Article by: MaryEllen | Monday, May 13, 2013

By MaryEllen Tribby

Boy, was I stunned to see the number responses to the recent survey we sent to you and the rest of the Working Moms Only community.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a few things. I was equally disappointed to learn about a few others. And, frankly some answers were exactly as I thought they would be.

Today, I want to share some of those results with you as well as help you overcome your biggest challenges.

Sharing is Caring

So, lets start off with some general sharing of experiences.

Eighty six percent of our community said that they do indeed have children. This was a slight increase from the last time we asked. Out of those moms, 64.3% of them have between 2 to 3 kids. I am right there with you sister!

I found it very interesting that 50.8% of our community were between the ages of 41 to 55 years old. Again, I am right there with you.

Here is another interesting fact about our community. Fifty four percent are the primary breadwinner. That is a mammoth number. Especially when you take into account that only 22.9% of our community are single parents.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Well, now we need to address the upsetting part.

I was surprised to learn that 66% of our community worked more than 40 hours a week. Even worse, 14% worked more than 50 hours a week.

The reason that is upsetting is because 55% said their job was “ok” because it paid the bills or that they did not like their job at all!

And, when asked what was your biggest source of stress, you replied “time management”.

Of course, we needed to know what your biggest challenge was and the majority of you replied with “finding balance”.

“No.” is a Complete Sentence

Let’s start with the work hours.

It is our nature as women and as moms to want to please everyone. Well, that is simply not a reality. We have to set boundaries and we need to learn how to say “no”.

We have to respect ourselves. By constantly putting ourselves last, we are teaching our kids how to be victims, not leaders.

Here’s the thing, when you constantly say “yes” to everything, most things are not getting done because of the pure overwhelm. And, the tasks that are getting done are simply not up to par.

The quality of your life will increase ten fold when you start saying “no” to requests. And, here’s the best part – you do not have to justify it or give any reason whatsoever. “No” really is a complete sentence!

Balance: Myth or Reality?

Before you decide if you have a balanced life or not, let’s define a balanced life. Let’s also discuss obtaining a blended lifestyle.

Most people think a balanced life is spending the same amount of time at work as they do in their personal life.

This is not true.

A balance life is going to bed MOST nights with a feeling of complete and utter satisfaction.

A blended life is knowing that the majority of your day is filled with purposeful activity. You understand that some of that purpose activity yields you revenue while some of it does not.

This is how I live my life. All of my activity is purposeful. I do not waste time on things that anger me or I do not enjoy doing.

In order to have a blended lifestyle you need to truly love what you do to earn a living. If you are not happy in your work, you will never go to bed with a feeling of satisfaction and feel like your activity is purposeful.

Balanced or Blended – Your Choice

Regardless if you choose “balanced” or “blended”, the following steps are a must.

Step #1: Develop a support system. Even though 60% of our community said they are part of a two-parent household, this does not mean that they have the support of their spouses.

Even if you do, you still need external “team” members. For example, I do not have one graphic artist that I turn to when I need one. I have several lined up on oDesk. So that if the first one I call is busy, I move on to the next. I used the exact same strategy when my kids were all small. I did not have one babysitter to call. I had several in case one was sick or busy. The point is I am never stuck without resources.

Step #2: Check Your Priorities. People ask me all the time how I manage to play tennis four times a week. They generally add another sentence after that saying they simply don’t have the time.

Well, NEWS FLASH – we all have the same 24 hours in a day. In order for me to play tennis, I need to get up around 4:30 in the morning. This way I can work before the kids get up and before I head out to the courts. In order to get up at 4:30, I need to go to bed at a decent time. So guess what, I don’t watch TV. So many of the moms who claim they don’t have time are often up all night watching their favorite shows or on Facebook or doing something that does not move them forward.

You see the priority for me is to stay in shape by doing something I love doing. This is not only enjoyable, but it moves me forward which leads to better productivity, which leads to more money!

Step #3: Make Smart Decisions. We are all faced with hundreds of decisions a day. Some are big and some are small.  Most people think that the small decisions do not matter but they do.

Here’s why . . .

All decisions over time become habit.  Suppose your small decision today was to skip working out because you needed a little more sleep. You have full intentions of getting back to your work out tomorrow. Then, tomorrow comes and you were up all night on Facebook again; it’s even easier to hit the alarm and roll back over. Once this happens for several days in a roll – your small decision just cost you a lot.

I know if you start setting boundaries by saying “no” and put these three easy steps into play, you will start going to bed with that feeling of complete and utter satisfaction!