Is There Such A Thing As Boundaries When You’re A Working Mom?
“Just this morning, I was thinking about all that I accomplish in 24 hours. Most of the time, I’m incredibly thankful to be a working Mom in the 21st century for one main reason: flexibility. But with flexibility, I found, comes this crazy idea that I can cram in even more into my day because, well, I just can! My work day is no longer a set day of 8 hours, but rather as 16 hour days that intertwine work, personal errands, self-care, and whatever else comes up throughout the day all with the intention of keeping my personal and professional life on track. While this system worked beautifully when I didn’t have children, and truthfully it worked okay with one child, it completely short-circuited when I added three kids to the mix. I started dropping the ball in all areas. I would begin tasks, but not complete them. I would find myself physically present with my children, but not emotionally or mentally available. I was often grouchy because I was running myself into the ground. I realized it was time for an intervention. I became open to the idea that I needed to update my own operating system when it comes to getting it all done. So, I took a new approach. I played with the concept of setting boundaries between work, motherhood, marriage, and personal care. Just when you think it isn’t possible to set boundaries as a working Mom, I invite you, for one
week, to experiment with these tips:
1. LIST OUT PERSONAL PRIORITIES NIGHT BEFORE – Keep this to 3 items so that it’s realistic. This will help you really get focus on priorities. Ideas can include: setting up doctors calls, setting up summer camps, ordering a gift, dropping off dry cleaning. (hint: What will give you the greatest relief if you can cross it off your list?)
2. SCHEDULE 1 HOUR OF ‘PERSONAL TIME’ DAILY ON YOUR CALENDAR – This time is to be used for your 3 personal calls and errands. By grouping them together, you’re going to be way more efficient in taking care of personal business, and this will be much less disruptive to your paid job.
3. BE TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES ABOUT YOUR FAMILY TIME– I strongly encourage you to be upfront with your manager and day-to-day colleagues about your needs. This honest communication builds trust and loyalty. For me, my team knows that between 5:00pm and 7pm most days, I’m with my children and I do not answer the phone. I’m available before or after if they need me.
4. REMOVE OBSTACLES – When I’m with my family I’m starting to carry my phone less (gulp!). I’ll admit, it’s not easy. It means I can’t Instagram in that very moment, but my whole intention is to set boundaries so I can feel more present. I encourage you to remove any and all obstacles, and start with your phone!
I’ve implemented these tips and I’m starting to feel human again. I feel a sense of calm, and I’m not running around with so many incomplete tasks around me. I also feel like I’m accomplishing as much as I use to under my old system, but I’m more connected to family, and finally have a few minutes to myself. Give it a go, and let me know how you get along with it.
Happy boundary setting,