Navigating Family, Career And Self

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by NOW, Nov 9, 2021.

  1. NOW

    NOW Gold IL'ite

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    To all the wonderful women here who are working outside and/or having 24x7 jobs at home taking care of family & household... I am in late thirties with 2 kids (8 & 4 years of age) and minimal help from family except my husband here in this country. I am aspiring to grow in my career, be the best version of myself and a better mom with a reasonably well taken care of home and social life.. I sometimes wonder what are the tips and tricks that other experienced and been-there/done-that women have followed to make the transition from one already demanding phase of life to a even more demanding one.. especially over the age of 35 assuming by this age we have already laid a good foundation and been fairly successful but want to expand the horizon and take it to the next level in life .. This may also be keeping in mind someone who is restarting their career or veering into a different direction for any reason. Please pour your thoughts, experiences and wisdom :) .

    I am jotting down my thoughts here which I have so far identified as some key elements from my own life:

    1. Self care is utmost important thing - any form of physical exercise 4 - 6 days a week , mindfulness techniques likes meditation, long walks, immersing in some activity that brings inner peace .. Carving me time and time with people whom you love to be with.

    2. Need to be aware when you are being self critical, over analyzing, comparing to others, judging etc.. thinking either you are better or worse that others and having this constant self doubt. Catch yourself and cut down these negative thoughts.

    3. Be compassionate and kind to others conditions and situations. Never assume and you do not know the complete story unless you have walked a mile in their shoes.

    4. Must learn how to manage your routine and time accordingly to your family's schedule and drop activities which are not serving you or impacting the quality. It is always quality over quantity.

    There are many more that I can think of... But I am eager to hear from you all !
     
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  2. KashmirFlower

    KashmirFlower IL Hall of Fame

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    Good points 2, 3, and 4. I will add
    5. Be kind to yourself, take help/involve others where ever it is available and whenever possible.
     
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  3. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    This is the puzzle I’v been trying to solve for the last 15 years. : ) How does one have it all or do it all? I don’t think I’ve cracked the code or anything but I do think I’ve found a measure of success in most aspects of life. I have some thoughts I’ll share later today. Just popped in to say good initiative OP!
     
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  4. NOW

    NOW Gold IL'ite

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    Thank you @Gauri03 , you have got my intention right as to why I created this thread. There is no one size fits all secret to success and happiness in life. Also the roles today's women are playing are so so diverse yet at the heart they have the same theme of nurturing and empowering that have been there from centuries. I got these thoughts when I saw some content on 'What I would tell my younger self'. This time around I want to try to read the manual first before operating the machine :) ..If at all that is even possible .. One can dream and hope though ..
     
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  5. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Nice thread, NOW.

    My list is mostly a subset of the one in the first post.

    Mindfulness practice, regular exercise, enough rest and mostly healthy food are the basic stuff.

    Adopting a few CBT techniques helped. I found some DBT skills to also be worth thinking about.

    After the above are in place, I have three books by two authors always on hold in Libby. : ) Cal Newport's "Deep Work", "Digital Minimalism" and James Clear's "Atomic Habits." These helped me be aware of time-thief's.

    Starting to use Bullet Journaling (BuJo) was life altering. Outsourcing many household chores was another surprise. I reclaimed my weekends. Found good house cleaners after decades of cleaning the whole house ourselves, and healthy Indian food take-out options. The Indian food options was a revelation. These ladies make healthy, almost no-oil food that tastes awesome. And so professional, well-organized ordering system.

    But above all, three things have helped:
    - Ruthlessly edit out people and interactions that drain energy.
    - Do not delegate tasks that are super important. I usually have to redo them.
    - More important than a to-do list is what is pruned from it. The undone tasks are a serious cognitive energy drain, especially for my nature of being hard on myself.

    I like to think I have done well in most areas. In those that I didn't, I failed but failed magnificently. And, due to known mistakes or willful laziness.
     
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  6. NOW

    NOW Gold IL'ite

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    You really got me thinking with each and every point made here and glad to compare notes and see that I have already started off on few things recommended like hiring cleaners . We do not have good options to order home made Indian good where we live unfortunately but will keep looking for options to streamline.

    - The other things pointed out on CBT and DBT skills are so apt as we have to deal with personalities and handle situations pleasant or otherwise AND not got affected.

    - Never tried Bullet Journaling ! I will look into it . Sounds interesting.

    - I can say over last 2 years I got little better at handling people who drain me out and downgraded their relationship and try not be emotionally dependent on them.

    - Need to work a lot on the discretion to delegate tasks and pruning to-do lists.

    - I am a big fan of Atomic Habits and did not read Cal Newport's books though. Adding them to my To-Read list.

    - It is interesting that you added a line on magnificent failures and this calls for practicing acceptance and letting go

    Thanks a bunch for these valuable tips !
     
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  7. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    - No one does it all. We demand insane feats from ourselves and when we inevitably fail we despair. Lower your expectations from yourself. You cannot be the best employee, perfect mom, most responsive friend and host, take perfect care of yourself and your home all the time. But you can be all of these at separate points of time and that’s about as good as it gets. For me, understanding the difference was the beginning of contentment.

    - As has been said, knowing what to do is important, but knowing what to edit is even more important. My previous boss, VP at one of the FAANG companies, suffered from a terrible case of FOMO. He attended every meeting he was invited to because he worried he would miss out. He spent more than half his day showing up to trivial meetings and wasting time defending his turf. He worked from 7am to 11pm, yet he was no close to making SVP. Professionally I have become the queen of saying no. I have a strategic vision for my team (and myself) and my attention is reserved for things that serve that vision. Of course I can only do this because of the professional currency I’ve built up over the years.

    - Put effort into nurturing your professional connections. Stay in touch with old bosses, professors, advisors and colleagues. I exchange interesting research with my PhD advisor till date. This continued connection led to me being invited to the board of alumni advisors at my department. I have calendar reminders to keep in touch with old bosses and colleagues. I make it a point to take them out to lunch every six months and it keeps the connections active. Really helpful when you are trying to find opportunities or need references.

    - Just like your professional network build your personal village. Cultivate social subgroups that fill different niches in your life. I have my girls groups, my parent friends, my work circle, my hobby groups. Time and time again studies have shown that quality of life depends on the depth of our social relationships. I have the sort of friends whom I can call at 6pm after work and say I haven’t cooked today, and they will offer to share their dal-sabzi. I also have my quid pro quo friends who take my kids to school games and I pick up theirs from practice. That is the extent of my connection with them. Life is a hundred times harder if you try to go it alone. I used to have the mindset that I can’t ask for help unless I know someone personally and have a strong social connection with them. Now I am not above a purely transactional connection so long as both of us are serving a purpose for each other.

    - Pay for the help that you can reasonably afford. You may save money by not having help but you will pay in intangible ways — missed experiences, missed memories, added stress and depleted health. If it isn’t financially feasible relax your standards. Every bit of domestic drudgery outsourced or permanently deferred buys you more of the precious currency of time. The extra hour of sleep is worth the messy living room or the $$ it costs to have it cleaned for you.

    - Learn to disappoint other people or you will keep disappointing yourself. I wrote at length about this here. Last Friday a friend pinged me to join her family for dinner on Saturday evening. Turned out Saturday evening was the only quiet slot in my entire weekend. I really didn’t want to disappoint her but that would mean a packed weekend with zero downtime. I apologized and made my excuses. She didn’t reply and hasn’t messaged me since. I know she is angry with me but I don’t regret my choice. Let people manage their own feelings. You are not responsible for making choices that make other people feel better. You have to do what is right for you. This is especially important at work. If you can’t get comfortable with saying no you will always find yourself stretched thin and resentful.

    - Life is a negotiation of priorities. In an ideal world we would have every thing on our to do lists checked off by night and slumber at peace. But life loves ruining your plans. These days I ask myself in the morning what three things can I check off my list today that will allow me to go to bed with satisfaction. I make two such lists one professional and one personal, then let the rest fall out of focus. Usually I get those six things done and one or two more that I hadn’t planned. Even though most of my 50 item to-do list lies untouched I feel content at the end of the day.

    - Once you start inching towards your forties find something that is yours and for you alone. I restarted my classical music training a little while ago. Most weeks I dread the session with my teacher because I haven’t practiced the raga or the bandish she taught me. But there has never been a time when I thought to myself after the class, “I wish I hadn’t taken the time.” I am not a very good student. I barely practice a couple of times a week, but even one hour a week brings me indescribable peace and satisfaction. I am doing something purely for the love of it and solely for myself. I can’t emphasize how important it is to have these personal passions as we age.

    To sum up a very long post, here’s a quote by John Steinbeck - “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, be good.” : )
     
  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    @NOW,

    An excellent initiative and you have already done a great job by not only posting this thread but also attracted the best comments from the ladies here in IL. There are so many of what everyone said I like so much and a few I am mentioning below:

    I am sure other ladies who are doing such a great job in balancing their career and family responsibilities including raising their children would further comment here.

    In my humble view, To Do List is just transfering the data that you store in your memories to an external drive so that you can release some of the space in our minds. It doesn't mean every one of them has to be accomplished. The days ahead and time elapsed automatically make some of these action items either redundant or not a priority anymore.

    Self-confidence/Self-worth, self-satisfaction or self-fulfillment and self-sacrifice are 3 precious tools that we possess that no one can take it away. When we spend our time on a specific task actually we are sacrificing our time. We need to validate how does it improve our self-confidence/self-worth and self-satisfaction. When we perform actions in our professional career, we always like to gain self-confidence/self-worth an self-satisfaction. Our role in the family or the society is no different. Every relationship we build, every action we perform for the family and friends and every step we take to improve our professional skills, should be reviewed how it affects self-confidence and self-satisfaction. We have to build self-love in order to achieve this.

    Frankly, if we perform actions to please others without feeling how it improves our incredible self-worth, we fail to expend the full energy such action deserves. A good relationship is how I feel about it as much as how others feel in that relationship. A healthy relationship comes from lack of pressure, inner happiness, healthy boundaries, transparent communication without worrying about emotions tied to it and so on.

    Aiming perfection is equivalent to aiming an accurate result. Accurate results are not only produced by our best actions but also by other factors. If we aim for perfection, we fail to enjoy the processes involved in performing our actions. Aiming perfection affects our self-confidence and self-satisfaction. Qualitative improvement in our actions happen by how much we pay attention to the processes and how we learn from them. Actual measurement of good action has to be based on how much we enjoyed doing it more than what results it had produced. Perfection is a moving target and understanding that is essential for us to lead an ideal and purposeful life filled with love and light.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
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  9. KashmirFlower

    KashmirFlower IL Hall of Fame

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    this thread should go for the monthly best post nominations
     
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  10. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    The most useful pieces of advice I got are that “no” is a complete sentence and that an invitation is not a summons.
     
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