Working mums and dads know how difficult it is to achieve work-life balance and it can often seem like an endless struggle. Whether you work full-time or part-time, in a workplace or at home, competing demands from work and family life can be difficult to juggle (let alone finding any time just for you) and feelings of guilt can become overwhelming.
It is often helpful to hear from other mums who are successfully achieving that elusive balance, to consider their approach and see if you can adapt and apply any of their strategies to improve your own situation. The Confident Mother’s global online conference, run by Sherry Bevan, a successful author, coach and speaker, is a fantastic opportunity to do just that.
The online conference runs from 16-27 January 2017 and is completely free to attend. All you need to do is register your details. Once registered, you will gain access to the interviews, receive a workbook, and be granted access to the Facebook group for post-interview chat and networking.
A few of this year’s topics from expert speakers include:
- Self care, the secret to balancing success, health and happiness
- Managing work and life with a hectic, high-pressure job
- Speaking with clarity and confidence: the art and craft of creating and delivering a great talk
- The single parent circus – managing the work-life balance when you’re the ringmaster and the juggler
- How to become a financially savvy mum with your money
- Making a confident comeback after maternity leave – what great line managers know and do
Sherry, founder of The Confident Mother, has her own inspirational story about how she came to this (very happy) point in her life. We were lucky enough to speak with Sherry to find out a little more about the conference, and how she achieves balance in her own work and life.
Why did you decide to start running the online conference?
It was a crazy idea that has taken on a life of its own. I nearly didn’t run it for the third time this year but I kept bumping into people who’d listened to the event in previous years. They said me, “I can’t wait for the next one. When does it start?”
At first it was a line in the sand for me. My business was evolving. When I first started working for myself in 2012, I was providing performance consultancy and coaching services to technology managers in law firms. However more and more women were approaching me directly, asking for help with their confidence and sense of identity after going back to work after a career break, or help with their career confidence.
For me, the conference was a way of announcing, “Okay, Universe, I hear what you’re saying to me. I need to help more women.” Organising an online conference is one way of helping the maximum number of women in one go.
How did you decide on this year’s theme of ‘work-life balance’?
Work-life balance comes up in conversation with just about every woman I work with, whether she runs a business or has a career. In November, I surveyed more than 200 women about their biggest workplace challenges, and I was shocked to see that 75% of them rated work-life balance as the biggest challenge. I knew it was a challenge, but I was surprised that it was the number one challenge for so many women. Often it’s not about work-life balance per se. It’s that we’re trying to do too much and we feel like we don’t have enough hours in the day.
What kind of attendees usually sign up for the conference?
It’s a real mixture. This year, the conference theme is very much about confidently balancing work and life. Therefore I think there will be more women who have, or want to go back to, a corporate career. Last year’s event was about helping women to decide between going back to a career or starting a business.
Do you believe you achieve work-life balance?
At times, I feel like I have the perfect work-life balance. I get to choose when I work, who I work with, and where I work. I like to go for a run on a Thursday morning. I love working in the countryside, especially for my VIP days, but equally I just love the energy and atmosphere that you get in the City.
I love the flexibility, and the combination, of working with individual clients and working with corporates such as banks and law firms. Like all working mums (a term I dislike but I can’t think of a better one), there are days when there just don’t seem to be enough hours.
The thing with work-life balance is that the balance that’s right for me, might not be right for you. It might be right for me today, this week, but in three months time, it might not. As your career or business evolves, as your children get older, as you take on other commitments (perhaps you’re training for a marathon or you have older parents to look after), you need to figure out the work-life balance that works for you.
What would be your most important piece of advice to women trying to achieve work-life balance?
Get clear on what you really want and what’s most important to you. Not what you think you ‘ought’ to want. Identify your boundaries. You might not be able to do everything and it’s okay to be okay about that. You can do what’s most important.
What would you say to encourage our mums to sign up to the conference?
You’ll love it. Seriously. Every year I get such fantastic feedback from mums who tell me that they have lightbulb moments going off left, right and centre. Don’t try and listen to every single interview. Choose three or four that appeal to you and then pick one or two topics that you wouldn’t normally choose. Dip in and out. If you do want to listen to them all, grab yourself a copy of the boxset which contains the recordings of all the interviews. Give yourself permission to put aside an hour a week just for you and listen to one interview a week.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
The Confident Mother is an online conference which means you access the interviews online from your computer or tablet. You can also get involved in the conference networking and post-interview chats in the Facebook group. When you register, you get a free workbook. Take time to work your way through the questions which have been designed to get you thinking about how you balance your work and life. You’ll automatically be entered into the prize draw to win a free place on Career Confidence, my signature six-week course to help you get career confident, worth £397. Don’t be shy, get involved. Ask questions, share experience. I’d love to hear from you all.
Find out more and register
If you’d like more information on the conference, and to register, please visit Sherry’s website, The Confident Mother.