When you’re a mom and a manager, you can’t help but look at the calendar year with a sense of anxiety. You have to hit your business performance goals while keeping everything running smoothly at home. No pressure, right?
As a mom of three young children and a leader of numerous direct reports, I’d love to say that I’ve found the perfect way to balance all my responsibilities. However, I admit that I’m still figuring everything out.
Take coaching, for example. In my mind, moms and managers should aspire to act like coaches. But I admit that I rarely show up as a coach at home or work. Instead, I find myself course-correcting short-term tasks and projects. That’s a fast way to burnout, which is something I’d like to avoid.
Burnout is all too real, particularly for working mothers. An analysis done by Maven showed that working mothers are 28% more likely to experience burnout than working fathers. The key, therefore, is to put measures in place to make things less rocky from a holistic perspective.
With that objective in mind, I’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts. I plan to follow them as closely as I can this year and encourage you to walk with me on this journey to adjusting expectations and avoiding burnout without compromising your core ideals or desires.
1. DO Have Clear Expectations for the Year
Now is a great time to figure out what your yearly road map looks like. Be sure to make two road maps: one for work and one for home.
Then, review your plans. Are they rooted in reality or what you think you’re supposed to do? It’s not a bad idea at this stage to figure out what’s achievable versus what’s more of a pipe dream.
2. DON’T Let Yourself Lose Sight of Your End-of-Year Expectations
Keep your road map in front of you in digital or old-fashioned paper format. That way, you can remind yourself of the expectations you hope to meet.
If you just put your road map away and look at it weeks or months later, you’ll cause yourself unneeded stress. Certainly, you’ll have missed something along the way and be way off track by the end of the year. No one needs that extra stress, including you.
3. DO Recalibrate from Time to Time
As you move through the year, you might have to put some goals in a figurative “parking lot.” These are goals that seemed reasonable when you made your road map but just aren’t anymore.
With that being said, make sure you know which duties are nonnegotiable or can’t be extended into the next year. For instance, you might have to finish a big client project by the end of the year — no ifs, ands, or buts.
Flag some items as can’t-miss priorities so you stay on course.
4. DON’T Assume Your Family Members or Colleagues are Mind Readers
We all get into the habit of thinking that our co-workers, kids, partners, and friends can read our minds. Unless you’ve shared your expectations and goals, others won’t know about them.
Have honest check-ins and open conversations about what you need and what you must accomplish to reach your goals.
5. DO Reassess Your Level of Support
The more support you have, the easier it will be to cross the finish line feeling relaxed and energized. Be sure to take this step at home as well. Hire a cleaning person for the holidays or ask your family to take on more housework during spring-cleaning time.
Resist the temptation to be everything to all people, because if you’re everyone else’s foundation, you’re at risk of wearing yourself too thin.
6. DON’T Be Rigid
Make it your policy to adapt to changing conditions. You’re going to encounter unknown variables that you couldn’t have predicted when you constructed your road map.
Even if it’s not in your nature, roll with the lemons that life tosses your way. Revisit your ways of working if necessary. Flex your creativity and adaptability skills to the max.
7. DO Trust Your Direct Reports
You’ve spent tons of time hiring and mentoring the people you manage. So, let them do their jobs. Give them the benefit of the doubt so they can act like professional adults. Never assume that they’re slacking off or will let you down. Rather, empower them to complete assignments responsibly.
Above all, focus on unparalleled experiences and celebrations. Progress through the year with a pragmatic mindset and an adjustable plan. Both your co-workers and your family members will thank you — and so will your stress levels.
About the Author
Erika Rosenberg is the Director of Global Brand Marketing at Lingokids. Having spent two decades launching, managing, and developing brand and growth marketing for companies like Disney, Star Wars, and Mattel, and being a mother of three, Erika is an expert on kid/family marketing. Everything she does is about championing and empowering brands to get to where they really want to be.