As a wife, mother of two, and now a new business owner, I was asked to write a guest blog post for Des Moines Parent on creating a work/life balance. I was incredibly honored to be asked and said yes immediately. A few minutes later sheer panic set in as I began to think about my own work/life balance because, in reality, I have yet to achieve this myself.
Work demands, especially while trying to start a new business, require long days and weeks of barely seeing your family and friends. This can be incredibly stressful, and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. At The Goddard School, I see parents drop their children off early and pick them up late in the day. I’m sure many of these parents are feeling the challenge of balancing their work and family lives. So it begs the question, is attaining a healthy balance between your career and family life an achievable goal?
I think so.
As I search for the answer, two things quickly occur to me. First, I am blessed to have great support at home. My family has been amazing at understanding the pressure I feel starting my new endeavor and have been incredibly supportive. Their involvement and continued support has made my journey so much easier. Secondly, I understand that I am not the only person who is going to make the school successful; I am blessed to have an unbelievably talented and passionate faculty of people who are helping me achieve this. Without them, the business would not survive.
So, I need to accept that I am not alone in my role as a wife, mother and business owner. By accepting that I am not alone, I need to focus on using the strengths found in both my work and family life to help me establish my healthy balance.
Here are five goals I personally, am working toward to achieve a work/life balance. I understand it’s not going to happen overnight but, as long as I keep my vision of achieving this brightly shining goal in front of me, I will get there. I hope these thoughts help you as well.
- The Art of Saying No. I can’t do everything or please everyone. This is an impossible reality that I have managed to wrap my head around quite rapidly throughout this process. I am beginning to saying no to many of the requests that I encounter each day, and concentrate on only saying yes to what I can reasonably accomplish. One of the keys to this is understanding the talent around me. If successful, I will begin to feel less of the basket case I was becoming.
- Letting the guilt go. This is something every mother deals with. We are never living up to what many in our society view as the “perfect mom” standards. And that’s okay. No one is perfect. The guilty feelings sap my energy and interfere with my life balance. So, let it go.
- It’s okay to ask for help. There is no rule saying I have to do it all by myself. I mentioned the amount of support and talent around me. People are happy to help. I just have to remember to ask them. When I try to handle everything, it can be more harmful than good. If I have too much on my plate, everything suffers. It’s ok to seek and utilize other’s help.
- This is not going to happen overnight. There are so many bumps in the road to work through during the infancy phase of opening a new business. At times, I feel like if I don’t have the answer to every possible thing that comes my way, I am in some way failing. The truth is, I don’t have the answer to every question and I am finding that others are very understanding. I am learning patience and am more accepting of the time it takes to make things work out.
- Making time for me. This may be the most difficult to accomplish, but it is absolutely crucial in creating a work-life balance. As time goes on, I am figuring out what I really need in order to find peace. It’s nothing extravagant by any means, but taking an hour or two a few times a week to go to yoga, or have dinner with my girlfriends is not being selfish. It’s being real, and it will ultimately be what will help me achieve this healthy work/life balance.
Liz Smith is the owner of The Goddard School located in Waukee. Originally from Minnesota, Liz has lived in the Des Moines area for 13 years, and is a wife and mother of two boys ages 5 and 8. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching her boys play hockey, reading and traveling. Liz’s passion for early childhood education came at a young age and grew exponentially when she had her own children.