Striking a balance between one’s professional and personal life seems like an impossible dream, especially for busy moms…
But according to career and life coach Zeta Yarwood, it is achievable with the right attitude and by aligning your values with your goals.
In the recent ‘Achieving Work-Life Balance’ workshop organised by Mums@Work – the online recruitment platform that aims to help mothers revitalise their careers and connect them with employers – Zeta explains that the work-life balance is a continuous assessment of priorities.
And it is all up to the person. “If you’re sitting there waiting for something to change life for you, you are going to be waiting for a very long time,” she says.
Zeta adds that this balance is vital to any person’s well-being and relationships with others. It is unique to every individual, as values and priorities may work for some, but not for others.
So during a two-hour workshop at La Farine, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, she gives us mums an exercise to figure out what a work-life balance means to us.
The visualisation exercise has us picturing our perfect day, from the time we wake up until bedtime. Once we have that idea, we assess where we are now and if we are anywhere near that dream.
Comparing your ‘perfect day’ to reality might be frustrating, but she pointed out that “sometimes we sell ourselves the story that life is so bad, that we forget what we are happy about.”
Here are some nuggets of advice Zeta gives us to reflect on:
1 – Be the best version of yourself
If you are happy, then you will radiate happiness. “Make yourself healthy and happy, so that you can be the best mother, the best employee and best wife that you can be. If they always get the second best version of you, it’s going to be tough for them to stay around.”
2 – There are things you can’t control
“When you are always in control, you are also depriving people of the opportunity to learn it themselves,” she says. For example, “if you are upset that your husband isn’t the dad you want him to be, let him try. He might not be that good at first and not be able to do things to your standards, but he has to learn.”
“You are doing the best you can with all the resources you have, and that’s all that matters.”
3 – Know your priorities
Priorities and values change over time, so she advises to “be clear on the things that are most important to your life in order to feel motivated and fulfilled every day.”
If they are important, you must make time. For example spending time with the children, you should not only be there physically, but must be fully engaged – mentally and emotionally.
4 – Ask for help
Asking for help is surprisingly hard, especially for mums, who are often expected to be superhuman. “It takes a very brave woman to ask for help,” says Zeta. “You can negotiate with your husband or ask a mum at school to carpool. They will help you and you should remember to help back.”
“You are in a community of women who are going through exactly the same things you are – reach out and help each other. Start building a support system, it’s important particularly as an expat.”
5 – Put it on paper
When things get overwhelming, breathe and write it down. “Get it down on paper. What is it I’m feeling overwhelmed with right now? Get clear on the reality and perceived reality – is this actually important or do I just perceive it as important?”
It is our first time joining a ‘mummy coffee morning’ for ourselves, and not for work. The vibe is encouraging because these are practical pieces of advice that anyone, parent or otherwise, can use every day. It allows us to think about what we really need, and starts conversations and idea sharing with fellow attendees who are in the same boat.
Mum of one, Zeena D’ Gama, 41, said she signed up because she’s looking at getting back to the workplace and wanted to hear some professional advice.
“The market is quite frustrating for women like us. I wanted to have a different perspective of what I need to look at provided I’m successful in getting a job. I hope to use these steps to balance my life because things are evolving in the world today and we need to adjust.”
Mums@Work is holding a CV workshop on 21st February, to help out the job-seeking mums. For more information on upcoming, visit mumsatwork.ae. To get in touch with Zeta Yarwood for professional coaching, visit zetayarwood.com.