Summertime might bring certain challenges for working mothers who need to deal with children at home as well as their professional life. Planning ahead, sticking to a work-life ratio, and considering how to approach hybrid work are some of the expert-recommended solutions to reduce burnout and elevated stress levels.
June 22, 2022. 53% of women report increased levels of stress while 46% admit feeling burned out in their workplaces. Given that many working women, who are also mothers, are expected to juggle professional and family lives in the same capacity, the summertime might prove to be even more challenging because of the school holidays.
Diana Blažaitienė, a remote work expert and founder of Soprana Personnel International, which is a recruitment and personnel rent solutions agency, says there are ways for women to manage their family and professional time during the summer and reduce the strain on their mental health.
Planning beforehand to foresee the potential bottlenecks
The expert urges start planning the school holidays in advance to hold off the stress that comes from dealing with out-of-school children during the business week.
“Planning the time down to the smallest details—meals, activities, play dates, important phone numbers, emergency contacts—offers assurance that all parts of the day are taken care of. The calendar or agenda can be placed somewhere the entire family can see and refer to it, ” Ms. Blažaitienė said. “But at the same time, the plan does not have to be overcrowded with activities—one important task per day is enough to not let the stress get the better of women.”
Ms. Blažaitienė recommends sharing the agenda with the family members, especially children, and making them allies during the summer holidays. “If the children know about their daily schedule and what is expected of them, they might feel a stronger sense of duty, and will therefore be more willing to help out.”
The need to establish hybrid work rules
Flexible remote work might not be an option for working mothers as in some cases it might mean they are missing out on significant professional growth opportunities. At the same time, they might feel that they are putting in more effort at work while taking up more responsibilities at home. While switching back to full on-site work might not be possible with children staying at school in the summer, Ms. Blažaitienė believes certain rules must be established to avoid overworking.
“Working at home does not mean that a person needs to complete all household tasks at the same time. On the contrary, working mothers should stick to a strict work and rest ratio and complete work tasks only during business hours instead of doing the chores all day and working late at night when everyone’s asleep,” the expert weighed in. “Overtime might further boost stress levels and burnout, so my advice would be to monitor the hours worked and not exceed the required limit.”
Quality leisure time—a priority in reducing burnout
While summer’s not all about rest for working adults, quality leisure time is a must no matter the age, Ms. Blažaitienė claims. “This is where diligent time planning pays off—scheduling quality time for themselves only might help working mothers to strike that work-life balance.”
The expert suggests women with children allocate early mornings or late evenings only for themselves and do something that means quality free time to them—this helps them to recharge and avoid feeling that their whole energy goes to childcare, domestic chores, and work projects.