Work mode: I'm on it. I know what to expect. I have a task list and can actually make progress checking them off. I may even have some authority. I follow directions and do not really have to make too many big choices. I have some control over my day and interactions with others.
Mom mode: I may be a part of a team or managing alone. I don't know what to expect from the kids or partner. I may have authority, but honestly....do kids always respect that? I have to make all the decisions while being pulled in multiple directions at the same time (what do we have for dinner? can you help with this math? I'm done pooping and need you to wipe my butt.)
This shift is not always easy to make, but recognizing that there are different roles and different methods of being in these two settings is the first step to reaching some balance. We act differently based on the situation and that is okay. We are not going to be the same with our closest friends as we are with strangers or at work or our kids. So, what is the difference for you? What does your work mode look like? What does home mode look like?
Now that you know the different roles you play, let's figure out how to transition from one to the other. What does that transition look like? It may vary depending on what the job is and how you get to/leave work. (i.e., your transition will look different if you leave work and pick the kids up immediately vs. if you have a commute vs. working night shift vs. going from work to gym to home). People benefit from some kind of mental transition. It is helpful for me to visualize closing my door at work or turning off my computer being the separation of that part of my day. I am a big scheduler and planner so that I can trust my checklist and plan to catch up on missed items during the built in catch up time. Building margin into my work schedule allows me to be present when I'm home because I trust my work will be done. Being flexible and intentional with my time at home allows me to be present with my kids, in the varying situations that we go through. No one is perfect at this.....especially me, but the good thing is that kids are resilient. A friend used to say that kids are like Rubbermaid, they bounce back. (if you remember those old Rubbermaid commercials it makes more sense) We may never be able to perfectly balance work and home, but making imperfect steps in the right direction is a good start. So, know your role and define a transition ritual to separate those modes of being. Balance is tough.....but so are you.