In the professional-family life balance training module the reader will learn how to achieve a good work-life balance. The steps to reaching a better balance with work and family will also be explained
You will understand the process of reconciling professional-family life for rural women, while taking into consideration the importance and benefits of the process.
You will develop skills that will help you to balance your professional and family life. In addition, you will develop skills on how to use time in a flexible way to achieve your personal development.
You will improve competences which are linked to personal and professional development such as multitasking, effective time management and goal orientation
Who is affected by reconciliation?
In other words, we can define reconciliation as the realization of the right to have a family and at the same time fulfil oneself in working life, while not forgetting about our personal life, interests and needs. Reconciliation therefore affects both parents on maternity or parental leave or returning to work, but may also affect other groups such as workers or grandparents.
Why is it important to reconcile?
Concern for the balance of life is an important element on the way to achieving our goals, whether on a personal, corporate or social level.
Many studies show that more and more women on maternity or parental leave would like to get involved in the field of work during this period. After a period of “intense” motherhood, many women realize that they lack “something” - they may feel dissatisfied, frustrated, personal stagnation, or detachment from the world around them.
The opportunity to work during maternity/parental leave and combine work, family and private life brings:
As a woman with small children, returning to work is one of the most difficult stages of life in terms of time and psychological demands - finding a job or returning to the original one, proving (whether to myself or the employer) that I can do it, and at the same time providing child care, household duties and find time for your partner, friends and yourself. The support of the company, the employer and close loved ones is crucial.
The key benefits of harmonization support tools for employees are:
The benefits for a family-friendly society are in particular:
For more detailed information please go to our Summary report to the section: Evolution of women and rural areas, Women and agriculture.
How to do it? What can help?/How to reconcile successfully
Divide your time consciously among all areas of life: work, family (children, partner), friends, but also about your personal development, interests, relaxation and questions of your motivation, values and priorities. Do not forget about rest and a healthy lifestyle.
Knowing your own values is important both in your professional and in your family and personal life. Only those who are aware of their values can recognize and set their priorities in order to manage them. Ask yourself to these questions: What is important to me in life, what fulfills me? How do I really want to live? What is my current goal? What am I missing? If you find little or nothing in your life that is extremely important to you (whether at work or in your private life), set the immediate goal of reintegrating it into your life and work on it consciously. You are the most important criterion, your needs, wishes, your satisfaction, your wants or desires.
Only those who gain new strength can be active and effective in their lives. It is therefore important not only to be able to manage your energy expenditure but also your income. It is very important for our mental, emotional and physical health to balance periods of stress and calm. Take pleasure, reward yourself, find time for yourself, rest, relax. Try to integrate into your life as many activities as possible that strengthen you, bring a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. Don’t save your life “for later”, “when the children grow up”, “when your parental duties end”, “when you retire”, live here and now.
If you are on maternity or parental leave, consider this time as a time of your personal growth. You are constantly working on yourself, educate yourself, be active. Take this period into your own hands, invent new activities, get involved in projects, maintain professional contacts, engage in activities that you enjoy and have not had time to do before work, or participate in volunteer activities (maternity, family centers, non-profit organizations, politics, etc.). Do activities that are not related to your child. These kind of activities strengthen not only your work competencies but also your self-confidence.
The relationship is the alpha and omega of our satisfaction. A partner is a person who is closest to you, you give each other strength through love and trust. Take time for this important person in your life. Reconciliation applies to both of you. The reason why relationships fail and often the process of reconciliation, is the fact that partners spend little valuable time together, forgetting about caring for the relationship and failing to invest in it. Therefore, you pay mutual attention to each other, surprise each other, talk about each other’s needs, have common plans, consciously include activities that deviate from routine and everyday life. Consciously take responsibility for your relationship and continue to work on it.
To think that it is in your power to manage many roles and tasks at once, that you have to be everywhere and manage everything on my own, while “saving the world” and being nicely groomed and dressed and still in a great mood, is a misconception. Do not try to be a superwoman, superworker and supermother, the pursuit of perfection is dangerous, it does not benefit anyone, least of all you. Delegate, use the help of the family and friends, reject perfection, load as much as you can carry, and learn how to effectively manage and organize your time.
Think about how you organize your time. Which tasks, responsibilities and activities can you transfer to someone/something else in order to save time for activities that are more important to you?
Beware of perfectionism and perfection - they are subjective categories. Chasing for perfection is dangerous, it can exhaust you so much that you will not enjoy the result at all or you will be disappointed with many small details that were not inline with your ideas. Likewise, being the “perfect full-time mother” does not necessarily mean being the best mother. The pursuit of perfect motherhood harms not only the mothers themselves but also their children. Today’s society is focused on performance and the bar is generally set very high, which is why our demands on ourselves, family, children and work are high. Use your time for what really matters.
We do not have the power to play many roles and tasks at once. Studies show that most people are unable to perform more than seven roles at a time. The more we hold, the more difficult it is to combine these roles. Different roles have different characteristics, priorities, tasks, but above all our participation. Many activities at once dilutes our power and energy, then we feel that we cannot give 100% in any area. This causes a lost overview, omissions, time lost and often stress and dissatisfaction from one’s own activities as well as negative evaluations of the family and the surroundings. Therefore, estimate the limit of your meaningful workload, be realistic - load as much as you can really carry, learn to say “no”, realize what is really important to you, and get rid of the roles and tasks that burden you. Listen to the signals of your body and surroundings, which is often a barometer of our “well-being”. Bet on your intuition as well - human intuition represents a kind of “emotional brain”. Although we make a number of decisions, we have a kind of “emotional brain”. So listen to your intuition and include it in your decision-making processes. Adequate confidence in your own feelings will make this decision easier and save you energy and time.
Examples of reconciliation you can read in the case studies from Slovenia – Tatjana Stancar, and Andreja Bizjak. In these case studies, women can find inspiration on how to organize work and at the same time be able to take care of children or fulfill themselves.
On the way to reconciliation, women may encounter a number of obstacles that make the situation more difficult. These include, in particular, stereotypical thinking, which can result in discriminatory behavior. It is necessary to change these stereotypes by pointing out that they exist, by finding suitable arguments to refute them, by mutual discussion, eliminate them by introducing suitable tools and find the courage to face them and “fight” against them, etc.
A farm is a unique entity. Even if the process of a business innovation is very individual, have you made a list of potential starting points allowing you to diversify sources of farm income to fully use its possible multifunctionality? Add to that list 3 potential support tools and best practises you should check for further inspiration.
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