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VIEWPOINT: Work-life balance

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In today’s society, many women choose to retain their careers after becoming a mother, which can present a challenge for some mothers when it comes to balancing their work and home life responsibilities. As many household and caregiving duties are still mainly considered to be a ‘woman’s job’, it can become overwhelming for working mothers to balance their work and family.

A survey completed by the American Pew Research Center in 2013 revealed that 51% of mothers with children under the age of 18 stated that being a working parent makes it harder to advance in their career.

In light of Mother’s Day celebrated on 8 May 2016, below are some tips for women to try balance their corporate and personal lives.

DEFINE WHAT WORK/LIFE BALANCE MEANS TO YOU

Before you can make changes to your current situation, it is important to clearly identify and envision your ideal scenario. Once you have a clear picture of where you want to go and what you want to achieve it will be easier to determine a guideline or strategy on how to achieve this goal.

TALK TO YOUR EMPLOYER

If you really enjoy the work you are doing and do not want to change jobs, but you feel challenged by the amount of work and life commitments, it is imperative to talk to your manager to find a solution to the problem. Many employers are open to discussing flexible work arrangements and you can even propose a three-month trial period to give both you and your employer the option of revoking this agreement if the standard of work is not maintained.

BUILD YOUR NETWORK AND FIND A MENTOR

Use professional platforms such as LinkedIn to connect with other women in your field, females that you admire or to find a mentor. A mentor can provide important guidance on what did and did not work for them in their careers. It is becoming increasingly important to build and nurture a network of influential people.

LEAVE WORK AT WORK

It is critical to switch off and concentrate on the family’s needs once you have left the office. Relaxation and stress-relief are important factors to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Find an activity that relaxes you to create a break between work and home life – something as simple as listening to music on the way home to mentally shift focus.

SHARE THE HOUSEWORK WITH YOUR PARTNER

It is advisable for dual-career couples to share house chores to allow the mother to feel less stressed about being a perfect homemaker. Agree upfront what each person’s roles and responsibilities are to avoid conflict.

Author: Tiffany Boesch CA(SA) is group financial director of PPS