‘How do you do it?’ asked my friend over the phone.
She had rung to organise a dinner catch-up, but we got talking about managing work and a family of young children.
We talked about the logistics of raising three young kids, our different life circumstances and how our decisions to go back to work had to take into account a number of variables. What was our capacity? How much support would we have when it came to caring for the children? Could we afford childcare? Could the budget hold under one income? Could the household run efficiently if we went back to full-time work?
The moment a woman becomes a mum, she faces a battle of balancing children, running a household, organizing childcare and going back to work or finding a job that is flexible towards family life. And that’s just only some of what she has to organize.
The decision to stay home to look after children, or go back to work is never easy. Often the decision is made for her if finances are too tight.
If a mum does choose to go back to work, how does she manage being a working mum and give the best of herself to both worlds?
Kellogg’s asked their female leadership team to give tips on how to balance family life and working in a corporate role.
Kellogg’s are a brand that’s leading the way in gender equality on their management team as the company have a 50-50 gender split within their leadership team.
Rebecca, Tamara, Esme, Megan and Belinda are the mums that make up part of the Kellogg’s leadership team.
They got together to create a video for the Kellogg’s Open For Breakfast site, where they discussed what motherhood taught them in the workplace.
The mums discussed how important listening and practicing empathy is. Both skills were acquired or taught on-the-job the moment they became a mum. They all agreed that motherhood taught them to balance priorities and sharpened their negotiation skills, which most mums can readily attest to when dealing with toddlers or teenagers who know better.
Having gone through the battle each morning of ensuring their kids ate breakfast, they know what other mums go through, and this in turn has helped them with their various work roles at Kellogg’s. They understand their customer’s needs.
In a separate catch-up, the mums were asked how they balance their corporate roles and being a mum.
This is what they came up with:
Tips to keep yourself organised when balancing motherhood and working life:
· LISTS LISTS LISTS!
· Keeping a weekly planner or calendar on the fridge is essential to keep track of all kids’ sport, business travel, school projects, visits to the dentist etc. It is all about planning ahead!
· Planning midweek meals on a Sunday is such a great time saver! And if you can prepare as much as you can (shopping and cooking) on a Sunday, even better!
· Lots of yellow sticky notes! Plus iPhone research and shopping when everyone else is asleep (buying kids clothes, books, researching house renovations, finding new schools, dentists etc.)
· Flexible working hours make the balance much easier
· Balance comes through good time management, prioritising and doing what makes you happy!
Motherhood is a huge job in itself. It’s the most difficult hood a woman will go through. Add in paid work and it’s another area to juggle.
All working mums should realise how incredible they are to manage what they do. Their lives could be made easier with flexible work conditions, but most times, mums make their job work, one way or another.