What I have learnt about finding a work life balance

I don’t think I know a single person who is not striving to find that elusive work life balance. Even before having the boys working long corporate hours I was constantly questioning whether I was doing the right thing. Don’t get me wrong its not that I was under any pressure to work them. Its the sort of person I am. Constantly striving for the next rung on the ladder, the next big account, the next step up. Its my nature, my need to achieve, its just the way I’m made. Having the boys hasn’t changed that and actually accepting these things about myself has made it slightly easier. The boys will always always come first but it doesn’t fundamentally change me as a person or my career goals. But what it does do it lead me to question and double check myself constantly. Which I then go on to beat myself up for….. mummy guilt!

Theres no arguing that having the boys has lead to some emotional ramblings about this very heart felt topic – Dear Pregnant Career Girl being one. I guess the question is, is it really possible to have it all? Not only content with the corporate career girl hat, I decided in 2017 to make Mudpie Fridays into a limited company. I spend my corporate life helping small businesses achieve their goals. So I figured I should use that skill set to see how far I can take Mudpie Fridays. Having been up and running now for just over six months I am amazed by everything that the blogs achieved and I have some pretty big plans to where I want to take the brand. The question is can I fit it all in? Did I also mention that I volunteer as a parent governor for the local infant school?

In the long nights of a newborn and the early morning wake ups of a toddler I have come to the conclusion that I can. Theres no rocket science behind it. Just a simple belief that its possible. I lost a dear friend to cancer when Monkey was 17 months old. It taught me a hugely valuable life lesson … an obvious one. Yet until that point I hadn’t felt mortality. I don’t ever want to wake up and think what if I…

I often get asked how I manage to fit it all in, other than the simple belief there are some other things I have learnt in my journey so far.

  • Accept that sometimes you are going to drop a ball – do not beat yourself up about it, accept it and move on
  • Take help when its offered, be that the school run or tea at Nannies, or business advice from someone who has done it
  • Find ways to be more efficient with yout time. For example a lot of my blog posts are written in the car while Hubby drives. When I am at work corporately I am at work. I don’t get distracted as I have a finate number of hours to fit the work I need to get done into.
  • I try to schedule in quality time with Hubby as I work most (all) evenings
  • There will be stressful days but fundamentally make sure you are still enjoying it. If you don’t stop it. Change it. Have a break.
  • Be clear on the reasons why you are doing it. If there is no reason. Don’t do it.
  • Build a network of like minded mums, for emotional support and reassurance when you do have that wobble. As it is inevitable and it will come and hopefully disappear as quickly as it arrives. If it doesn’t they will help you work through it, as they understand it. And the the boots on the other foot? Helping them can be just an empowering as helping yourself
  • Remind yourself that trying is better than not trying – remain flexible, adapt.
  • Strive for small incremental 1% improvements in everything you do.
  • Sleep!!!

Don’t get me wrong there is still a lot I need to learn – how to take better selfies for one! But realising that its a journey and that I can only do what I can do has helped take the pressure off. The pressure I put on myself I hasten to add!

I know in the coming months I will need to make decisions, the balance will shift. I know at some point I may need to give something up. But until that point comes I will continue on this rollercoaster and enjoy every minute of it. I have also recently been shortlisted for the Working Parent Blogger of the Year Award by Mum and Working. I am honoured to be included alongside some truly amazing blogs and some huge brand names. Its a ‘voted for’ category, if you would like to vote for Mudpie Fridays then you can do so here. Voting is open until 5th February. Your vote would be very gratefully received, being shortlisted has made me realise just how far I have come in the almost three years I have been writing. A little private pat on the back. If I am honest I am not really expecting to make the finalist list…. but every girl can dream and believe… right?

 

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76 Comments

  1. anthony harrington
    January 11, 2018 / 9:32 am

    always tricky to balance life, somethings we cannot alter but always worth having a review as few tweaks are changes can create a better use of time.

  2. January 11, 2018 / 9:50 am

    I find having one thing you force yourself not to bother about (or not to bother about for now) is enormously releasing. Not something important like paying the mortgage or feeding yourself/your child – something like having a scruffy house (within acceptable hygiene limits). Then you know what to put on the back burner to focus on important or enjoyable stuff when the going gets tough. Mine are any ironing beyond the very basics and having a house that looks completely coordinated. When I’m working long hours I cut back on those and invest the time in family (my work involves a lot of out of hours – no childcare – means working at night). The unrealistic expectations from the media often leads us to worry about unimportant things (usually how something LOOKS – like ‘does your house have a burlap wreath’ on pinterest ALL BLOODY YEAR): if you know why you are working and what you want, it makes it easier to succeed for YOU not what glossy magazines and instagram suggests.

  3. Ursula Hunt
    January 11, 2018 / 9:53 am

    I find the work life balance hard, this is an interesting article

  4. January 11, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    Aw, what a lovely post. I totally agree, it is very hard to find time for everyone if you have work demands. I am not particularly career driven as such, but I am a perfectionist which means that I can’t do anything half-hearted, blog included. If I let up on myself a little, instead at glaring with a constant, critical evil eye, I think I would be more content! Totally agree that if it isn’t fun, it’s time to move on!

  5. Annabel Greaves
    January 11, 2018 / 1:40 pm

    This is a really useful article on work life balance xx

  6. January 11, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    Well done on being nominated for such a great award, it sounds like you put so much effort in to everything that you do. I voted of course – good luck!!

  7. sharon stanley
    January 11, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    I really struggle with punishing myself for not being able to do everything I want to. Love this post about finding the perfect balance. It’s something I am yet to find.

  8. January 11, 2018 / 5:37 pm

    Great advice here. It’s definitely tough to get the right work life balance, and what’s right for one person may not be for someone else #Sharingthebloglove

  9. Ashleigh Allan
    January 11, 2018 / 6:23 pm

    Lots of good tips. I find it difficult

  10. January 12, 2018 / 12:59 am

    I don’t have children but I say to friends who do, just be kind to yourself. If you’re doing your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you.

  11. January 12, 2018 / 9:30 am

    I struggle enough finding a balance between working, freelancing, blogging and myself so adding kids into the mix would be a disaster. I think it’s about taking those little pockets of down time and doing something you love in them even if it’s just watching a YouTube video or reading a few pages of a book x

  12. Iris Tilley
    January 12, 2018 / 10:01 am

    Not an easy task something always has to give but reading articles like this does help Thank You

  13. January 12, 2018 / 11:26 am

    Congrats on your nomination. I hope you win. I am in the pursuit of achieving a work/life balance. I doubt it truly exists.

  14. January 12, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    You deserve to win the award and many more. How you keep up with everything is a mystery to me. I struggle keeping up now and I’ve only just started x

  15. January 12, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    Congratulations on your nomination. You deserve it. I think we are trying to find a better work/life balance. I know I struggled with it before I left my job and yet still struggle. Best of luck with the award, you’ve got my vote x

  16. January 12, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    Congratulations on your baby nomination. You are an inspiration. I work 3 days and blog in my spare time. I wish my blog was even half as successful.

  17. January 13, 2018 / 8:22 am

    Well done on everything you do. I think some of us are “doers” and we strive on having many things going on. Accepting help on little things is great advice – even just with one school run. Su

  18. Ren Taylor
    January 13, 2018 / 9:38 am

    Congrats on the nomination! Work life balance is hard….as a teacher i am now just doing Supply Work so i can work less and choose the days i want to do…..its working for me finally x

  19. Susan B
    January 13, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    many congratulations on being shortlisted for the award. A well-deserved nomination as far as I am concerned.

    Yes, you can dream and I think everyone has it in them to burn the candle at both ends while attempting to reach a goal. For now, enjoy the buzz of being busy and receiving recognition for your excellent blog.

    You will know when it is time to slow down.

  20. Chrissy Harris
    January 13, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    Completely agree with your ideas and it’s great to have a support network of other mums as you suggest

  21. kRIS
    January 13, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    Great advice here, it can feel like a juggling act at times.

  22. Lynda Graham
    January 13, 2018 / 4:46 pm

    Thoroughly agree with you Claire, you have great perception, love your ideas
    Keep going and Many Congratulations. xx

  23. January 13, 2018 / 8:09 pm

    I’m often in awe of how much you achieve with your blog as well as in your working life. It’s clear how driven you are and I’ve made a note of some of your points to try and carve out some of that time and motivation for myself. And I’d absolutely love to see you win – you have my vote! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  24. Sidrah Ahmed
    January 13, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    Great post i have enjoyed reading and very helpful advice

  25. A.E. ADKINS
    January 14, 2018 / 10:01 am

    Great post, learning to say “no” occasionally in all areas of life can give a little breathing space too

  26. January 14, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    I’ve already voted for you, I don’t know anyone who works quite as hard as you do with your job and then a blog too!! I don’t think I could juggle a job and a blog, and still have time to stay sane. You do it so well!

  27. January 14, 2018 / 7:17 pm

    I think it is amazing that you have turned your blog into a company. Well done you! I personally find it really difficult to get a balance, but I do think it is important to set work hours and then stick to those. Good luck for 2018. Looking forward to seeing how your blog / company grows.

  28. January 14, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    Having a work life balance is very important. I’m trying to ensure I avoid burn out and actually enjoy life, by keeping things in their place. Great advice! x

  29. January 15, 2018 / 11:17 am

    Firstly congratulations on the nomination ! Secondly , yep work life balance is so tricky but can be done . You’ve some great tips and advice !you amaze me too if I’m totally honest ! Go you !!!

  30. Rachel Atkinson
    January 15, 2018 / 2:18 pm

    congrats 🙂

  31. January 15, 2018 / 4:48 pm

    It can be really difficult to strike the perfect work/life balance when you’re a parent, especially as we’re all taking on so much nowadays. I think you’re doing an amazing job though and you’ve shared some great tips for those of us looking for a bit of help!

  32. January 15, 2018 / 7:01 pm

    I don’t have kids but I do own a bakery which I refer to as my child, haha. It can be so tough to switch off and have a life outside of work but it’s so important. This is a great post full of brilliant tips.

    Congratulations on your nomination 🙂

    Katie xoxo

  33. January 16, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    You are super woman! You inspire me so much with everything that you achieve, I’m sure you have some extra hours in your day! Good luck my lovely, you know you’ve got my vote and you deserve to win x

  34. January 17, 2018 / 9:30 am

    As a working Mum of three and also trying to get my blogs and writing to a level I’m making decent money from, I can totally relate to all of this. #BloggerClubUK

  35. January 17, 2018 / 10:00 am

    Wow. How exciting to be shortlisted. Good luck!

  36. January 17, 2018 / 10:02 am

    Wow you sound busy! That sounds like my life. I’ve now taken to Writing in the car when little one naps. You’ve just got to grab time when you can and prioritise. I don’t get everything done, but I’ll give it a go. Off to check out the award/ voting page #bloggerclubuk

  37. January 17, 2018 / 10:39 am

    Such a great post and I am certain that so many mum’s are trying to juggle all of these things so big up to you that you are managing on the rollercoaster 🙂 I myself struggle and have given up full time work to make a go of this blogger thing *LOL* and it is so important to try and find the balance between work and family, not sitting on social media at all hours of the day and night is my weakness! Haha

    #BloggerClubUK
    Shevy

  38. January 17, 2018 / 11:41 am

    Fantastic advice/tips – I am on maternity leave at the moment, but sometimes blogging can feel like a full time job. Sometimes I need to take a step back and get a better work/life balance 🙂 #BloggerClubUK

  39. January 17, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    This is such a great post. It can be hard to get the balance right and I am currently how I am going to do with with a second baby on the way! Oh and well done for getting shortlisted – off to vote now.

    • January 17, 2018 / 12:24 pm

      #BloggerClubUK

  40. January 17, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Hey great read. Your blog is lovely, I love the layout and great pics. Mummy guilt is an awful feeling. #bloggersclubuk

  41. January 17, 2018 / 3:09 pm

    I’m still trying to figure it out. I am sort of a perfectionist with certain things like this but I also know that I’m getting closer to the balance I want and I’m doing my best. I love your tips:) #bloggerclubuk

  42. January 17, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    Wow..! I want to be one of the ones who ask you how you do it! That’s so inspiring, I struggle so much with finding a balance.. especially after just having a horrible virus for a week where I was forced to let everything go, apart from looking after my children of course! Good luck with the award – you deserve it! I’m going to vote for you now… xx

  43. January 17, 2018 / 8:20 pm

    Ah, the constant challenge to achieve work-life balance! It’s so tricky, and always interesting to hear how other people do it! #BloggerClubUK

  44. January 17, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    If there’s no reason to do it. Don’t do it. That really struck a chord with me. I need to start prioritising things better and saying no more. Good luck in the awards #BloggerClubUK

  45. Rich Tyler
    January 18, 2018 / 12:06 am

    Lovely, honest words, can’t say fairer then that!

  46. January 18, 2018 / 9:30 am

    This is a great post. I am always trying to find balance between blogging, parenting and my chronic illness. It is so hard at times and not easy but and sometimes things have to be sacrificed.

  47. Tracy Nixon
    January 18, 2018 / 9:36 am

    Glad you worked it out – hopefully from now on, you will feel balanced and less under pressure x

  48. January 18, 2018 / 10:25 am

    Good luck with the award. Work life balance is so important. I know I could never give up work, but my blog is my time. We don’t have couple time because the OH won’t and then he snoozes in front of the tv in the evenings which gives me time to blog.

  49. January 18, 2018 / 12:43 pm

    A lovely and reassuring read. As mums I don’t think we give ourselves permission to drop the ball sometimes, and so we beat ourselves up when we happen. Some great advice here too that I really need to implement #bloggerclubuk

  50. January 18, 2018 / 6:56 pm

    I like the honesty in this post. I totally endorse your statement “have mummy friends”. I met a group of mums (all of whom are now back working) just after I gave birth and we still meet up now. We are a support network/counselling group with a few glasses of wine thrown in the mix as well. #bloggerclubuk

  51. Sarah Austin
    January 18, 2018 / 8:31 pm

    Congratulations on the nomination! I am soon to become a mum so work life balance will become increasingly important!

  52. January 19, 2018 / 12:47 am

    Acceptance is the part I bet most people struggle with. #AnythingGoes

  53. January 19, 2018 / 11:10 am

    It’s an endless struggle being a working parent, balls will inevitably be dropped and guilt sets in. But we are all going through it, it’s one of the big social issues of our generation. I hope that by the time our children are having children things will have improved on this front. #BloggerClubUK

  54. Emma Walton
    January 20, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    It’s very difficult to find a work life balance, especially with small children because they don’t understand why you have to work or why you also need some couple/me time. They tend to want all your free time to themselves!

  55. January 20, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    One of my goals for this year is to find a work life balance. Good luck with the awards. I’m sure you’ll ace it. #BloggerClubUK

  56. sarah pearce
    January 20, 2018 / 7:16 pm

    I find it easy to go to work,as personally I need it for my own mental state of health, I have though been gutted that I have missed some my daughter milestones,even though she is my 4th x

  57. January 20, 2018 / 9:53 pm

    I’m very impressed at how you managed to juggle it all and achieve what you are clearly managing to achieve with your blog. Having a good work-life balance can be tricky and your tips are so helpful. I have to admit that accepting help is a big weakness of mine – I have more support available than I think I do sometimes, and it really is just a question of being willing to accept the help that is offered. I definitely agree with making the most of small pockets of time – I have days when I’m better at doing this and it is amazing what a difference it can make. #sharingthebloglove

  58. paula cheadle
    January 20, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    learning to say NO was the hardest thing I had to learn, whence I had my kids

  59. Leila Benhamida
    January 21, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Wonderful tips. My top one will be never refuse any help.

  60. Deborah Mackenzie
    January 21, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    Great tips. It can be hard to juggle everything going on in life – making time for myself is the hardest as those around me don’t understand that sometimes I need just me time.

  61. Deborah Mackenzie lo
    January 21, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    Great tips. It can be hard to juggle everything going on in life – making time for myself is the hardest as those around me don’t understand that sometimes I need just me time.

  62. sheri Darby
    January 21, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    Avoid trying to do more than is comfortable. Who needs superwoman?

  63. Sandra Jo Siddall
    January 22, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Congratulations on being nominated for such a fabulous award! Fantastic tips!

  64. January 22, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    You’re doing an amazing job! Working full time while looking after a toddler was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I’m glad I’ve not had to go back to my ‘proper’ job since having Gabe, although I’m sure I will eventually. You’ve got some great tips on how to cope though – and for the record, I love your selfies 🙂 #SharingTheBlogLove

  65. January 22, 2018 / 11:11 pm

    everyone struggles with work life balance I think though your personality has a big impact on it – its take me a long time to recognise that sometimes you can be good enough and do the minimum required rather than killing myself to get something done

  66. Stevie
    January 23, 2018 / 8:37 am

    I think that balance. I used to work a lot of night shifts and I was so unhappy.

  67. Deborah Clarke
    January 23, 2018 / 9:01 am

    Balancing commitments is always such a tough one. However my top tip would be simply try not to stress. No-one is perfect you can only try your best . X

  68. Sheila Reeves @cakereev
    January 23, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    Trying to balance work/life is a difficult one, think you’ve got a great list there, especially adding in the sleep! And making sure you still enjoy it, really important!

  69. Hayley Todd
    January 23, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    This is something I really struggle with. I made a big decision last year, to change career as the path I was following meant I was working long hours, working at home in the evenings and at weekends and it got to the point where I was making myself ill, spreading myself far too thin and neither work nor home was getting the best of me. I decided to throw it all in and change paths completely. I now work between 25-32 hours a week, usually spread over 3 or 4 days so I am how much more often. Even now, on the days I work long hours I have a huge sense of mummy guilt!

  70. Kayleigh Watkins
    January 23, 2018 / 6:28 pm

    What a fantastic post to show people anything is possible if you strive hard enough, I can’t believe you have only been blogging six months, your blog looks very professional and you run it better than other blogs I’ve seen who are celebrating their 4+ years, and with two young children too, you really are an inspiration, and are very lucky to have such a supportive husband and other bloggers xxx

  71. Kerry H
    January 23, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    I’m back at work after maternity leave and it’s been a tough few months conserving my precious time with my son.

  72. Jeanette Leighton
    January 24, 2018 / 1:37 pm

    I wouldn’t know personally I have always been a stay at home mum but it may change in the near future

  73. Diana
    January 24, 2018 / 9:23 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this!

  74. Tee Simpson
    January 24, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    Very interesting. I will need to consider this soon

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