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Ditching Work-Life Balance for Work-Life Harmony

We’ve all seen those ads depicting what life is “supposed” to look like as a working mom. You know, the ones where the baby is giggling on the floor while the mom closes a deal on the phone — flawlessly flipping between being a businesswoman and a doting mom. But let’s face it; that perfect work-life “balance” and having it all only exists in the media. Instead, what I’ve been aiming for in my entrepreneurial endeavors is work-life harmony. If you’re in a season of juggling multiple responsibilities, wearing the hats of both business and loving parent, all while seeking to find harmony between your personal and professional lives — I wrote this for you. In this article, I’ll unpack the nuances of work-life harmony and how I try my best to embrace the season I’m in.

Women, Work, and Work-Life Harmony

The history of women's entry into the U.S. workforce is as much about societal expectations as it is about numbers. While 18th and 19th-century women were vital economic contributors, producing and trading goods, industrialization shifted their roles primarily to caregiving and homemaking. The 20th century, however, witnessed a rebirth in women's professional roles. From single women in manufacturing to married women in clerical jobs, a transformative "quiet revolution" in the late 20th century saw a rise in young mothers pursuing careers, aided by more resources to help with family planning.

Yet the 21st century presents a paradox. Although women have broken countless barriers, their labor force participation started to plateau and even decline around 2000, a trend unique to the U.S. among developed nations. This dip hints at the larger issue of our society's inadequate family-friendly policies and the burdensome expectations on working mothers. Today's woman, especially the working mother, grapples with the weight of home and work responsibilities — often carrying the lion's share of "invisible labor." To add to it all, we’re still reeling from COVID-19 and the difficult dynamics that many families face in the aftermath.

The modern narrative isn't about working women "having it all" in the traditional sense. It's about redefining success, accepting the messiness of life, and striving for work-life harmony rather than a perfect balance. Only then can we move towards a future where working women — or better yet, working families — can thrive even amidst chaotic seasons of life. 

What is Work-Life Harmony?

If you are reading this and wondering how the heck you’re going to find work-life harmony, you’re not alone! Most days, it feels like I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off… especially when the unexpected happens, like when my son gets sick and then my whole week gets thrown off!

We hear a lot about work-life balance, but seriously, who's got that down perfectly? For me, it's not about a perfect balance, but finding peace amidst the juggling act. Being a mom and having a career means that I might not ever have enough time for everything. So, I’ve found my rhythm with helpful systems in place: like getting help from a babysitter, leaning on family, and making the most of those golden nap times to write articles like this!

Harmony is about embracing imperfections, leaning into the imbalance, enjoying the moments, and learning to love the life stage you're in.

Practical Ways to Move Towards Harmony

So, how do we lean into work-life harmony right here, right now? As you might imagine, the topic is nuanced and complex. A lot of the solutions lie in changing policies at a systematic level. What I’m proposing today, however, are small ways we embrace work-life harmony as we continue to work towards better working environments for families of all shapes and sizes. 

Embrace the Power of Single-Tasking

Multi-tasking might seem like the ultimate productivity hack, but research suggests otherwise. Studies have shown that the human brain performs more efficiently with less mistakes when focused on one task at a time. Embrace the power of single-tasking to enhance your productivity and reduce stress both in “work mode” and at home. By dedicating your attention to one task before moving on to the next, you'll experience increased efficiency and a more present approach to both work and family.

Pursue a Hobby to Recharge

Amidst the hustle of entrepreneurship and motherhood, I find it hard sometimes to make time for things that spark joy and creativity. Anytime I do prioritize it, I see that pursuing a hobby not only provides a much-needed break from daily responsibilities but also enhances my overall well-being. Whether it's reading, having a laugh with friends, or working out, dedicating time to things you enjoy allows you to recharge, making you more energized and inspired in your professional and personal life.

Prioritize Your Health

As parents, we often prioritize the well-being of our families and businesses, sometimes neglecting our own health. Remember that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity. Make time for your physical and mental health, whether it's attending therapy sessions, engaging in regular exercise, or simply taking a 20-minute walk every day to clear your mind. A healthy and happy you will positively impact both your family and your working life.

Advocate for Yourself in the Workplace

No matter where you work outside (or inside!) the home, you are not just a business owner but also a valuable employee. Advocate for yourself in the workplace, whether it's negotiating fair compensation, asking for additional support, or discussing flexible work arrangements. Your voice and needs deserve to be heard and respected.

Plan Ahead

Weekly scheduling can be a game-changer for mompreneurs. Take time each week, either on Sunday or Monday, to plan out the upcoming week. Allocate specific time slots for business tasks, family commitments, self-care, and quality time with loved ones. A well-structured schedule ensures that you have a clear roadmap for the week ahead — reducing stress and enhancing productivity.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

We can't do it all, and that's absolutely fine. Don't hesitate to seek help, whether it's delegating tasks in your business or enlisting support for household chores. Remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It allows you to focus on what truly matters.

Take Micro Vacations for Mental Recharge

Taking time to unplug and get out of the day-to-day grind is essential for your well-being. Even if it's just a night away from your usual environment, a micro vacation provides a mental recharge that can work wonders. Unplug from work emails and immerse yourself in the moment. Enjoy quality time with family or engage in leisure activities that bring joy — even if it’s just one night away or somewhere close to home!

Embrace the Imbalance

In the pursuit of work-life harmony, life happens, and we need to embrace the moments of imbalance. There will be times when one aspect of life requires more attention than the other. Instead of feeling guilty, remember that this is a natural part of the journey. By accepting the imbalance, you can navigate these moments with grace and without self-judgment.

Seek Supportive Connections

Connect with other working parents who understand the unique challenges of the season you’re in. Engaging in supportive communities or networking with like-minded individuals provides a safe space to share experiences, seek advice, and find camaraderie in this rewarding yet demanding journey.

Set Realistic Boundaries

As a working mom, you might often find yourself juggling numerous responsibilities and demands. It's essential to set clear boundaries and learn to say no when necessary. Understand that saying no is not a sign of weakness; rather, it's a demonstration of self-awareness and self-care.

Set realistic expectations for yourself and communicate these boundaries to your clients, colleagues, and family. By establishing healthy limits, you can prevent burnout and ensure that you have the time and energy to devote to the things that matter most to you.

Wrapping Up

Navigating the tightrope of career aspirations and familial responsibilities requires something more realistic than “balance” — it demands harmony. While the age-old narrative paints a picture of perfection for working mothers, the reality is far from it. Embracing the concept of work-life harmony allows us to move beyond mere "balance" and appreciate the intertwined complexities of professional and personal roles. In this ongoing journey, let's champion a future where work-life harmony isn't just an ideal but a lived experience — celebrating both the chaotic and happy moments that shape our unique stories as working mothers. And, if you have any insights you want to add to this conversation, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me a message today!

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