Let’s talk a little more about work life balance. The juggle is real. When you have it right it is so so good. When it is all out of balance it can so much pain. I feel like from the moment I had my first child it is something I have been striving to get it right.
Here is what I know already –
Leaving it at the door –
I work as an early childhood educator so this one took me a long time to find that balance. I was going to work for 8 hours coming home and catching up on work for the remainder of the night, and through the weekends. It really was no wonder I was burning out so quickly. After lots of tears and feeling like I was failing at everything in my life I stopped and looked at what I could do differently. I knew I needed to leave work at work and home at home. Admittedly I still do the odd bit of work at home, but it is manageable. I looked at what work I was bringing home and if there was a better way to organise myself to lessen this amount. It did take time to drop it back, but it is doable. I started by scheduling a set time for work at home. If I couldn’t get it completed in that time, then I always had the next day. It really wasn’t going anywhere- and the world was not going to end. This is what I told myself and this mindset change was key for me.
Taking time out for yourself –
This is a big one for me. It is so important to put yourself first. My husband said to me one day that I can’t pour from an empty cup all the time. He was right, my cup was so empty. I was running around at work bending over backwards to be the perfect employee, and then doing the exact thing at home. Striving to be what was considered the perfect wife and Mum. This wasn’t a sustainable way to live my life and I hit breaking point.
I was, scratch that, still am someone who finds it really hard to say no. I’m a people pleaser and don’t want to disappoint. I am still learning to say no, remembering that you can still be a good person with a kind heart and still say no. I said yes to taking on a minor leadership role, which led to saying yes to more days at work, yes to another role within my centre, which led to more hours. Which led to saying yes to backfilling the assistant director to then saying yes to being the assistant director. 10 months later after a mental break I learnt to start saying no. I have stepped back from the role of assistant director and now work 3 days a week. Financially we are in struggle town not going to lie there. But I needed to put myself first. No one else will know what is best for you then you!
This is so important for both at work and at home.
For years I was going to work and then coming home and complaining about what I wasn’t happy about at work. My husband would get so frustrated because he would tell me to stand up and say something, but I hate doing that so the cycle would continue. This went on for years. It wasn’t until I broke down that I began to slowly communicate what it is that I need to be successful at my job. Now I have found my voice. I’m in a role that suits myself and my family and the hours are working. Right now at this time I feel like I have balance at work and I really believe that has come from being clear with my communication at work.
At home having clear communication helps in ensuring all those daily routines happen. We talk about what shifts I have and making a plan around work, sport etc. Its really just the simple things, like knowing that I will be working late so ensuring a slow cooker meal is on so the evening runs smoother.
Let others help
Hands up if you are like me and don’t ask for help! I mean like ever. I was brought up that you don’t ask for help, you don’t let people know that you can’t do something. Because of this I honestly did not know how to even ask for help. Even when someone could see me struggling and ask if I needed a hand. Nope I would smile and politely say that I’ve got this. To put it out there just in case you were thinking differently – I didn’t have it, not even for a second! So, when I stepped into the role of Assistant Director, I was responsible for everyone’s shifts and rostering. ‘I’ve got this it’s all ok’ was my catch phrase I swear. Did I mention that I stepped into the role when COVID finally decided to spread through our little town? Well, it was a complete shit storm to say the least. But instead of me letting others help out with the load, I kept on saying ‘I’ve got this.’ I was working 60+ hour weeks and then some. I missed out on so much for those 10months. So no, sometimes you don’t got this and the best thing you can do is to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak in fact I believe it makes you 10x stronger because you are supported.
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