Balance can be a tricky thing to master. Many people (including me) will argue it’s impossible to ever truly master. It means something different to all of us. Some days balance in my life means everyone gets to where they need to be on-time, we all eat three meals and I manage to avoid getting or sending any urgent e-mails with big, red exclamation marks. Some days balance in my life means I make it to a meeting in-person, with straight hair, can squeeze in a coffee date with my work bestie and make it home in time for dinner and a bedtime story.
I work in Corporate Communications at one of the largest companies in Austin, Dell. Dell has policies and resource groups that help make the mystical workplace balance easier to achieve and a culture that encourages you to find it. I have the freedom to work remotely — from home, a coffee shop, a different building or campus or even a different city, state or country if needed. We have company-wide goal to have 50 percent of team members take advantage of these policies and work remotely by 2020.
There are certainly days where being a “working mom” seems overwhelming or the work too fast-paced, but the fact that I’m empowered to set my schedule and get my work done when and where is best for me and my family is invaluable. BTW, if you’re looking for a new gig that offers similar flexibility, check out two of my favorite resources, InHerSight and FlexJobs.
The people — my colleagues, teammates, mentors, work (quickly turned real-life) besties — are the biggest contributor to the culture of balance and trust at my job in my opinion. I continue to learn from fellow parents. For example, my manager has three young boys, helps run a family business and juggles countless other commitments with creativity and a smile. Phone calls at 4PM start with “Is this a good time? I don’t want to cut into family time,” and she means it, And it’s common during early global calls to hear a kiddo, significant other or hairdryer during the morning madness for the US team.
Here are some helpful tips from other parents on keeping up workplace balance:
- “It’s a common occurrence to find us swapping family photos or stories in the halls or before a conference call kicks-off.”
- “Block kid activities on your [work] calendar to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun stuff. And laugh a lot!”
- “Prioritize sleep…get at least 7 hours on a normal day-to-day basis. It is the foundation to being present, to function at a high level, and being happy. When I’m reasonably well rested, kids and co-workers are much less obnoxious.”
- “Never assume that any mom has it all down to a perfected balance. Figure out what works best for you and allows you to dedicate your energy to each priority, even if that means segmenting out your day.”
- “Don’t be afraid to say no.”
- “The grass is always looks greener on the other side. You don’t have to have it all. Make sure the sun is shining on the things that are most important to you right now — take a day every now and then to clear your head.”