As I sit here writing this I’m watching my daughters swim lap after lap at swimming squad. It’s 7am and a stunning Sydney day. The sun is peeking through the swimming flags as I watch my daughters swimming caps glide along the lanes. If only the entire day was spent like this, being in the moment without the 7am buzz and thoughts going through my mind.
I have a business to run, clients to juggle and staff to manage. Not to mention school lunches, excursion forms and packing bags for sport and music after school. It’s a juggle and as any working mother (or father) will know, sometimes a hard one. A lot of planning is involved to create the right balance and manage a family, house, food, shopping and bills. Whilst also needing to be creative, driven and present in work.
All women are amazing and I know some truly exceptional ones who were happy to share their tips for creating a balanced life.
Genevieve Smart is one half of the successful duo Ginger and Smart. She has two children and when asked how she keeps her balance with work life and home life, she explained the following. “I’ve learnt that the closest I get to balance is when I keep work and family life apart. When I’m at work I have to be completely focused on what I need do and when I’m with my family I switch off from work and try not to look at my phone or emails. When I juggle work and family together, it all falls apart.” And the tips she finds helpful in balancing a busy life? “When I am super busy the first things to go can be the very things that keep me going like exercise or meditation. I try to keep these in place and have learnt to say no sometimes. I am also mad about a schedule.”
Deborah Sams is another entrepreneur, in 2005 she and Mary-Lou Ryan started the brand Bassike which has become a cult fashion label globally. Sams has a young son and her tips for managing the family/ work life balance ? “It is always a challenge and a delicate balance prioritising your work and children. It is also important to create time and space for yourself. Mediation twenty minutes, twice a day gives me clarity of mind and leaves me feeling grounded and calm. I also make a conscious effort to do yoga 3 times per week and try to walk to the beach with my family. When I exercise I am less stressed and have more energy and am able to handle the demands of running a business and being a mother.”
I asked Emily Weight, Director of Strategy and Brand of IMG Fashion what rules she lives by. She shared with me the following;
1. A company that understands your double life, and is flexible to allow for life to sometimes interfere with work.
2. A regular weekly schedule – 1 night for family time, 1 night for me, 1 night for my husband to go out, and 1 night together.
3. An understanding partner, who can help tuck in the little ones, turn up to school concerts or just ensure no one is missing mummy, when work takes over your life. Because lets be real, sometimes it does.
4. Endless lists and calendars to ensure nothing gets missed or forgotten from either of my workloads !
“After all this advice, the truth is, I don’t have any tips or tricks that make it easy or balance. It’s a constant juggle and one I often fail at. At the end of the day, If you love your job, and your family, you’ll find a way to make both work.”
For me, well it’s a work in progress. When I’m with my daughters I try to be 100% present. Digital media is a tricky beast and I still find myself reaching for my phone to look at my social media business as soon as my eyes open. My phone is my office and as they say “bad habits are hard to break”. So now it’s easier if I leave my phone behind altogether. Sundays my phone is off. Right now, writing this, it is early but I have my work cap on. The minute my daughters take their swimming caps off, I’ll take mine off too so that our time together will be that of quality. I’ve found it’s those personal boundaries I need to put in place and those goals I need to set myself. It’s about breaking bad habits and making the balance work for you. But in reality, we all have good days and bad days. No one is perfect and everyone is faced with different daily challenges. It’s about being realistic.
And if all else fails ? Red wine. Amazing what a great pinot noir can do.