When you're both working and raising a family concurrently, you can often feel like you're just surviving, rather than really living. A packed schedule, feelings of guilt, performance at work and time with family can all affect how you feel as a mom. By setting smart goals -- both family- and work-related -- you can help prioritize what's really important and live the life that you want.
There are effectively two types of goals for working moms -- short-term and long-term goals. Both have their roles in making you a better person. Short-term goals usually contribute to the bigger picture as part of your long-term goals, notes the book "Happy at Work, Happy at Home: The Girl's Guide to Being a Working Mom" by Caitlin Friedman, et al. You might make a short-term goal of being on time to work every day for a month, for instance, which could then contribute to a long-term goal of getting a promotion or raise. A short-term goal might be to pack your child's lunch every day for a week in an effort to reach the long-term goal of a healthier family.
Your time is already a precious commodity, so if you want to set goals, you'll need to create a plan for success. Making a goal to be a better mom is admirable, but it lacks a plan or a way to measure your progress. Instead, you could try defining three factors in being a better mom, such as giving your kids more attention, being less plugged into technology at home and negotiating for a more flexible working schedule to allow more time with your family. Write down your goals and your plan for achieving them so you have a clear-cut map for success.
You can't have an effective goal without a way to measure your success. While not all goals are traditionally measurable -- it's hard to measure your supervisor's satisfaction or your family's happiness, for example -- you can choose certain markers for your goals. If you've set a goal to obtain a promotion at work, you could ask your supervisor for a performance evaluation. If you're hoping for more quality time with your kids, you could talk to your family about your schedule and what needs to change. By measuring your goals, you can see and celebrate your progress, rather than feel guilty for what you haven't accomplished yet.
A solid goal should be time-bound, according to Henry M. Cothran, et al., for the University of Florida IFAS Extension. This allows you to have an end in sight and better evaluate your success. When you come to the end of your set goal, take some time to assess how you've done and reward yourself. Rewarding yourself doesn't necessarily mean purchasing something new, but it could mean simply taking the time to acknowledge your hard work and celebrate your success. Working toward that reward can be what keeps you working hard on your goal in becoming better in both facets of your role as a working mom.
- Happy at Work, Happy at Home: The Girl's Guide to Being a Working Mom; Caitlin Friedman, et al.; p.175
- Working Mom Journal: 5 Goal-Setting Tips for a Better 2011
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Developing SMART Goals for Your Organization
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