This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.
I’m proud to partner with Olay on this content. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
One of the questions I’m asked most is how I find “balance” as a working mom of two. As you know, I work both outside of the home full-time and run this blog as a business. It has taken me a while to identify the best ways to manage being a mom, wife, co-worker, business owner and all of the other roles I have and today, I’m partnering with Olay to share the ways I’ve overcome some of the challenges of working motherhood.
I FOUND MY PASSION
I know “find your passion” sounds cheesy – but I mean it. It was really important to me to be in a job I loved before I had children. I knew it would be difficult to go back to work after I had children, even though I knew I wanted to be a working mom. That’s why I worked really hard to get the job I truly loved for an organization whose mission I believed in. The work I do brings me fulfillment and that is so critical and helps lessen the “mom guilt.”
I was in a really awful, high-stress job prior to working where I do now and I could not have continued working in that environment as a mother. It wasn’t sustainable or emotionally healthy and I knew I had to get out before having children. Whether you have children already or are thinking about it, make your number one work priority to find a job you love with an organizational culture that will meet your needs as a parent.
I ASKED FOR WHAT I NEEDED
Do you ever wish you could alter your hours, earn a higher salary, take on larger projects or be promoted? Speak up! Advocate for yourself and keep conversations about career growth or your needs for work/life balance a regular part of the conversation with your managers. The more we make this the norm in the workplace, the better it will be for all women and mothers.
I was determined to give my children breast milk for a year and talked to my manager about the accommodations I needed for pumping, which allowed me to meet my goal. I try to come to work early so I can leave a little bit early and beat traffic. This is a small way I make my work life a little more flexible, even if it’s just 15 minutes – those 15 minutes mean a lot for me!
If you need to alter your hours for your commute, would like to work from home one day a week, or would like to leave work early once a month to attend a special event at your child’s daycare or school – ask for it! Don’t let resentment build up because you think you can’t have something. If you don’t ask, you will never know.
I BECAME COMFORTABLE SAYING NO
Sometimes both at work and in our personal lives, we take on too much, make too many commitments or feel obligated to do something we don’t want to do, all at the expense of our own mental sanity. It’s OK to say no. In fact, there are a lot of things you should say no to and not feel one ounce of guilt about it!
There’s nothing wrong with limiting commitments you make outside of work so you can be with your family more. There’s nothing wrong with forwarding an email to someone else when you’re asked to do something that isn’t part of your role. There’s so much pressure for women to take on so much both at work and at home – but the more comfortable you become with “no,” the more aligned you’ll feel.
Sometimes saying “no” looks like a messy house because something had to give during a busy work week. Sometimes saying “no” means I only post one blog a week because I need to be with my family or I’m feeling burned out. Sometimes saying “no” looks like unfinished projects, because I need to binge on Netflix to unwind instead of dealing with my to-do list. Every single time I seem to be “falling behind” in one area of life, it’s because I’m saying no to something else and I’ve recognized that’s healthy. You can’t let the fear of not doing it all consume you.
I STOPPED CARING WHAT OTHERS THINK
We spend a lot of time at work so it’s natural to worry about what others think of us and our work. But the only person you need to care about are the people who oversee your work. Know your goals and results and be confident in them. Don’t over-explain or justify anything. If you’re accomplishing your goals and treating people with respect, then needlessly worrying just adds stress to your work life that isn’t productive.
I’ve had instances where I’ve worried about what people think if I have to leave early to attend my child’s school event or if I have to work from home because my child is sick. I used to feel immense guilt over it but when I asked myself why – I never had an answer that made sense because those once-in-awhile instances didn’t change what kind of employee I was. I’ve heard the saying “you’ll never look back on your life and wish you had worked more” – so I give myself the grace I deserve when my family needs me, knowing it doesn’t take away from anything I accomplish in the workplace.
I STOPPED BELIEVING IN BALANCE AS A GOAL
“Balance” is such a buzzword. It’s what is regarded as #goals for working moms. I’ve said it before, but balance isn’t really something to aspire to. It’s a myth. Like I said above, when my house is perfectly clean, it’s probably because my work week wasn’t too crazy and I barely blogged. When my house is a disaster, it’s because my kids and job have kept me too busy to prioritize home tasks. When I post to my blog four times a week, it’s because I’ve let other obligations slide down my priority list. There is no balance, there are just tasks, obligations and commitments and how you choose to prioritize them from week to week.
Believing life as a working mom should be balanced is in and of itself harmful. It puts undue pressure to “do it all,” leaving us feeling drained, burned out and like we’re dropping balls all over the place. It’s much easier to accept that life has ebbs and flows, that unfinished doesn’t mean you’ve failed and that every day is a chance to start over.
I’ve always enjoyed sharing my real and raw thoughts on motherhood and on being a working mom and that includes facing challenges. I’m proud to partner with Olay today to share an incredible fearless female who has faced adversity and overcome many challenges. Through this partnership, I learned that female pilots make up just 6% of the aviation industry (source: CN traveler) and to randomly meet a female pilot in U.S. you would have to shake hands with 5,623 women (source: Crew Training International).
Watch this video to see how Tristan faces adversity with the power of Olay behind her. I hope that by sharing all of our stories we can feel supported and encouraged as women to overcome our own fears, pursue our passions and be the best women and mothers we can be.
.* all photos are by Olive Shoot Photography