The struggle of the juggle is a topic very dear to my heart as a working mother of three, a Director, a Chairperson, a wife and an individual.
So what is the struggle of the juggle? When I asked some of the key New Zealand women I know, they talked about this being the reality that you are in a continuous cycle of compromise. It is about the constant struggle to get on top of both your work and personal life. For some the biggest challenge is having to juggle a demanding job that requires travel, inflexible hours, demands of managing people and projects, as well as trying to spend quality time with family, and run a household. In fact, one of the key learnings I have seen while researching this topic is the main difference between women and men, is that whilst we all have demands in our personal lives, it is the women, regardless of her career demands that is still the one who manages the household. It comes from years of women being the homemaker and rightly or wrongly there are still expectations from both men and women that this role should stay with the wife or mother.
When I had my first child, I learnt about what it meant to struggle to get the juggle right between all the roles I felt I needed or wanted to have in my life: mother, career woman, wife, individual, friend, daughter, sister and community contributor. I found the pendulum of balance would sometimes swing too far left, and sometimes swing too far right and what I learnt is this is simply a reality of a working woman who has a lot of balls to juggle. Whatever the balls are that you are wanting to juggle, the trick is to understand your trigger points to know when there are too many balls, or one is spinning out of control.
If you are struggling to juggle the many demands in your life, these are the top three tips I have gained from inspirational New Zealand professional women on how to to juggle successfully:
Make sure your support network at home is set in place. Agree with your family how you can support each other. Outsource where you can, for example cleaning the house, online shopping, ironing.
Prioritise and learn to say “no”
Almost all of the women I spoke to said the one piece of advice they would give is to learn how to prioritise your time well and say no. I believe that a career and a family can co-exist, the reality is when your schedule is full and you decide to take something else onboard, you have to let something go, or say no to something else, in order to make more time.
Book weekly special one to one time
First and foremost, book one to one time with yourself. I often have women telling me they feel like they constantly have to give, give, give all the time and there is no time for themselves. Make this a priority, if you want to keep your sanity. Also ensure you book one to one time with your children or spouse, you can’t underestimate the value of uninterrupted, focused one to one time.
The reality is, life is busy and we can sometimes feel overwhelmed, in which case, stop and look at the tips we have suggested and remember (my key tip), always make time to have fun along the way!