When I was younger, I - much like most energetic, over-enthusiastic women in their late-twenties - believed in the dream of having a stable work-life, healthy children, and on top of that a peace of mind.
It didn't take me long to realize this vision was somewhat naive.
Being a mother of six (yes, six) beautiful, talented children and also being a devoted President of a rapidly-expanding company, you bet that I've had my fair share of burnouts.
And you know what? It's ok to accept that you can't have it all! I did!
Work-Life Balance for Parents
Believing that you can handle all the pressures of life on your own, and come out of it without any war-wounds will only result in multiple therapy sessions regarding your stress-induced midlife crisis.
The key to managing the stresses of juggling the never-ending chore of being a parent along with the endless climb to success in the business world is giving yourself time to step back and detach yourself from your duties.
This brings me to an extremely relevant article posted in Entrepeneur by the one-and-only Jill Smokler, Founder and President of Scary Mommy.
In this insightful post, she mentions her "three rules of maintaining sanity and success."
1. Setting Boundaries
The first rule, which in my opinion is probably the most important rule, is Setting Boundaries.
This goes back to what I mentioned before when I said it's important to detach yourself from your duties.
I am probably the first one to admit that my work hardly ever stays in the office. I am constantly having to reply to emails and make phone calls.
However, I make sure that every day, I give myself at least 30 minutes to an hour to relieve myself from all work and parental duties.
I usually do this by working out.
Multiple studies have shown the postive effects of exercising on a daily basis, and I'm sure you've heard enough of them, so there is no need for me to preach to you!
But really though, I don't know where I would be without my P90X videos.
If you're not into working out, then you can do various other tasks such as yoga, meditation, watching your favorite tv show, or even just turning your phone for 30 minute and lying in bed (last one is a personal favorite).
2. You don't have to do this alone
Jill's second rule goes along the lines of "you don't have to do this alone."
Let's face it, life is hard. But you need to understand that almost everyone else is struggling through it as well.
That's why it's important to build a community of like-minded people who you garner support from when you need it the most.
Spend time with your friends and family. Just like exercising, there are tons and tons of studies showing that the time spent with loved ones is one of the best things you can do to relieve stress.
On top of that, you can also count on these people to fill in for you; perhaps when it comes to driving one of your kids to a soccer game or watching the dog when you are away.
When building this community of support, you aren't just helping yourself but also the many other people carrying brickloads of weight on their shoulders, which in my opinion is one of the most beneficial things someone can do.
Last but not least, Jill mentions the concept of "Over-communicating." By this, she means making your expectations and concerns as a parent very clear in the workplace.
You need to let your boss know how important your kids are to you and that you intend on being there for them as much as possible.
Make a list of your non-negotiables and make sure they are crystal clear with your boss. I admit this will in fact be difficult in various aspects.
For starters, this means accepting the fact that you can't have it all. And secondly, it's a hard conversation to have with your boss.
But keep in mind that unless you stress the fact that you are a working parent and that you have limitations, you are only going to do damage to your mind and body.