One day, towards the end of last school year, I went to work with my shirt on inside out and two shoes ( both black flats, thank God) that were not of the same pair. God bless…no one cared to say a word until later in the day… at which point it was my husband who so kindly pointed it out.
As working moms, we are constantly juggling and more often than not, we end up with those “hot mess” days. Bouncing between your responsibilities, your career, your children and your husband is challenging and overwhelming.
These are some of the tips and tactics I use in my attempts to keep it all together. I hope they can also help you effectively cope with the pressures and demands of being a working mom navigating your incredibly busy life:
1) Separate your family time and office time.
As best as possible, don’t bring work home with you.
In our situation, it’s a little tough since I work with my husband so we have to make an effort to not talk about work at the dinner table.
In your office, focus on work. That’s where you need to be. When you are at home, give your family your attention.
Easier said than done, I know…especially if you work at home or have a home office.
You just need to set appropriate boundaries. I like using Google Calendar to time block my days.
I work during the day and run my online media sites from home in my off-hours. To find a balance… I have to schedule it all.
Dinner and family time is on my calendar. It sounds a bit un-personal and I certainly do not consider my family to be “business,” but scheduling everything helps my brain transition from work to family mode much more seamlessly.
2)Make plans with your kids for the weekend.
Plan a fun activity as a family…or maybe even schedule individual “dates” with each of your kids for the weekend.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. A trip to the beach… a couple of hours at the playground… just schedule time with them and talk about it throughout the week.
This will give all of you something to look forward to, and let them know that you are still making special time for them…even if your workweek is hectic.
3)Enjoy dinner together as a family.
Discuss your day and enjoy family togetherness over your evening meal.
Set aside a dinner time. Put away the gadgets and have a conversation about your day. We love using conversation starters, which have sparked some interesting table talks.
4) Share Calendars
I blissfully recall the days where I had just my calendar to deal with. Now, I not only have one calendar…but three…one for work, one for the blogs/business, and one for personal. Plus, my husband has a calendar and then we have schedules for kid’s appointments, school events and sports practices.
It gets a little cray-cray and I always wonder what I am forgetting.
Fortunately, we live in a digital age where there are many free tools to help us keep it together.
My favorite… Google Calendar.
It’s free, simple to use and you can set reminders to send you notifications before an event or if you need to do something. I have A-D-D ( Legit) and am not above creating a reminder to “buy potato chips for the class party.” Once the app is connected to my phone, I get push notifications which remind me to do.the.things.
Plus, you can create a calendar for each of your children, your husband, different areas of your life, and connect them together.
Alternative to Google, there are several apps available to help you keep all of your schedules synced and organized. A few more to check out would be:
Competitive families may thrive with the OurHome Family Organization app. Every member of the family is able to create, edit and organize tasks. Adults can award points for chores and tasks, which kids can then turn in for rewards ( also chosen by the parents). The point system gives a bit of a game-like feel and can help everyone be accountable to one another.
5). Give Your Children a Glimpse Of What You Do
Share with your children what you do with your day, bring them to the office ( if possible) and let them catch a glimpse of what you do…and why you do it.
When they understand what you are doing with your day ( and why it matters), they will better be able to process in their mind why you need to take time away to do that work.
6) Outsource As Much As Possible
I used to be a crazy couponer. I would go to different stores to save as much as possible.
It was exhausting.
Saving money is important…. But time is also money and sometimes just one trip to the grocery store seems to be a colossal effort.
If it fits into your budget, “outsource” errands like grocery shopping as much as possible.
I am not naive to the fact that I probably spend a bit more money, but the sanity-saving is oh so worth it.
7) Delegate Chores
Everyone lives in the home and everyone can contribute to its upkeep. It doesn’t all have to fall on you….and you don’t have to pay them for it.
We don’t personally give an allowance for our children to do chores, however, we don’t judge anyone who does. There is a positive lesson to be seen either way. The key is that you make them do them.
Kids can begin contributing to the household chores in toddlerhood when they are able to be responsible for picking up their toys. Once our kids were around four or five, we purchased them each a little broom set and had them sweep up their crumbs after their meals.
We are not talking slave labor here…but making your children do a few age-appropriate chores every day teaches them valuable lessons in responsibility and work ethic, while also helping to lighten your load.
8) Find hobbies that you all enjoy.
Everyone needs a hobby. An outlet. Something fun to enjoy to take a break. Maybe you already have one…maybe you want to find a new one. If possible, find a hobby that can involve the whole family.
When I first started my travel blogging website, FlipFlopWeekend, it was simply to be an outlet for me to get information to family and friends in an efficient way. I had more of a hobby mindset than a business one…and that’s okay. The cool part is that as I go to Disney to take photos or write about an experience…the entire family can come along and have a great time together. The kids even like to get involved in taking the pictures.
When you can find an outlet you enjoy to give yourself some R&R…but also get your family excited and involved…it’s a win-win.
9) Plan Ahead
Set out clothes the night before and pack lunches set beside the backpacks. Such a small, simple task done later in the evening can save you so much time, sanity and frustration the next morning when you are trying to race out the door.
This helps you leave the house in a good mood so you are not sending the kids ( and yourself) off with sour memories of the morning.
10) Take Care Of Yourself
For the love...take care of yourself.
This is kinda like the pot calling the kettle black since I tend to live on a routine of 5 hours a night and a lot of caffeine. But, seriously..you can’t maintain a pace like that for too long without burning out.
Shut down at an appropriate time at night, eat something more than potato chips and wine for dinner ( throwing in the last half-eaten nugget from your 5 year old’s plate doesn’t count either) and maybe treat yourself to a shower that is longer than 3 minutes.
Seriously, you can’t conquer the world and raise kids at the same time if you are sick and tired.
By following these tips, you can find structure and peace in an otherwise chaotic juggling act. No matter what… ditch that pesky “working mom guilt” and know that you are doing the best thing for you and your family.