Posted: Dec 26, 2012 5:00 AM
Companies tout work-life balance but let's face it, a lot of moms struggle with focusing 100 percent on home or work. Is there really such a thing as balancing your life or is managing it a better way to look at things?

Oh, the dreaded B word -- balance. I don't know about you, but some days I feel like I have my work and family life under control, but many others I feel like I'm falling off the balance beam before I even step on it. I was starting to think work/life balance was a joke, then I talked to Sue Shellenbarger, a columnist on work and family issues for a national newspaper. Instead of using the word balance she prefers to call it "integration of work and family." Love it!

Put yourself first

If you're laughing at the thought of adding me time to your work/life mix, don't worry, I'm laughing while writing this. But let's face it -- if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of work responsibilities or our families to the best of our abilities.

Shellenbarger says, "Make sure you get sleep and exercise first -- you will be more focused."

Find flexibility at work

Many moms have flexible jobs that allow them to better integrate work and family life. If you don't, Shellenbarger offers these tips for talking to your boss:

  1. Envision and described in a written proposal how to get all of your objectives accomplished.
  2. Anticipate all possible objections and answer them.
  3. Put it all in writing with a defined pilot phase, sit down with your manager, and evaluate it at the end of six months, or even two.

Find flexibility at home

If you feel like you do a great job at your "non-mom" job, but not so much at home, remember this word: delegate.

Shellenbarger suggests, "Outsource as much as you can. If you don't have the money, barter or trade off responsibilities with neighbors and friends."

She also encourages moms to talk openly -- and often -- with their families.

"Explain: Here are the things I'm trying to get done... and see how it works for them. Some good ideas and perspectives can come from our family and loved ones."

Starting today, I'm going to try to take the B word out of my life.

Share with us!^ How do you balance -- I mean integrate -- work and family? Leave us a comment below.

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