How do you cope with raising children and having a successful career? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but as the mom of a two year old and the CEO ofI’ve learned some strategies for balancing work life and home life that help me feel like I “have it all”. Here are a few tactics that I’d recommend to anyone in similar shoes trying to build their career and their family simultaneously.
Find a job with flexibility – Finding flexible work doesn’t mean you have to work part-time, or fewer hours. Flexibility means that you have the ability to do the job on your terms. As a CEO, the demands on me and my time are quite high, but at least I have the flexibility to work from home, or work nights if something comes up with my family during work hours that is more important. Jobs that don’t require you to always be in the office are better for this because you can fit work in around your schedule.
Cut yourself some slack – You don’t have to be all things to all people, all the time. It’s ok to miss work sometimes. It’s ok to do a mediocre job on something even if you have the ability to do it better, just because it will take less time. It’s ok to not be home for bedtime every night. It’s ok to not have home cooked meals. The lower you set the bar for what it means to have a successful career and successful family, the better you’ll feel. The better you feel about your performance, the better worker and parent you will actually be. My recommendation: set the bar at keeping your family relatively healthy and happy and doing the job you’re being paid for at work.
Get support – Just like you probably have co-workers in the office to help you with your job, you need support at home to help you raise your child. Obviously it’s great if you have a partner at home who can help with their fair share (or more) of the childcare duties, but there are other ways to make it work too. Find great childcare. Build a tribe of friends you can rely on in a pinch. Live near family who can help you out. Pay people to cook and clean for you if you can afford that. There’s not one magical configuration but the more support you have, the better. Don’t try to do it all yourself. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Make time for yourself – This is the most important. You’ll be a better worker and a better parent if you put yourself first, at least some of the time. Carving out this time when you prioritize yourself is tough, but do whatever you can to find it. It may mean going for a run before you go into the office, meditating during your lunch break, reading a book before bed, or listening to a podcast you love on your commute. If you make time for yourself and prioritize some of your needs, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to take care of everyone else’s needs.
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