive conversation until I learnt about narcissism . If you have people around you who try to diminish you then learn more about narcissism and understand if it’s something that effects your life. Be conscious about who you bring and keep in your life and try to surround yourself with people who have positive intentions. Personally i have made some significant relationship changes at work and life and I also actively pay to be work with expert coaches and mentors who instil positivity within me everyday, and this includes my Peloton instructors 🙂 Reduce contact and move away from those that try to bring you down because they have their own mental health, baggage or jealousy.
7 – Build your support network.
I chose to launch Supermums as I wanted to build a network of other mums working in the Salesforce arena and also encourage more mums to launch their career in this space. I was working remotely and couldn’t get to physical meet ups so I wanted to connect virtually with like-minded people. I started to build a community which is now 500+ strong and growing as more mums (and dads) join us in launching their career. I love connecting and supporting my supermums, helping others gives you such a lift in moral. I have also engaged the support of other mentors and trainers who can teach me how to work smarter in certain areas so I perform and achieve more in the time I have available. As parents we need to lean in and ask for help, rather than waste time getting it wrong. Time is of the essence and I have truly loved working learning new things alongside groups of other professionals to provide motivation, accountability and peer support for myself. It is well worth investing in mentoring and training.
8 – Uplifting environments.
Are you happy within your home and work environment. The pandemic created quite a shift for people to re evaluate their living environments when they had to live their full time. It proved a popular time for DIY and cleaning with many houses and rooms getting a facelift. If you need to, take steps to re-arrange a room, clean out cupboards, de-clutter, paint a room, add therapeutic decor like positive affirmations, candles, pictures you love. Get a cleaner if you can’t keep on top of clutter that stresses you out. Be aware of your feelings. Creating environments you love to live in where you will thrive. When i got divorced last year, I bought myself new furniture, repainted, got things fixed and made the space my own. I now spend most of my time at home and have made it my sanctuary. Lovely art work is a must for me..
9 – Setting boundaries.
Get clear on where you want to work – remote, hybrid or in the office that will enable you to juggle things effectively as well as meet your introvert v extrovert communication needs, are you currently overstretching yourself. Ask for more flexibility if you need it or look for another role that might better suit you if it’s not possible. Create boundaries to ring fence parts of your day to concentrate on things rather than feeling like your head is bouncing around all over the place. Blocking time out in your diary for kids, hobbies or reflective work practices so you don’t spend all of your time in meetings… Respect your own and your team’s time off and working patterns so people can enjoy time with their family without interruptions. there is nothing worse than trying to concentrate on your family with work issues rattling around in your head. Notify people if you aren’t working or turn off your notifications too. It’s a two way street to put boundries in place.
10 – Leaning into your Faith.
I leaned back into Christianity during my challenging times and now. For my 20’s and 30’s I had withdrawn from church after a period of teenage turbulence but on hitting my 40’s I leaned back in and prayed every night asking for Gods help to keep me safe, to give me guidance on areas of my life and trusting in the decisions he was helping me to make by what felt right in my heart. We should trust in our instinct, it is a belief that we know what is right. Our heart should rule over our head with thoughtful reflection. Do you have a belief you can lean into to give you further guidance and support?
Series 5 – Mums on Cloud Nine Podcast (MOCN)
Series 5 is launching on Monday 20th June.
During this podcast series, we share tips and tricks around launching and furthering your career, and also how to manage that work-life balance, so you can create those career opportunities without compromise, burnout or stress. We’re also going to share coaching tools and techniques and insights from some incredible guests.
Stronger Women Summit 22 – Have you signed up yet?
To celebrate our series 5 launch of MOCN podcast, we are also hosting our next Stronger Women Summit 22 to give women the opportunity to experience the power of coaching tools and techniques to help them thrive and achieve their life and career goals. Join Supermums and a series of speakers across 4 days for this FREE event from 5 – 8 July.
We hosted this event in 2020 and over 1000 women registered. Don’t miss this years Stronger Women Summit 22.
Join the Ambitious Women Mastermind?
Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Scared of progression? Feeling burn’t out?
At Supermums we love to empower people to thrive as a Salesforce professional. We achieve this through empowering them with coaching. Our coaching programme is available to any Salesforce professional and includes an amazing line up of speakers and topics to help you achieve your life and career goals.
Supermums is kindly sponsored by..
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