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Online Exclusive: Establishing Balance and Strategies as a Working Mother

By Joanna Gibbons
Partner, PwC

Over the years, I’ve been asked countless times a variety of questions along the lines of “how do you do it all?” Many ask me, “How do you accomplish everything that you need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? Others say, “How do you balance both home and business life successfully?”

The strategies and tips that I employ and leverage have evolved over the years as both my career and home life have evolved. For background, I’m a partner at PwC in our Deals practice where I lead a senior team of professionals providing strategic and financial advice on mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. I have extensive expertise assisting companies with succession transactions and positioning businesses for growth. On the home front, I’m married with two very active children.

It isn’t easy trying to juggle both home and business life successfully. Two of the biggest challenges that I’ve experienced over the years and consciously try to focus on are:

  • Being in the moment, whether it’s a professional moment or a personal moment, and learning to switch from one to the other without being distracted
  • Making self-care one of my priorities – I know it’s so important, but it typically can end up being one of the last things on my daily or weekly to-do lists which I often don’t end up getting to enjoy.

The following are strategies and tips that I use to accomplish my priorities which have allowed me to successfully manage my home, business, and personal life for more than 20 years:

1. Build your “village”

I’ve done this across all areas of my life: at work, at home, and personally. When they say it takes a village, it really does, and setting up that support network is a key factor for success. In business, it’s building, leading, and supporting a strong team. For me at home, it was setting up support in terms of people including family that helped with caregiving, but also support for getting things done around the house.  The goal is to organize and maximize the amount of time I have for the more important things such as spending time with my kids. On the personal side, having friends who are in the same phase of life as you has been so valuable.

2. Clearly communicate with others

Life can get quite busy, so ensuring clear communication with your “village” is so important. I’ve found that clearly communicating priorities, goals, and timelines across all areas of life along with setting and communicating clear expectations goes a long way to being able to deliver on all of my commitments.

3. Develop strong time management skills

I use one calendar for everything, and this has allowed me to dedicate the required time to each area of life, while ensuring that I don’t drop the ball in any area of my work, family, or personal lives.

4. Prioritize personal time for self-care activities

Personal time and self-care have been the one area that I didn’t prioritize early in my career or when my children were young. I’ve learned that if I don’t prioritize personal time and self-care activities for myself, stress builds up and I don’t handle that stress as well as when I’m ensuring that I’m getting some personal time. For me, self-care is doing things that make me happy and help me recharge like exercising, going for walks, listening to podcasts, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

5. Be accepting and understanding of others

It has taken me some time to accept that things aren’t always going to go perfectly and that’s all right. There will be times where work may require more time than usual, making it harder to dedicate time to other areas in life, but this is typically for a finite amount of time and I’m able to get back to a better balance in short order.

The above strategies and tips, while not groundbreaking, have allowed me to be as successful as possible at balancing it all as a wife, mother, and businesswoman.

Joanna Gibbons recently participated in the CFA’s virtual event focused on women in franchising called Elevate & Empower: Female Leadership During Uncertain Times. To purchase on-demand videos featuring Joanna’s participation in the panel “Striking a Balance: Strategies to juggle both home & business life successfully,” click HERE.