This is a Guest Post by Hollee Hollee Schwartz Temple Co-Author of The book:
Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood
1. Stop trying to compete
This mean recognizing that there is a big difference between “being the best” and “doing your best.” So many of the moms we interviewed for Good Enough Is the New Perfect felt like they were competing in the Motherhood Olympics! And by golly, these moms were going to win.
But that left many of them feeling, well, miserable. And they weren’t even comparing themselves to a real person, but rather to a composite “perfect mother” who was effortlessly knocking off everything on her professional and personal to-do lists, without a trace of macaroni in her up-to-date hair. Ladies, that mom doesn’t exist! Shoot for your own best — and try hard not to compare.
2. Don’t chase someone else’s definition of success.
Many of the moms who were struggling most with work/life balance got tripped up by following someone else’s idea of what a “good mom” or a “good professional” looked like. That didn’t work out very well because often, these women did not have the same responsibilities or interests as the moms who were dictating their standards.
For instance, one mom in our book was trying to create a Martha Stewart-like environment at home, much like her own mother had done a generation ago. However, she was trying to create the household nirvana while also building her speech therapy practice and an online gift business. No wonder she couldn’t be Martha! Something has to give.
3. Be willing to share your responsibilities
When the parenting experts we interviewed made this point, it hit a little too close to home. My co-author, Becky, realized that she had been so intent on being the Queen Bee at home that she wasn’t even letting her husband try to help in the kitchen — she’d push him away or re-wipe the countertops until they fit her standards.
Through the course of writing the book, however, Becky was willing to let go of some of the parenting power, and that led the whole family to a better balance. Today, her husband is responsible for breakfasts, lunches and grocery shopping … and she has learned to be OK with whatever he picks!
4. Work toward a life that reflects your own priorities
The most successful moms we interviewed found ways to embrace their priorities through their work. Many tried entrepreneurial ventures to gain more control over their schedules. Some worked reduced hours while their kids were little; others ramped off for a few years or more.
But the trick for the most successful moms was that they realized that there wasn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to work/life balance. What was right for Jen wasn’t right for Kim, and that was fine. Each mom has to decide for herself what feels good, right now, to her.
5. Find the courage to leap
It is scary to make a change for the better. I know — when I was 28 years old, after a lifetime of following a linear path to a prestigious law firm office, I jumped ship. I took a position in academia that required a 50 percent paycut and didn’t offer a title that I liked (in fact, I refused to put a signature block on my emails for almost five years … I was embarrassed that “professor” wasn’t in my title at that time).
Oh, but I gained so much! I never missed being around for the activities with the kids that mattered most to me. And I got to go to a job that I loved. And I got to write Good Enough Is the New Perfect, my proudest professional accomplishment.
Take that great leap of faith — it can lead you to heights you have never imagined!
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Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood is available at bookstores nationwide or on Amazon.
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