As working mothers, our first instinct is to be the caretaker of all things in business, whether we work for someone or work for ourselves, and to be the saving grace in our homes. We’re the doctor, therapist, teacher, playmate, sexy wife, chef, cleaning service, and whatever else our families need.
As women, we’ve been brainwashed by society, our cultures, and our upbringing to be able to do it all. It’s the expectation, we’ve grown up watching our mothers, grandmothers, and tv moms do it. They’ll come home from work, help with homework, drive the kids to practice and still make it home in time to cook a beautiful meal that the family enjoys. So it’s only natural to want to be what we’ve seen.
But there was a side that we weren’t privy to, a side of working motherhood that wasn’t talked about because it didn’t fit the narrative of being the “good working mom.” The mom who’s able to do it all, keep it all together, look good, and never say no. The side of motherhood where the mom is burned-out. When mom is overwhelmed, she’s tired and has reached her breaking point. Why? Because being a “good working mom” by society’s standards is not sustainable.
After spending the past 2 years living through a pandemic and trying to find a new sense of normalcy, working moms realize that trying to do it all and be everything is a burden they no longer want to bear. Life post-pandemic has shined a light on the cracks in the workforce. Companies aren’t providing working moms with the resources they need. Working moms are struggling with access to quality childcare, managing household duties, trying to make time for spouses, and friends, accessing mental health resources, and trying to find a work-life balance. Some working moms are even leaving the workforce because the weight of doing it all has become too much.
But what about the rest of us, how do we find a healthy work-life balance? The answer is probably something you’ve been hearing a lot about, self-care.
When women hear self-care, they often think of things like bubble baths, luxurious vacations, manicures, pedicures, and massages. There are many ways to define self-care, but in its simplest form, self-care is taking an active role in protecting one’s well-being and happiness. Self-care comes in many forms, and for working moms, it must include things you do to keep you sane while you work. Professional self-care is the practice you do to help you feel more fulfilled, balanced, and happy in your career.
This is going to look different for every mom. However, there are some professional self-care practices that all moms, regardless of career level, should implement.
Make your workspace a place you enjoy
If you’re spending most of your day behind a desk or even if you’re working remotely. Your workspace should be inviting. When you walk into it. It should feel like a place you want to be. You’re spending most of your day there why not make it a space you feel joy? A place that inspires you and keeps you motivated even if it isn’t always an easy place to be. If you aren’t experiencing any of these feelings when you walk in, it’s time to spruce things up.
You can keep it simple by putting your children’s artwork on the walls or hanging paintings you like. You can also use affirmations as wall decor. Fill your desk with portraits of your family, and maybe add a candle or vase in which you keep fresh flowers. These simple yet effective additions to your workspace will help you feel good in your office or workspace.
Boundaries are a form of self-care. They’re important. They protect you and teach people how to treat you. Boundaries are needed in our relationships with our loved ones and definitely in the workplace. One thing we know for a fact is that many companies have expectations of their employees, and the mental and physical well-being of the employees suffer as a result.
This is why you must have boundaries with your employers. Often working moms complain about employers expecting them to always be available even after working hours. When you wake up in the morning, your first thought shouldn’t be to check your work email. Whatever your working hours are, that’s when you should be working unless you choose to. That shouldn’t be the expectation. Be clear with your employer about your time and how you will show up at work. Put your phone on DND when you get off of work and turn it off as you walk into the office so that you can prioritize family and your own needs.
Take Your Lunch
If you’re still working through lunch or skipping lunch altogether this week and every week, you need to make sure you take your lunch. Not at your desk, not in your office. Treat yourself to lunch, even at a food truck, your local Starbucks, or a place by your job that you’ve always wanted to try. Lunch is supposed to be a time to rest, recharge and fuel your body. So why is your lunch not a priority?
Working through lunch isn’t going to make you a better employee. It’s just teaching your boss and you that you’re willing to sacrifice your needs. We talked about boundaries already. Lunch is important! Whether it’s 45 minutes or an hour and a half, that’s the time designated for you to get a break. So take your break, mama. Work will be there when you’re finished eating. You’ll also be ready and charged to power through the rest of your day.
Your professional self-care is important to you in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When you have strong boundaries, make your workspace a place you enjoy being in, and take your lunch. You’re telling yourself that you matter, and that’s at the core of self-care. Which of these professional self-care practices do you need to implement? Share in the comments below!
Bio: Treanna Neufville is a working mom mentor, self-care and beauty blogger, boy mom, and wife whose passion lies in helping working moms live a life they’re passionate about while looking and feeling good.