Are you an overwhelmed and burnt-out working mama? All you can think about is household chores, performing well at the office, running your business, and making time for everyone and everything else.
Executive coach Alena Conley advises, “Get radically clear about what you prioritize in this season.”
Donning many stunning hats, Conley is a mother of four, a wife, a corporate professional, and a business owner. She has been and always will be active in her life. After receiving the reminder she needed to hear, Conley, founder of The Reminder Remedy, takes pride in not only reminding but guiding other high-achieving women toward leverage the lives they want to live. Ultimately it’s all about creating harmony. But how?
Conley believes that most women are aware of their self-worth and their values. And yet they’re fed up. The FAMU grad and positive psychology practitioner told BLACK ENTERPRISE that the results are on the other side of “undoing the beliefs” of what success looks like for you and “establishing what the true beliefs are and aligning with that.”
A few years back marked the first time in human history that five generations have worked together in the same workplace. “But we all value different things. And our work styles are all very different,” Conley explained.
Motherly’s State of Motherhood report on Black mothering in America indicates that younger Black moms are less likely to feel burnt out than their white counterparts when combining a career and motherhood. In fact, they are more likely to describe themselves as “optimistic” and “empowered.” Meanwhile, Black moms from the Gen X and older generations are 40% more likely than their white counterparts to choose the word “frustration” to describe balancing work and family.
For both ends of the spectrum, how do we keep our wellness in check?
Black mothers at war
“Black women don’t have time to worry about a glass ceiling. Black moms walk daily on glass floors without support, susceptible to stress cracks,” said Christine Michel Carter, an award-winning advocate for working mothers, according to Motherly.
Setting unrealistic expectations is a problem many working moms face. “We are unwilling to change our perspective on that,” Conley said. Black mothers are continuously at war with navigating a growing career and family while also minding their mental health, family savings and spending, sex and social lives, workforce barriers, and the childcare crisis.
Finding reliable and affordable childcare is not only a pain point for Black moms, but money presents as a pressure for 16% of younger Gen Z/millennial moms and dominates as the big relationship pressure among 69% of older Black moms. While Black moms are more likely to head the household, they are 20% less likely than their white counterparts to have a partner to share the load, according to the Motherly report.
For Conley, the hustle and bustle of work does not come before her family. She believes that a lack of attention to children hinders a their development and is ultimately detrimental to the community as a whole. “We are actually creating more trauma in our community by not being present for our kids,” Conley said. “We have to start building out these lifestyles that align with the type of mothers and individuals that we want to be.”
Redefine your story. Conley says it’s important to discover what is already inherently yours. She encourages us to start by learning more about our own family history. This will empower you to understand why you are pursuing the dreams or the life you want.
Engage in “innergy” management. Unlike time management, innergy management reminds us that we have a finite amount of time. “If I have a finite amount of time, rethinking about where do I really want to spend my time, who do I want to spend it with, and what do I want to spend doing” is essential, according to Conley.
Take a seasonal approach to life. A seasonal commitment is lower-stakes than a lifelong pursuit, but it is an opportunity to breathe new life into something you truly value and focus on it.
Create a morning/evening routine based on what you value. Conley recommends identifying the things that fill your cup and creating habits that bring you closer to alignment. For instance, Conley finds harmony in quality sleep, proper nutrition, meditation, movement, and classical music. What wellness practices elevate you?
Work with a coach. Undoing is sometimes hard to do alone. How do you choose a coach? “A coach is not supposed to tell you what to do. They are co-creating with you. And so you are the one who is supposed to come up with the solutions, and they’re supposed to guide you,” Conley says. She listens to several coach or therapist podcasts or recordings first, to see if their energy feels right, before selecting one for herself.
Do things in bursts of energy, then have a mindful recharge. Studies show that working in bursts can change your life. When regulated, you will be shocked by the amount of work you can get done in such a short time, and you might not even notice any distractions. Then allocate time for decompression.