It’s a question many mothers are familiar with: how can one woman be a successful executive while also being a hands-on, devoted mom? Some days the delicate balance between both roles is achieved, while other days it seems entirely unattainable. If you’re frustrated by your attempts to give your all at work while still giving your all to your spouse and kids, you’re not alone. Many impressive women have walked this path before you, and many will after you. Here are some tips from three modern day icons who can give you some insight into establishing this tricky equilibrium.
Most people think of Sheryl Sandberg as the COO of Facebook, which she most definitely is. But if you read her book, “Lean In,” you get a more comprehensive view of the woman behind the title. Not only is she relatable, but she is also family-oriented. It’s hard to believe that someone in such an influential position can still have time to give to the people closest to her, but she maintains that she does.
In “Lean In,” Sandberg explains that she always aims to leave work at a time that will get her home for dinner. Having a meal with her kids and husband every night gives her family something to depend upon, it's something she can look forward to and it allows all of them to be present and connected with one another. If you’re able to tweak your schedule to get you home for dinner every night, try making that commitment. If not, decide what consistent part of your family’s routine you can join in on. The point is to be reliable and to savor the moments you do have.
While her famous father is usually what people think of when they hear about Ivanka Trump, she has put her own stake in the ground as a savvy businesswoman. Trump is the executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organization, and she also serves as the principal of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry. With so many hats to wear, how does she manage to also care for her two small children?
Trump explains that she lives close to her office and dashes home often in order to squeeze in a few extra minutes with her kids when she can. She also has a standing lunch date once a week with her young daughter, which she professes to be the highlight of her week. To abolish working-mom guilt, and find a solid balance of your own, try taking a page out of Trump’s book. If you live close to your office, can you go home for lunch every day and see your children? Or if that doesn’t work with your office arrangement, what about creating a special weekly date with each child? This way, your little ones feel special and will know that, no matter what, they have time on mommy’s calendar reserved just for them.
Although a less notorious name, Chaton Turner is as equally notable a career woman as Sandberg and Trump. As a lawyer, runner and adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Turner is highly accomplished. She also has young children, and runs a blog about balancing it all. While you can read more about her secrets to keeping her sanity amidst all she is doing on her blog, she mentions a key tip that should be followed—especially by new mothers.
“Swaddling our daughter whenever she was supposed to sleep made her sleep four hours at a time fairly early,” Turner writes. “In my experience, SwaddleDesigns makes the best swaddling blankets. They are large enough to do the job. They're also super soft.” If you’re new to the world of motherhood, you’ve probably learned not to underestimate the importance of a few solid hours of sleep. And as you re-enter the workforce, it’s imperative you’re well rested so you can stay healthy and care for your family and your career. If you have a newborn at home, consider swaddling him so you both can get a little more sleep.
When those days come where you feel like you’re not doing enough in your career and you’re also subpar as a mother, take heart. The fact that you care so much about being good enough in both areas means you’re invested where it matters. Try to be home for dinner like Sheryl Sandberg, set a weekly date with your kids like Ivanka Trump and swaddle your baby for a better night’s rest like Chaton Turner. These few tweaks, and some extra intention, will net you a better relationship with those who matter most. And if you’re at your best personally, your career won’t be able to help but be on an upward trajectory too.