From Arianna Huffington’s strong editorials advocating for working mothers to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s tough stance on flexible workplaces, the discussion on working women and balance in the workplace is in full swing. In the office, ACI Senior Vice President Erin Krehbiel oversees the marketing team, IT, media relations and everything in between. At home, she is a wife and a mother of two children.
As an expert working mom, Erin weighs in on ‘leaning in,’ Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s stance on what it takes for women to succeed in the workplace. How do working women lean in? By tackling both career and personal responsibility head-on – and succeeding all the way around. Below are her tips on how she avoids that ‘working mom guilt’ and strikes that difficult balance between life in the office and at home.
As a wife, mother, employee, and boss I can’t help wondering at what cost I sacrifice things in one area for the other. The fact that I love my job and love going to work carries its own burden—it’s not that I don’t love being with my children all of the time, but could it be possible that I am a better mom by diversifying my time, achieving things professionally to ultimately provide for a better life?
It has taken me some time to feel comfortable enough to set boundaries in both my personal and professional life—this is not without saying that there are adjustments that need to be made along the way. Small decisions like making my time at home with my children fun and productive rather than running through the motions or managing my workload with technology allow me to be my better self.
A few quick tips:
· The kids are never too young to help! I like to get the whole family involved in meal planning so they are more willing to help cook, eat & clean up. We only have a few hours on the weekdays to be together and mealtime is an important chunk of that. Not to mention my three-year-old is more likely to eat something that he helped make.
· Working as a team. During the week, my husband handles a lot of the day-to-day business of running a household. But we also take turns, tag-teaming any issues that crop up. As a working mother with limited time, it’s absolutely essential to tackle the household as a team.
· Loving your work. I think it’s essential to note that I LOVE coming to work. It’s fun, challenging, and really provides me with an outlet for my mind. It never feels like a job, and it allows me to really focus on my kids when I get home.
· Taking time to “wrap up” at work before leaving the office. This has become my go-to-tool to button up my day and leave work at work. I have a clear set of to-dos for the next day and I don’t feel as flustered.
· Finding balance: I am better at everything when I provide my mind & body with balance. This means regular physical exercise, healthy food and sleep. I often feel tired when I get home so I incorporate a family activity to get my heart pumping, like running with the kids. That way they start to understand how important it is to have a healthy lifestyle!
· Enlisting technology.
· I sync my personal Google calendar and work Outlook calendars to give me a big picture view of my obligations. It allows me to be cognizant of periods where I have a lot going on in one area and might want to avoid over-scheduling myself and my family. That means more than just saying we’re going to take a break; I actually schedule some down time into the calendar.
· I love using Facebook Groups for my moms group. We keep each other up to date, create events, and even send out reminders, which has saved me countless times.
· Treat is my ultimate go-to for sending out custom cards to any single recipient – for birthdays, holidays, special occasions, and more. It saves time, it’s cheaper than buying/mailing cards, and no more hunting around for a stamp!
· The PackingPro App streamlines the whole planning and packing process for both business and family travel. It’s incredibly helpful in not forgetting key items, and includes reminders for things to do before leaving.
Will I ever get over my Working Mother Guilt? Probably not, but I am okay with that because I want to be a better mother, wife and employee. There’s always room for improvement, and I look forward to meeting every challenge every step of the way.