Celebrating ‘good enough’ this summer

Juggling kids and work during the summer 

As summer approaches, we envision days filled with relaxation, adventure, and quality family time. It’s a welcome break from the everyday routines that define the rest of the year.

But for many parents, summer break can feel more like a frantic juggling act. We’re balancing work responsibilities with having the kids at home or shuttling them to various summer camps with new schedules and different locations each week. 

The pressure mounts as we navigate societal and family expectations, striving to meet every demand perfectly. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as we try to manage it all without support. The stress of this juggling act can lead to frustration, feelings of failure, and heavy doses of mom guilt.

The Perils of Perfectionism

As Dr. Brené Brown explains in Atlas of the Heart, perfectionism can manifest in various ways, and can lead to comparison and guilt. It can show up in a lot of different ways: from striving for a Pinterest-perfect home to using only organic baby products. In the summer months, we may take on more than we can manage to appear to have it all under control while not asking for help. Fear of judgment, blame and an aversion to criticism can be some of the driving forces behind perfectionist tendencies. 

This mindset can lead to procrastination, stress, and decreased satisfaction. Despite being a go-to “flaw” in job interviews, perfectionism is no one’s ally.  

What if it was ‘good enough’?

Instead of aiming for unattainable perfection, focus on ‘good enough’. Using absolutes like ‘only,’ ‘always,’ and ‘never‘ can set you up for failure. Reflect on why you have these strict rules and see if you can change them. Take some time to address any guilt or stress that comes up.  Bring your awareness to what is working and what you have been able to get done. 

Consider where you can introduce ‘flexible thinking’ in your approach or expectations. Create a plan for handling sudden changes in schedules or childcare cancellations by discussing with your manager or partner how they can support your schedule where needed. 

Remember that we are our own worst critic, and you may only get a few things done ‘perfectly’ but you can make things easier on yourself if you practice appreciating your accomplishments. Celebrate the ‘good enough’ and pave the way to a more enjoyable season with your family. 

Your Debut: an interview series with working moms

Ask any mom working outside the home, and she will have a story (or several!) to share. In our work at The Debut Co., we’ve seen the impact of sharing those stories in our own community and want to share them more broadly here with you.

Welcome to the first in our series where we hear from working moms about their personal journeys and learnings navigating their career and family coming out of our program.

Introducing…  

Name: Anna Laird  

Company and position: Hydrogeologist in the Energy Sector 

Age of kids: 1 & 3 

Q: At The Debut Co, we acknowledge the importance of the Motherhood Identity Shift – how we evolve as we take on a new role as working mother. What has this evolution looked like for you?

A: With my first child, I felt messy and unconventional. It was a different time with the pandemic, and I went on leave right as my company was merging with another major player. I came back to an entirely new job, strictly virtual, and had little confidence and structure to work with. 

I very much had to learn the hard way. The pressure to perform at work, at home and show up for myself was completely overwhelming and really challenged me in ways I was not anticipating. 

This experience empowered me to make sure it would be different for my next baby. I am optimistic it will be different this time around, as the circumstances are much different and I have learned so much about myself and what I need, and what I am capable of taking on. 

Q: What challenges have you faced as a working mother and how have you overcome them?   

A: Not having any family close by to help has been really challenging. It’s difficult to juggle a young family while trying to grow both parents’ careers. As a result, it has been imperative to share the childbearing and household load. It’s not even all the time, but to understand it will ebb and flow and to have open communication with your partner about expectations has been crucial to avoiding burnout and resentment. 

Feelings of loneliness, isolation and burnout have been common. My whole identity changed and I had to grieve my old life – not only personally but professionally. It was definitely a time I needed to give myself grace but when that was not my default programming, it took me a long time to let go of these unrealistic standards for myself.  I had to check my expectations and learn to give myself some compassion (which does not come naturally to me – I am a work in progress).  

I also joined my company’s women’s network and that really turned around my experience at work, not only to feel seen and heard from other working parents, but it also provided an opportunity for me to advocate for women, specifically women in STEM roles, which I feel so deeply passionate about. 

Q: What practical advice can you share with other working moms to avoid burnout, and to balance work and home life?   

A: Regular communication about how things are going and evolving for you with your manager, partner and other support networks are essential. It is a constant evolution being a working mom so if your people know how you are doing physically, emotionally and mentally, they can hopefully support you too. Most importantly, checking in with yourself and your internal dialogue to see where you need to shift some priorities and energy.  

Being a working mother is a massive lesson in prioritization and learning to let go. The to-do list will truly never end, so you need to be intentional about what is most important. The kitchen doesn’t need to be spotless, let the toys stay on the floor, the scrolling time adds up, etc. 

Outsource what you can – food boxes, cleaner, grocery delivery, etc. It makes a BIG difference. 

Connect with us to learn more about our Working Parents Workshop Series