Women's Day Feature: The Power of Balance
Can women have it all? It's a question that has been asked so many times and a question I have come to resent. If a woman wants to have a career and a family, then why not. If a woman wants to run a business and have a family, I say go for it. For me, the question is not whether she can have it all because obviously, she can. For me, the question is, can she have it all and still balance her life for her own sanity. The power of balancing your life to make it work for you is what I want to share with you.
Balancing your life between your well-being, your family, and work is the key to success. I often get asked, "How do you do it all?" Between running two businesses and raising three kids, I won't lie it doesn't come easy. But with the right balance, I have the power to make my choices work for me, and you can too.
Up until five years ago, I was a complete workaholic, work came first and everything else took a backseat. As my children grew older, I realized I was working to give them a better life, but I was only thinking of the future, I wasn't thinking of the present. That's when a lot of things changed. How? Let me ask you a few questions:
- Do you have ‘me’ time every day where you do something only for yourself?
- Do you spend quality ‘unplugged’ time with your family?
- Do you ignore work calls or texts over the weekend?
If you’ve answered no to the above questions, then your life is not very balanced, is it? The power of having a balanced life is incredible, and here are a few changes I made to reach this balance:
- I stopped working after 5:00 pm. That meant all devices switched off and phones on silent mode.
- I stopped answering work-related calls and texts in the evening, during the weekend, and over the holidays. I've learned that it's ok not to answer right away.
- I did one thing for myself every day. It could be as small as a cup of coffee alone, watching Netflix at night, or even a trip to the spa
- I started spending time with my kids with ‘unplugged’ play. Whether it’s board games, hide 'n' seek, or taking them to the beach and park, I gave it my full attention.
Life in Dubai is exciting, you're always on the go, there's always a new opportunity, and you don't want to be left behind. Let me tell you something, if you don't slow down, you don't take a step back and take a deep breath, you will lose your balance completely and fall flat. How good are you than to anyone around you? You have to take care of yourself first to be able to take care of your life, loved ones, and your work.
There are 3 elements to focus on to ultimately balance your life.
As a woman, you take on multiple roles, and trying to do all those roles perfectly can take a toll on you. While managing all these roles, you often lose sight of your own needs. So, it's essential that you find time to practice self-care. When you practice self-care, you improve your mental and physical well-being. Self-care is not selfish, if you don't take care of yourself, you won’t have the mental or physical energy to take care of someone else.
Self-care is doing something for yourself to preserve or improve your health. Here are some ideas:
- Get out of the house.
- Be nice, help others, and volunteer.
- Stress less.
- Be mindful.
- Be happy.
- Eat more fruits and veggies.
- Get enough sleep.
I've been doing a lot of all of the above during Covid, and it's changed me as a person.
Having it all doesn’t mean doing it all. One of my secrets to being able to do it all (and the reason I am labeled “Supermom” among my family and friends) is time management. I divide my time, and I delegate my tasks to squeeze in more family time. Here are some tips to help you:
- Let go of mom guilt. You are contributing to give your family a better life.
- Use time-saving hacks. Take out outfits and decide on meals the night before. Order groceries and shop online. Get weekly laundry pickups. Get a part-time maid to clean the house.
- Find a nanny or childcare provider you can trust to stay with your kids while you’re at work.
- A happy home starts with a happy marriage. Make your relationship a priority because it has a strong impact on everything else in your life.
- Plan family time with activities everyone will enjoy.
- Stay organized with lists and calendars for everything you are in charge of like: doctor's appointments, special days at school, birthdays, shopping, and the list goes on.
- Share the load of housework with your partner and family. I give my kids chores so they can build good habits and gives them a sense of responsibility.
When you’re a working mom (more often than you’d like) work spills over onto family life. The single most important point here is knowing where to set the boundary. Here are a few tips that have helped me:
- Be 100% at work and 100% at home. Don’t bring your work home and once you’re home, avoid answering work calls/texts and checking your email. If you must, then do so once your kids have gone to bed.
- Have set working hours and stick to them. If you’re working from home, then set a time to switch off.
- Work smarter not harder. Use time efficiently and adopt the right combination of time management practices. You can do this by making technology work for you to get more organized, avoid procrastination and learn to say no.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Work-life balance isn’t a science, you have to find your own balance and what works for you. I’ve shared what has worked for me in the hopes that it’s inspiration enough for you to start. I haven’t achieved the perfect balance because new circumstances arise all the time, so I have to adapt to maintain the balance, but I’ve now got the power to lead a balanced life.
As Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017 said, “You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.”