Work/life balance

I'm in the Spotlight: Working Mama's of Indianapolis

Where do you find support Indianapolis working moms?

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I recently discovered Working Mama's of Indianapolis blog and Facebook group. It is a great, virtual way to support one another when holding a career and family in tandem and in the tension!

I'm super excited to be featured in their Working Mama Spotlight this month. Check out the blog, Facebook group and my cute kids (I may be biased;) in the spotlight.

3 Ways to Manage Mental Health in the Tug-of-War Between Career & Family

Who are your "unseen stakeholders" at work?

According to Stewart D. Friedman and Jeff Greenhaus from Drexel University, it is our children. Almost two decades ago, this researcher pair studied the relationship between work and family life, as they described as both "allies and enemies" in this Harvard Business Review article.

Not much has changed in that relationship, huh? We are all too familiar with the tug-of-war at times.

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The good news? The study, even then, found you can benefit your child's mental health by:

YOUR PRESENCE

Being fully present with children during non-work time (i.e. not thinking about work or being distracted by your phone).

YOUR MINDSET

Your perspective about work matters for your kids' mental health. The study found "when parents cared about work as a source of challenge, creativity, and enjoyment, again, without regard to the time spent," children benefitted.

PRACTICING SELF-CARE

Both mothers and fathers taking time for themselves made them more psychologically present for their families.

❓What practices does your family have to benefit everyone's mental health?

The Match of Self-Talk: How Inner Dialogue Matters for Endurance

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Self-talk is a thing. For better or worse. Your inner dialogue matters.

I was reminded of this when I was on the tennis court for the first time after 13+ year hiatus of match play. Prior to this break, tennis WAS LIFE. In the past on the court, I beat myself up with words when I missed a point or was down.

Coming back last week, I was determined not to fall into those negative mental traps, but just like years before, with the swing of my racquet, I was bullied by my thoughts. I was both physically and mentally out of shape!

But something happened. I needed the focus to move forward. Out of breath and tired, I had to reframe my self-talk for SURVIVAL - I had to talk myself into playing the very next point!

Job seeker, where do you need to talk yourself into taking the next step? Language matters so much that researchers in a 2014 study found talking to yourself in third-person is more effective than referring to yourself as 'me' or "I".

When you need endurance, train yourself with positive thoughts.

Instead of: I can't do this another day.

Say: You can take the very next step, Meg. One foot in front of the other.

Just a Monday morning PSA: Be kind to yourself.

Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? How has it helped or hurt you in your career success?

Motherhood at Work: The Long Game

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The decision to work for mothers isn't fixed. A recent New York Times article showcases the fluctuation of working and stay at home moms versus the "Mommy Wars" polarization.

Research shows that millions of moms since the 1970s left and returned to the workplace.

For too long, we have been talking about “stay-at-home parents” and “working parents” as if staying at home and working were fixed unchanging states.
— Jessica Grose, author of NYT article, Working Moms and Stay-at-Home Moms Are Not at War

According to the UpJohn Institute for Employment Research, a 2015 study of Mothers' Long-Term Employment Patterns revealed that research typically focuses on return to work upon maternity leave or the first few years after birth. Employment in the long game for mother's consists of much more (i.e. part-time work, etc.) and is an underdeveloped story.

This is true in my career journey.

Working parents, what has the return to work or career pivot looked like in your home? How was it evolved long-term?

Avoid Morning Disasters: 3 Morning Routine Tips

I've been there.

Yelling at kids to put on their shoes. Spilled cereal and milk. Working parents, what kind of morning routine helps you get out the door?

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Monday mornings are hard. After the hurricane of gathering small backpacks, clothed children and dropping them off at designated places, many of times I found myself crying in the preschool parking lot in my minivan after the natural disaster of the morning.

Can it be better? Most days, yes, I think so. While my office environment has changed and my kids have gotten older, there are few things I uncovered that worked for me:

☀️ Prep the night before. Pack lunches, bags and set out clothes. Prep breakfast - by that, I mean milk in a closed cup for kids to grab and cereal in a to-go bag.

☀️ Make ‘me’ time. Even if it is just 5 minutes! Whether it's drinking a cup of coffee, looking over your schedule or reading a daily devotional. Make time to wake up and hear your own thoughts.

☀️ Go tech-free. Avoid the distraction of email and social media until after drop off.

Wanted: Flexible Work Schedules

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Do you want more control over your time at work? You are in the majority.

According to Robert Half, an HR consulting firm, 88% of employees surveyed wanted a flexible work schedule with only 62% of employers offering flexibility. 66% wanted a compressed work week with only 17% of companies offering the option.

While employers are slow to the punch, experts say flexibility is in our future. A tight labor market will catalyze this direction.

So when it comes time to negotiate for your next role or advancement in your annual review - think 'out of the office' and propose flexible solutions that are conducive to both your employer and your personal/work life balance.

Check out the recent CNBC article about the topic here.

Flip the Narrative of Work / Life Balance

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For most of us work/life balance is a constant struggle, right?

Adam Grant gave me permission to experience freedom in this area via Entreleadership's podcast to switch the narrative!

Replace BALANCE with work/life MANAGEMENT...and breathe a sigh of relief.

I may not be able to keep all the plates spinning in perfect balance all the time, but I can manage them. It gives me freedom to drop a few or focus on some at certain periods of time. Check out the episode (#268) here: https://bit.ly/2GwhTni