It’s 6 a.m. Your alarm pulls you from blissful sleep to reality. You scurry around frantically trying to ready both yourself and your children before heading to work/school/sitter. Your 2-yearold smiles as you load him in to the car, and you realize he has mismatched shoes on his feet and the remains of his breakfast smeared through his hair. You wonder, “How does anyone do this? And why does my neighbor always seem to do it better?”
You are doing it, and your neighbor is wondering the same thing about you. Being a working mother is rewarding, but it’s also hard. And while each situation is unique, here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Divide and Conquer
Don’t try to run your home by yourself. Instead, conquer the never-ending household duties as a team. Delegate some chores to other family members based on what is reasonable for their age. Don’t underestimate your kids. They are capable and smart and can take on responsibility, which helps them gain confidence and independence. Communicate often with your partner, making sure to show gratitude for their help and support.
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Make a System that Works for You
Take some time to get organized. Create a master calendar to keep track of everyone’s activities. If that calendar is looking a little packed, consider scaling back on your children’s extra curricular activities. Don’t be afraid of free time where kids can just be kids.
Make a plan for meals, too. Stock up on nonperishable items and make meals in advance when possible to freeze for later. Let’s face it: leftovers can be lifesavers and a second freezer will be your best friend.
Say Goodbye to the Illusion of Perfection
Stop striving to be the queen mom of Pinterest. Not every school or soccer treat has to be homemade or social-media worthy. In the end, your child will remember time spent with you, not the treat you brought.
If you can’t have the quantity of time you would like with your kids because you work, focus on quality. Make your time with them special. Give them all your attention when you’re together by turning off TVs and putting away phones. Try to give each child one on one time.
When in Doubt, Hire Out
Whenever possible, let other people take on some of your to-do list. Take advantage of home delivery services or grocery shopping services like Amazon pantry that can cut down on errands. Many stores offer these as a courtesy or for a small fee. Find babysitters and caretakers you trust. If it’s in the budget, hire someone to deep clean the house once a month.
Find the Balance
When it comes to being a working mom, balance is key. So while you’re cutting back on the workload at home, don’t be afraid to also say no to non-essential tasks at the office.
Take a personal day when you need it. You don’t have to be going out of town or on a vacation to take a day off.
Always Put Your Family First
Show your kids they come before work. Display pictures of your children near your workstation and call home on breaks just to say hello and I love you. Maybe even meet them for lunch or work from home whenever possible.
Be proud of who you are and what you do! You have worked hard to get there. Your kids will respect your commitment and learn about hard work from your example.
Be Kind to You
As a working mother wearing many hats, don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Remember to eat well, sleep well, exercise, and give yourself some recharge time. Devote some time to hobbies that bring you joy. Accept help from other people and surround yourself with good friends.
Most importantly, go easier on yourself. Laugh at your shortcomings and stop comparing yourself to others. Know that you are going to make mistakes and it’s okay. Let go of the guilt and trust your instincts because at the end of the day, you’re the mom—you know your family and what they need better than anyone else.