Monday

Working Mom Tip: Adopt a D.I.E.T. of Success

"Finding what you do interesting and believing it has inherent value...doesn't just keep you going despite fatigue, it actually replenishes your energy."-Heidi Grant Halvorson (author)



One of the reasons being a working mom is a thing is because it is a journey that has unique challenges, especially when your children are very young. Life happens to every mom. Every mom has housework that needs to be done. Every mom has hopes and dreams for their children. And every mom only has twenty-four hours in the day. So, women may find themselves depleted when they combine a full time job for someone else along with the full time job that exists at home.

Although we working moms have a lot to manage, we do not have to be depleted. Adopting a D.I.E.T. of success can help you satisfy your obligations and maintain your energy.

Don't be a passenger in your own life. Determine your core values and make decisions consistent with them. Values should inform your behavior. They are not static concepts. Burn out is often fueled by spending time performing tasks we don't believe in or that are lower priorities. We all have those mandatory yet mundane things that must be done in our lives. Research also indicates that the majority of such tasks in our households are performed by women. That said, if you spend the majority of your life performing tasks that you either don't like or believe are unimportant, make some changes. You're the captain of your ship. Your husband and kids share the journey with you, but they are not in charge of charting your course.

Identify the hot and sexy things that excite you about your job and commit to doing some of them every day. If you are reading this post, chances are you are a working mom like me who must work to support your family (or you love a mom like that). So, quitting your job is not a viable option. Still, you owe it to yourself to find a job you enjoy. Everybody has dull things about their job that must be done. That's why they call it work and why they pay you to do it. Still, there are things about your job that you find fun. (If there are none find a different job.)

Evaluate whether your efforts matter. In particular contemplate whether your extra efforts matter. It is easy to allow ourselves to become a hamster on the proverbial wheel. I attended a conference recently where a speaker said, "There will always be too much work." The speaker was spot on. We work in environments that are understaffed. That suggests that someone in leadership made a decision that certain things that used to be done will no longer be done, or won't be done in the same way. Try to identify what those tasks are and stop doing them. A mentor told me that one way to determine if something is value added is to stop doing it and see if anybody notices. 


Take time to recharge your battery. If your battery is drained you'll drain everybody else's. I had to take a business trip this week--for my primary job as an attorney--which I do rarely. I had a speaking engagement at a conference. I was honored to be asked and anxious about participating.  I had a lengthy layover at Charlotte Douglas Airport. I had planned to visit with a friend. However, that didn't work out. So, I took advantage of the child-free time where I was surrounded by stores and service providers. I found a cute skirt at Brooks Brothers, had a sushi dinner, and got a manicure. The girl who did my manicure mentioned that my nails were in bad shape. 

I had been maintaining my own nails and thought they looked OK. Then, I thought about it and realized that my last manicure occurred when I was pregnant with my son. That was over three years ago. It's not like this was by design, it just happened. Everybody in the nail shop was incredulous as was I. After I had this realization, I decided to just enjoy the experience. It really recharged by battery. I made a promise to myself that I would not let that much time go by before my next manicure. Hold me accountable!

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