Practicing Self-Awareness as a Working Mom
Protect Your Personal Energy by Strengthening Your Emotional Intelligence
Working Moms, especially new ones, may experience a vast array of emotions in a very short amount of time. When you understand emotional intelligence (made popular by Daniel Goleman’s book, "Emotional Intelligence - Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" it can help protect your personal energy, which is extremely precious to a working mom.
What is Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is a person’s ability to become aware of their emotions and others, the acceptance that yup, I'm feeling an emotion, labeling it appropriately, and then managing it.
Unlike IQ you can strengthen your EQ with practice and self-awareness.
Start by making it a habit to check in with yourself. It’s like when you check in with your husband, child, parents, or boss you say, “How are you?” When you mentally check in with yourself ask yourself “How are you doing right now?” Checking in like this is especially useful when you feel off, like something is not right. You may not be able to label the emotion right away but by bringing awareness to your emotions you’re strengthening your emotional intelligence. Once you bring into your awareness that you feel off the answer will eventually come to you.
How Emotional Intelligence Help You Use Your Time Wisely
Think of a time when you were experiencing a negative emotion. Did you spend a long amount of time thinking about a situation? Were there a few days spent trying to figure out what went wrong or how you could have prevented it? Or did you use time trying avoid the feeling?
Now think about how much personal energy you spent on this negative emotion. It’s no wonder you felt worn down. Feeling (or not feeling) negative emotions can consume a large amount of personal energy. This depletion of energy can be minimized by being aware of your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them.
An Example of Practicing Self-Awareness
Let’s say you leave work for the day and you feel like you’re leaving things incomplete. That you could have done more. On your drive home your self-negative talk tears you apart. Once home you’re torn between preparing dinner and opening your laptop. You only want to do this one thing (you think). But the children’s hunger cries force you into the kitchen. You bang pots and pans and start yelling orders for the kids to clean the house!
At this moment you feel awful. A mental check could have been sooner but there’s no better time than the present! Plus when you continue practicing being aware of your emotions the checking will happen more frequently.
So how are you feeling at this moment? Well this is lousy feeling started when you checked your email at the end of the day. Someone received a promotion based on a project you helped with. That could have been you! But the reality is that it wasn’t. It is what it is. What will your next career move be? You are in the kitchen because yes the kids are hungry, but so aren’t you. You felt resentment toward your family because you wanted to work and felt pushed into the kitchen against your will.
Work/life struggles are in full affect tonight!
Ok, so now how are you after you’ve mentally checked in? Better. Dinner is looking good. This cleaning and cooking gave you time to think. Plus your house is a little cleaner. Instead of opening your laptop later you’ll think about where your career is at today, where you want it to go, and one goal you’d like to accomplish in one month to get you there.