- Physical exhaustion: Often it can feel like there are simply not enough hours in the day to attend to all of your work responsibilities, spend quality time with your friends and/or family, keep up the household cooking, cleaning and maintenance, and dare we say it: get some quality sleep and relaxation. For a small minority, such a go-go-go lifestyle with minimal rest is feasible, but for most, this kind of schedule is effective only temporarily before the quality of your focus and attention begins to break down and your physical, emotional and mental health are compromised.
- Keeping things straight: Compartmentalizing your feelings, thoughts, and responsibilities about work when spending time with family and vice versa can be a huge struggle for working women. After all, how can you possibly be present with your spouse, children, or even yourself when the only thing you can think about is tomorrow’s board meeting or an approaching deadline? How can you focus on sending that finance report to your boss when your kids are screaming for your attention and the soup is boiling over? While difficult, learning to calm your mind when necessary and allow yourself to be fully present in the moment is crucial to making sure that you are bringing your all to every aspect of your life.
- Feeling guilty or resentful toward your loved ones at home: For working moms, leaving for work each day can bring about emotions of guilt about leaving their children behind, or sometimes even resentment toward their kids for being the (sometimes thankless) benefactors of their hard work. For women who are unsatisfied with their jobs, these emotions can manifest even more strongly. Whether you find yourself battling one or both of these emotions as a working mom, it’s important to be non-judgmental toward yourself for having these feelings. Instead, find ways to recognize and reward the sacrifices you make every day and learn to ask for what you need from your family or boss to make balancing your responsibilities more emotionally settling for you.
- Separation Anxiety: While feeling like you miss your family or household pets at your work is a relatively good problem to have, it doesn’t lessen the impact those feelings can have on hour performance at work. Whether your feelings are driven by a strong love and connection to your household community or an emptiness at work, it’s important to communicate these feelings to the people at play and work on ways to make the separation easier.
Dana Brownlee, founder of Professionalism Matters Inc., writes extensively about the challenges modern professionals face in the workplace, as well as the more specific struggles of working moms. In her article, “The 4 Working Mom Work-Life Personalities,” Brownlee categorizes working mothers into four different personalities that reflect the ways they handle their demanding roles based on two factors: their level of organization/intentionality and their willingness to sacrifice/say “no”:
- I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead– Low willingness to sacrifice/say no, high level of organization/intentionality: The good side of these working moms is that they maintain an overly positive veneer and prioritize everything, usually pulling through with flying colors. They commit to lots of different communities and consistently attempt to please, going above and beyond what is expected of an average working mom. The problem for these women, however, is that before they know it, they can become burnt out and depleted, having sacrificed “good enough” in their pursuit of perfection.
- The Yoga Master– High willingness to sacrifice/say no, high level of organization/intentionality: The secret to this working mom’s ever-present peacefulness and organization is her ability to prioritize and set boundaries that allow her to only focus on things that truly matter. While she has no problem sacrificing or saying “no” to extra commitments, she may forget to prioritize self-care and treat herself every so often.
- Rose Colored Glasses– Low willingness to sacrifice/say no, low level of organization/intentionality: For this working mom, a consistent reality check of her circumstances and evaluation of her capabilities is a must, lest she misevaluate how much time and energy she really has to offer, and fail to meet the expectations she creates in others. While her intentions are pure, this mom struggles to maintain an organized lifestyle, and if she doesn’t prioritize and set boundaries accordingly, she could set herself up for much disappointment in the eyes her family and her boss.
- The White Flag– High willingness to sacrifice/say no, low level of organization/intentionality: Unfortunately, for this mom, her prime feels like it’s well behind her. Perhaps after overextending herself or neglecting to receive positive reinforcement for her efforts, this mom has given up and seems to be uninvolved overall, so expectations of her are low. This mom struggles to focus on obtaining positive feedback and connecting with the important people in her life, as well as meeting her workplace responsibilities, all of which are crucial for her to maintain meaning and drive in her life.
While the four personalities illustrated above are catered toward mothers, it’s important for all working women to recognize their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to prioritizing, making sacrifices, managing their time and staying organized – all crucial factors in attaining the perfect work-life balance. Another equally important but often overlooked prerequisite to a sustainable work-life balance is confronting your feelings in regard to your work-life set up and communicating what you need to the people involved. Without sufficient communication, anger, frustration and increased feelings of low self-esteem or failure can become overwhelming and put a halt to your progress.
At Long Island Psychology, we are determined to work together in identifying what your work-life balance personality looks like as well as which emotions are driving it. We are passionate about helping you reinforce your strengths and break down your weaknesses so you can continue the behaviors that work and limit the ones that don’t.
To schedule your appointment and get support with striking a better work-life balance, call 516-274-7876 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about our Garden City and Rockville Centre, NY locations, please visit our contact us page.