International Mother’s Day is celebrated every second Sunday of May which has just passed several days ago. The celebration is about a day to honor mothers. Women were given the special privilege of being a mother. Yet, women also still have a choice to become full-time mothers or working mothers, which both choices are equally great as long as we can understand the responsibilities. Even though working mothers have the right to choose, we can not deny, there is still some stigma about whether a working mother can handle the responsibilities at work and as a mother at the same time, also doubting a working mother to have a greater career path and follow their passion to the fullest.
The truth is, the opportunity to become successful in a career is equal for everyone who is passionate about it, including mothers. There are a lot of successful women who can be the leaders of strong companies and yet can maintain their happy families. Violet Lim, CEO and co-founder of Lunch Actually – a pioneer and leading dating agency in 5 countries and also the mother of two, is one of the living proof that women can be equally great as successful career women and a mother.
Violet is the woman behind 4.500+ happy marriages and 150,000+ dates – who has become a role model not only for her children but also to more than 100+ associates under her company. She can maintain her responsibilities in both different roles by applying work-life balance to her lifestyle.
According to Violet, women need to use their strengths to their advantage. Stay hungry and focus on things you yourself can control – your drive, your perseverance, your tenacity. For example, rather than taking on a more masculine persona to blend in with the guys, we can leverage our fluid communication and interpersonal skills to achieve our objectives.
Here are Violet’s top tips to have work-life balance for women:
Change the mindset
Everyone has a different definition of success, but remember that there is NO perfect life. It’s okay to not be perfect as long as you try your best in everything. Try to change your mindset from ‘being a perfect mother’ to ‘being a happy mother’ and ‘always achieve 100% of my target at work’ into ‘achieve at least exceed the minimum target’ and put your best to get your mindset into reality.
Set your goals and priority
Your career goal may be to reach CEO level by the time you’re 40, your relationship goal may be to be married with 2 children also by 40, or your family goal may have your children get the best education by your 50s. Once you have set the overall goal, you need to break this down into measurable, manageable steps. You may also need to realign your expectations!
If you want a promotion, you don’t just do nothing and wait for it to happen, right? Instead, you put the work in, upgrade your skill and also try hard to achieve the target. Same with your family, if you plan to have your children in the best school, make sure you have time to accompany your children to study, not only pushing them to study alone or with their teacher.
Create daily plan
Implementing time management would help you to be more focused and productive at work. Break down your ‘to-do list’ for work, create a time estimation, and plan to get it done. Also, create your family plan, for example, meal plan, holiday plan, quality time with your partner, etc. Make sure to schedule it beforehand, so there will not be a ruined schedule.
Set boundaries and work hours
Separating your life with your work would ensure that you would have time set aside for your family every day. Start blocking out time when you are off duty. That means no checking emails, answering phone calls, or even thinking about work. When work hours are over, make sure you’re focusing on your family and spending time with them.
Find positive role models
Look at the people around you – colleagues, friends, relatives who seem to have it all. A loving family, healthy relationship, a booming career, and a clear sense of happiness/fulfillment. They can inspire you to achieve the same balance of career and love. Observing their behavior and values. Do they always work until 11 pm every day or do they dedicate every 2-3 nights per week to investing in their personal life? Do they frequently cancel family dinner because they have a morning meeting tomorrow or do they know spending time with their family is important?
Don’t forget to make time for your friends & yourself too
Balancing work and life isn’t just about making room for the family. You’ve got to make room for your existing friends and also yourself. We all need time like this to kick back and unwind with people we love. Going out with your friends will remind you how great your life already is, and help you appreciate it more. Having quality time with yourself is also important since you will know how you’re doing, remember your limits, keep up with yourself, acknowledge yourself for how far you’ve become and update your life plan.
It takes a lifetime commitment to becoming a working mother. The responsibilities are even bigger because working mothers need to do double jobs and it does not suit everyone. There is no single person in the world who can satisfy everyone, there always be critics or complaints about everything we do even though we did our best. DO NOT try to pay for other people’s expectations! We, working mothers, know that the decisions we made, the actions we took, and also the hard work we did, are all for the benefit of our family. Try your best to have a work-life balance, and let’s be happy with the rest.