Like many working mothers, Rachel Beyer has had rollercoaster moments in her life. There are moments when she’s on top and experiencing the fullness of three healthy children, husband and a career. Then there are the low moments.
Complicating the balance, Beyer is both a dentist and a small business owner. About seven years ago, Beyer purchased her business from a retiring dentist about 85 miles away, so she and her husband pulled up roots to make that happen. Her youngest child was 2 years old at the time, and for a while, things were rough.
“My first year was a struggle, because I was learning how to run a business,” says Beyer. “I didn’t want to work too many hours and be away from my kids, but I had to work enough hours to pay the bills.”
Even with a supportive husband, there were many evenings Beyer came home so drained mentally and physically she felt she had nothing left to give. She couldn’t see it yet, but it would get easier.
Over the years, she’s tapped into a few strategies to finding a balance, such as hiring a good babysitter or asking a family member to look after the kids, even on the weekends for self-care or date night. And using modern conveniences such as grocery pick-up services.
But what really made the difference was an internal shift: giving herself the grace that she didn’t have to be the perfect mother every night. Some evenings, she could just go home and relax.
Practical strategies to finding balance
Learning how to balance motherhood and career will always be challenging, explains Melissa Miller, assistant vice president and senior HR business partner at Unum.
“But there are couple key things for working mothers to remember: You can’t do it all, so let some of that stuff go,” says Miller. “And it takes a village, so find your support system.”
Ideally, every mother could work at a family-friendly company that offers benefits such as flexible scheduling, generous maternity leave and affordable day care. But even without these benefits, there are a few things working moms can do to help create balance.
• Review your company’s benefits to make sure you’re taking full advantage of available resources that could help your family. For example, many companies offer an Employee Assistance Program, which is helpful for counselling and legal advice.
• From time to time, explore new services that could be huge time savers such as Shipt — think Uber for grocery shopping — and share that information with other working moms.
• Make friends with other moms from your kids’ school, and trade carpooling for school picks up and after school-activities.
• Hire services to save time on everyday chores such as house cleaning.
Today, Beyer feels more confident as a mother and a business owner compared to seven years ago. Her children are thriving, and her business is growing.
Recently, she found a way to combine motherhood and career when she took her oldest child on a medical volunteer trip with her to Peru. It was a wonderful bonding experience with her daughter. And she’s planning another medical volunteer trip this summer with her middle child.
Until then, this mother of three will continue to run her business and balance it all.