Mum's Still The Word...
And your AW team continues its month-long series, which aims to chronicle career and home life-juggling corporate warriors. The working mums at Jamaica Yellow Pages have our full attention.
Ladianne Wade, director of sales at Global Directories
Mother of two sons, Joshua, 4 1/2, Stella Maris Preparatory School; and Jordan, 11 months
1 Get support from family: Having a supportive partner who can do everything helps a lot. So, too, does extended family support and a good caregiver. Never feel guilty about utilising trusted friends and family to help you; it is also good for the kids to develop healthy relationships with other people.
2 Manage your time well: In order to maximise time spent with the family I have had to learn to prioritise effectively. Having a 'To Do' list helps tremendously as it brings focus to the most important things that I need to get done, whether it is for work or for home. Additionally, do as much as you can the night before to prepare for the following day.
3 Make the most of the time you have with your kids and have fun: Love to a child is spelt time, so I try to spend as much time and make the most of the time we have together. Whether it is playing a game on the way to school, taking a walk around the neighbourhood, reading a bedtime story or making a meal together involving your child in a fun way, make these moments memorable for them.
4 Maximise your time at the office: Work smarter not harder, utilise every minute at the office effectively, and if you have to work after hours, do it after you put the kids to bed.
5 Take care of yourself and develop healthy habits: Don't let yourself come last, eat healthy, exercise and get rest. We need to fortify ourselves if we are to take care of the people who depend on us. So whether it's treating yourself to a long bath, watching your favourite movie, or spending time with your friends, do something that makes you happy to recharge your batteries.
Arlene Smith, human resources director at Global Directories
Mother of one daughter, Kristen Robinson, 7, Ardenne Preparatory School
1 Ensure that each facet of my life is kept separately.
2 Schedule a day that is just for her - Saturdays (all activities include her).
3 Work is strictly 8-5 or after she's gone to bed; only in extreme cases my child is asked to share her time.
4 Summer and Christmas holidays are strictly for vacation/travel (away from work).
5 Have a good relationship with her teachers - that helps me in helping them with the necessary reinforcement from home.
Caren Morrison, district sales manager, Jamaica Yellow Pages
Mother of 3 daughters and one son -— Chrystal, 21, student at UWI, Mona; Candiece, 20, student at UWI, Mona; Camielia, 18, student at Maths Unlimited; and Cal-Jon, 17, student at Ardenne High School
My life is not all about balancing motherhood and the executive demands of the job. Bound up, bound by and running through all of this is the life I have in and with my God. My husband is a pastor, so this comes with its attendant responsibilities.
Time management is of utmost importance as my rule is never to let any suffer on account of the other, so being able to manage is of utmost importance.
I start my day with Jesus; he is my source of strength.
As many things that can be done from overnight, I do, as this drastically reduces preparation time in the morning.
Since my children have to reach to school early, I also get to the office very early. This I find to be probably the most productive time of the day because there is hardly anyone in and it is very quiet. So I'll get to the office by 7:00 -7:30 am and accomplish a whole lot by 9:00 am. My job can be very consuming so I will leave about 5:30 and go home. When I am home my focus is on my family and not work. I ensure that their needs are met and when this is done it is now time for me to sacrifice my sleep and comfort to finish up any reports or check and reply to my emails and plan my 'to-do" list and prep for the next day.
We travel about an hour every morning from home to school and this time is used for our morning devotions and quality time - let's face it, I have a captive audience who can't run off, so we share a lot during this time.
A roster is set up with daily chores, which include meal plan, and regular morning activities, eg preparation of breakfast, lunch, etc so everyone knows what they are to do and everything is like clockwork. I don't prepare dinner during the week as I have a very supportive husband Courtney who does an excellent job of that.
My children still ask me at times to wake them up to study and stay up with them and when I do this I use the time to get through my administrative work and also that's when my creative juices flow for strategies, etc. My team members will tell you of the 1:00 am emails that they get from time to time.
Sundays after dinner is my "Me time". The time when I get my rest that will take me through the week, when it's just all about me.
Family vacation is an annual event that we all look forward to, we work hard so we play hard.
Tshani Jaja, marketing manager at Jamaica Yellow Pages
Mother of one son, Jhelani Parks, 11, student at Liberty Academy
1 Develop a strong support network: Growing up in a large, close-knit family myself, I learnt very early the value of family support. Having a strong support of family and friends has made this journey of motherhood easier. His dad picks him up from school and is sometimes assisted by his uncle or grandmother. On the evenings I work late he's either by his grandmother, at home with the helper or hanging with his dad. That's such a blessing because I can avoid the afternoon traffic and use that time to be more productive in the office. Good friends, too, help me to balance mentally and physically.
2 Prioritise: God, Family, Work. Everything in my life is done in that order. Putting God at the centre of my life creates the balance and helps me to prioritise and not sweat the small stuff.
3 Spend time doing the things you both enjoy: Movie dates and going to the country are our favourite pastime. But when the budget doesn't allow we enjoy the simpler things in life, like watching HG TV for ideas and inspiration to build our dream home. Those moments are priceless.
4 Establish solid relationships with the school and his teachers: I've cultivated a good relationship with Jhelani's teacher. She's aware of the demands of my work and keeps me updated on his areas of development. We work closely together to ensure that he gets the required help and academic supervision.
5 Be honest with your child: I share my struggles as well as my triumphs with my son, because I want him to understand that life is filled with obstacles but if he learns to persevere, be optimistic and dedicated, then no matter what challenges life brings there's always hope. They have to learn at an early age the realities of life. This has caused him to be more understanding and supportive of the sacrifices that I have to make for his good. And that takes a lot of pressure off me.
6 Make time for self: I'm a work in progress, therefore, it's important for me to make time to mature spiritually and mentally. Taking a day off to just be by myself with my thoughts, reviewing my past, planning for the future or just enjoying the present moment does wonders. Sometimes it's just about doing nothing for a couple of hours without the guilt of feeling that you need to be doing something.
Antonette Lopez, marketing assistant at Jamaica Yellow Pages
Mother of one daughter, Jazlyn Jackson, 4, student at Praise Tabernacle
Christian Academy Preparatory School
1 Make time for your child/children: If the choice is ironing or playing with the kids, choose playtime.
2 Make time for yourself to just relax: You have to create a balance in order to have good physical and mental health.
3 Be organised: This makes life easier, when you make a list of the things you need to get done you get the true scope of what needs to be done.
4 Don't compare yourself to other moms: It may look rosy on the other side but you don't know their real stories.
5 Exercise: Do this at least three times for the week, it keeps down your stress level.
Sheryl Robinson, graphics supervisor at Jamaica Yellow Pages
Mother of one son, Khamali Allen, 10, student at Portsmouth Primary
1 Create Time for Yourself: Being a good parent, partner and professional means being good to yourself first. Use your mind to make some affirmations for yourself. Find ways to relax, relieve tension and minimise stress. Taking some time off for yourself will not only benefit you, but it will benefit your work and family tremendously, as well! Take your vacation, ladies!
2 Get Organised: Set priorities, work smarter not harder, delegate (and really let go!). Plan meals for the week, this makes life much easier. Iron for the week.
3 Enjoy Quality Family Time: Spend quality/focused time with your family. Give them your full attention. Leave work on time to make dinner and assist with assignments.
4 Get Domestic Help If Necessary: Find someone you feel comfortable and confident in. This does not mean you must become lazy now, ladies!
5 Achieve An Integrated Life: Keep things in perspective. Create harmony in your life — a mixture of work, family and friends. Sometimes we pay attention to work and family and forget about the friends but we need to integrate all three in order to have that balance. Remember, there is no single formula for balancing work and family. It is a personal decision how one combines spouse, children and career.