It’s critically important to a Working Mom’s success, both personally and professionally, to have an stupendous support system. There are five major areas you will address before enlisting the troops.
It’s all about setting expectations. When you are forming your support system try following the 5W’s, who, what, when, where, and most importantly why. Let’s break it down:
Who will be a part of your support team
Each person is chosen for a reason.
You trust them, with your life, your children’s life, your work, your reputation. You’d vouch for them. They are a good person; they have a good soul. They treat you well and respect you. They are a good listener and don’t cast judgment (unless solicited). They may not be there for you in a heartbeat because life gets in the way, but they would try their best to help you out.
Make a list of people you would count on. Is there enough people? If not, then it’s time to broaden your circle of friends and start strengthening these relationships. Friendships are a two way street so watch out for ways that you could be included in their support system.
What will you need help with?
Create a few mind maps of all the things you need and want to do in your personal and professional life (check out this article on how to mind map for the Working Mom). When you know what you need help with it’ll be easier to pick who can help you because you’ll match their strengths with your weakness.
When will you need help?
When during your day, week, month, or year will you need help? Is there something you need to accomplish first, then you’ll need help or vice versa? At what time during the day will you need help? Is there a certain time of the day that just drags for you and during that specific time you need a little support?
If so that would be a great time for a quick check in with someone on your stupendous support system.
Where, in life, do you need support?
What area(s) in your life feel “off”? Is it at home, at work or somewhere else? Maybe there’s a place like daycare or volunteering at school that you need help with. Or perhaps it will be at a specific location someone will need to meet you at, or will you need to send someone somewhere to grab something?
Why do you need support?
This is the most important step to focus on. Why do you need help? This isn’t about justifying your request. It’s about being a bit vulnerable and owning the fact that you can’t do everything by yourself. No one can! None of us are awesome at every little thing in life.
You need support and here’s the why. Perhaps this person is awesome at Microsoft Office's Excel program and you are not. You would love their help drafting up a home budget form you could fill in.
Or perhaps there’s a problem at work and you know just the person to help you out because you admire their strength and wanted to lean on them.
When you articulate why you are making your request it connects the dots for the person on your stupendous support system. The why is what makes the bond between the two of you stronger because you are saying this is something I am weak in and I admire that you are stronger, please help me.
Or maybe it’s something like I have filled my plate to the brim in error and you have a way of managing your time and energy better than I, can you lend a hand and guide me to clarity?
The reason why your support system is stupendous is because you have built it with the best people for the job, for specific reasons and intentions. They will feel good about supporting you because they have been specially chosen for their strengths. Most people feel good about helping others and even better when they can help doing something they are good at. This team will empower you to do it all, with them.
Now that is stupendous.