Babyproof Your Career: 5 Tips on How to Balance Work & Family Life if You Work in Finance
Being a woman in finance is difficult. Being a woman in finance who works full-time whilst trying to raise children, maintain her home and find time for personal time and growth is not just difficult – it’s nearly impossible. With the finance industry being infamous for its challenging work-life balance expectations, being able to fulfil both your career and family aspirations as a woman in finance must be a difficult, but not an unachievable task. Here are some of our tips on how to be a successful working mum, who can advance in her career whilst having a great family life too.
- Be efficient
To get the most done in the least amount of time, you need to work on your time management. Plan your time in the office strategically, don’t get distracted when working, be mindful of the time you are spending socialising with co-workers and simply try to be as productive as possible. If you struggle with staying focused because you’re thinking about way too many non-office related things, try using productivity apps such as Forest or Focus Keeper Pro which will help you gain control of your time and concentrate on the most important things on your to-do list. Try scheduling conference calls during your commute so that the time you spend travelling to and back from work isn’t being wasted.
When it comes to your household and all the tasks that you have to do as a mum, use hacks and shortcuts which will save you time. Order your groceries for the week online and have them delivered to your house, get quick errands done during your lunch break to free up more time and prepare lunches and outfits the night before, so you can enjoy a relaxed morning with your family instead of rushing to get out the door on time.
- Build your team at work
If you have your own team at work, it is important to invest time in them – especially if you’re a busy working mum. Having a group of people you can fully trust with any task in the office will make your life significantly easier. And if you can’t delegate a task, find a collaborative solution and ask two or more team members to work on it and complete it together.
Similarly, it is vital to seek sponsors and allies – especially for less senior women who don’t manage teams. Find people within the organisation in powerful positions with whom you’re comfortable and who are ready to provide you with advice and guide you in the process of advancing in your career whilst having a family.
- Don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you need it
One of the most important things to remember as a woman in finance who’s also a mother is that no one expects you to be a superwoman who can deal with everything on her own, so don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you’re struggling. Remember – no one else demands as much as you demand of yourself. Asking a friend or a family member to pick up your kids from school and watch them for a while whilst you’re in a meeting is perfectly normal and you’ll easily find someone who’s ready to help. And if your work life is too hectic and you’re finding it really difficult to juggle both, finding a baby-sitter wouldn’t be the end of the world. Having them at home to help you with some of the housework and other tasks like helping the kids with their homework means that you can spend the free time you have doing fun things with them like playing or reading them a book.
Another good idea to consider might be spending money on a cleaning service – imagine how much extra time you’ll have if you don’t have to worry about cleaning the house!
- Don’t compare yourself to stay-at-home mums
It’s as straightforward as that. Instead, connect with other working mums who face the same challenges that you do on a daily basis. Reach out to co-workers who are also working mothers, exchange tips, arrange playdates with them and their kids on the weekends or go for a walk with them during your lunch break. Sharing experiences, laughing with them or asking them for advice will show you that you’re not the only person going through this.
- Don’t feel guilty
The one emotion that can overwhelm a lot of working mums is guilt – guilt because you feel like you’re not giving 100% at work due to time constraints and guilt because you don’t spend enough time with your children. Letting go of that feeling of guilt is not that difficult though – all you need to do is remind yourself what your values are. Yes, you will have to leave the office at 5 pm and yes, you can’t work overtime now that you’ve chosen to start a family and have children, but that is absolutely fine. It just means that you’ll have to prioritise the most important tasks and make the most of the time you have in the office. Conversely, yes, you won’t be able to spend every single second of every single day with your kids because you’re in the office between 9 am – 5 pm, but that is also okay. Successfully raising children doesn’t rest on the quantity of time you spend with them. So stop feeling guilty – get your priorities straight, focus on what matters most and act accordingly.
All in all, having a fulfilling family life and a successful career are two things that could, in fact, go hand in hand. The reality of it might not look exactly like how you pictured it, but don’t let that discourage you. If you’re willing to make it happen and you’re prepared to work around the challenges, you will manage to have the best of both worlds.