Lunches packed. Laundry folded. Gifts for the upcoming party wrapped. Homework checked. Dog walked. Bed made. Meals planned. Dinner in the oven. Tantrum calmed. Crisis averted. Hugs given. Advice shared. Out the door. Repeat.
Let’s face it — moms are super heroes. They do the little things every day that go unnoticed and the big things that leave a lasting impression on our lives. They know what to say when we’re hurting, they know how to bring the best out in each of us and they’re master jugglers of their lives (and sometimes ours, too). When you add to that list running a nonprofit to make our communities better, super hero status is officially off the charts.
To celebrate all the amazing moms out there, including those no longer with us, we’re sharing tips from four nonprofit moms for balancing the responsibilities of motherhood and moving a mission.
4 Moms Share Tips for Balancing Motherhood While Leading a Nonprofit
We recently asked a handful of nonprofit CEOs and executive directors (who are also moms) these questions: How do you balance being a busy nonprofit leader and mom? What tips would you share with other moms out there who are juggling it all?
Here’s what they shared with us.
1. Tuesdi Dyer, CFRE, Executive Director, CFC International
“Juggling my role as a mom and the executive director of CFC International has a unique challenge, because my youngest son has the disease my nonprofit supports. It’s so easy to find myself working long hours or responding to a diagnosed family during dinner — not because I have to, but because I want to. Even though I feel like my organization is my extended family, my boys don’t see my job as anything more than a job. I avoid talking about work between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. That’s their time. I dedicate only a few morning hours a weekend to work, and then once my laptop closes, I shut off my job.
“As for my self-care needs, what a work in progress! Recently, I implemented a practice of every time thoughts of work enter my mind during my free time, I go for a run. This gives me dedicated time to myself and often forces me to think about issues objectively, rather than emotionally. Once my run is done, I find that the stress and concern of a work-related challenge fades away.”
2. Jessica Muroff, CEO, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
“There is no balance. Roles ebb and flow. It’s all about managing priorities. Some weeks are very full focusing on our mission. Other weeks I may be focused on my family. You have to “be present.” The key is to be all in where you are — whether that’s at home, at work or in the community. If you try to do too many things at once, you aren’t being effective in the role you’re living in that moment. My recommendation is to clearly identify your priorities, deliberately plan for them every day and be present. I’m a better wife, mom and leader because of this.
“My other tip is to give yourself grace, understanding we are human and imperfect. Juggling isn’t easy. There are times a ball is going to drop. Don’t beat yourself up over one dropped ball. The best example we can set for our children is how we persevere when we make mistakes.
“Finally, I LOVE the bullet journal method. Google it or get lost in Pinterest for inspiration. It is one of my favorite tools for staying focused.”
3. Sherry Bagley, Co-Executive Director, Pathfinder Outdoor Education
“Balancing everything is hard. I try to embrace the moments I have — those times when bedtime has passed but you are lying next to your kiddos giggling over the book you have read. Or when you are having an inspiring and exciting discussion about a new project with a staff member and the clock slowly creeps past 5 p.m. Those focused moments can be more important than the hour you spend in a staff meeting dreaming about being at your son’s field trip. And don’t forget to have fun! Laughter makes us all better people and moms.”
4. Emily H. Benham, FAHP, CFRE, CEO, Nonprofit Leadership Center
“Don’t give up things that bring you joy. While priorities shift with motherhood and responsibilities that come with it, I find I’m my best self when I carve out time to do what makes me happy. Sometimes, my son will share in those activities with me, and sometimes I need to do them by myself. I return to my family from that time refreshed and ready for the next move.”