Parenthood is that one profession that you can never run away from. It binds you for life but it does not bind you to a single place. Once you become a mother, you become the role despite being a manager, chief operating officer, or nurse. This fact highlights how having a baby changes a person’s life drastically.
But becoming a parent does not rob you of the freedom of continuing and pursuing your career. You can continue to be a successful manager, CEO, or nurse while being a mother nursing her children. However, it is not as easy as it seems. In the US working population only, employees work an average of fifty hours a week. Only eleven hours is devoted to relaxation, which is sometimes trickled with a few hours of working at home. This is the average data for the general working population. Now, imagine a mother of two children juggling her parental duties with her professional duties. Even thinking about it is exhausting. For working mothers, the question is always how to be a good wife and mother while working.
How to Balance Your Working Mom Life
So, how do mothers go through their daily routines of balancing work, family, and life? Here are some tips and tricks from the shed that you can use to maximize your time. Be a mother and career woman at the same time.
1. Let go of The Mom Guilt
To be a successful career woman and mother, let go of the mom guilt. Let go of the idea that a mother will not amount to anything else than a mother. Mom (or dad) guilt is basically an unwelcome feeling for either parent of not doing enough for their children. For mothers, specifically, it is a feeling that if they do not devote all of their time to their children, they are not doing enough. This is a wrong motion. Mothers have a whole life as individuals before becoming mothers and there is nothing wrong with maintaining and living that life while having kids.
So before balancing work and motherhood, warm up to the idea that you can do and pursue things for yourself.
2. Keep a Family Calendar
Keep your schedule in check by creating a family calendar. Plot all future activities, vacations, and tasks in the calendar. It’s better to create a color scheme for easy identification. For example, you can assign a color for the type of activity, whether recreation, work, or school-related. You can also assign a color for the doer of the task.
Having an idea of what your upcoming schedule is keeps everything in check. This is especially helpful for work at home moms whose boundaries for work and home are vague.
3. Capitalize on Your Kid’s Competitive Nature
Children are naturally competitive. They want to reach point A faster than their peers; they want to eat faster than everyone else and smile like a champion. For a working mom, you can use this competitive nature to make your load easier. You can make keeping their toys a competition, the first one to keep all their toys in the right container gets a kiss or a scoop of ice cream after dinner. Simple competitions like these also doubles as quality bonding time among your children and between you. It is also a subtle way to teach your kids to enjoy doing simple chores. It’s basically a win-win situation for both parties.
4. Find Childcare Services You Can Trust
If no one else can look after your children when you go to work, you entrust them to childcare service providers. Look around your neighborhood for your preferred day care. Choosing the right daycare provider can be difficult especially for your first child. Ask for suggestions from neighbors and friends. Also, don’t forget to befriend the daycare staff. Day cares are the best choice when you regularly need to go to work for long hours.
5. Hire Teenagers or Retirees
To maximize your personal, work, and family time, sometimes, you need extra hands to help around the house. As a mother, there are a lot of doubts when it comes to hiring babysitters or nannies. But, when the need arises, the best course of action is to hire teenagers or retirees within your neighborhood. Preferably someone you already know. On the positive side, your children are already acquainted with them and they are known in the community.
6. Prepare Work Clothes the Night Before
One tip to make the most of your time during mornings and to actually enjoy breakfast, prepare your work clothes the night before. Choosing the perfect outfit of the day takes a lot of time. You need to check if each piece of clothing matches a look. Preparing it at night means there is time to spare in the morning. You can relax, cook a meal, and care for your children before going to work.
7. Make Grocery Runs Efficient
Do not spend too much time grocery shopping. Contrary to what you think, grocery runs do not need to happen every week. Create a list before going to the shop. Start from the needs and follow it with the wants. Once you have the list, you can navigate through the grocery efficiency-getting only what you listed down. Cut down an hour’s worth of grocery shopping into thirty minutes or less by creating a shopping list.
8. Use Delivery Services
If your free time is too restrictive for a thirty-minute grocery run, rely on delivery services. When choosing delivery service providers, lookout for their delivery timeframe and decide what you can order from their shop. For essentials, make sure to choose providers that provide same-day deliveries. But, keep in mind that a grocery list is still as effective when shopping online. Watch yourself. You might fall into endless scrolling and end up forgetting what you need.
9. Reduce Distractions
Have more time for yourself by limiting the unproductive distractions around you. Limit your social media consumption and channel that energy to more productive activities, such as going outdoors and spending quality time with your partner and children.
10. Load laundry in the morning
Doing heavy household chores during the evening after work drains all the remaining energy that you have. This is why loading laundry in the morning is a smart idea. After freshening up, you can load your previous day’s laundry and let it run while you do your other morning tasks. If you do not have enough time to wait for it, you can easily assign someone to continue the chore. At work, you do not have to dread going home to a pile of dirty laundry. Rather, you will be going home to a fresh pile of newly washed clothes.
11. Use Lunch Breaks Efficiently
For office workers, lunch breaks are precious. The pressure from working is somehow slightly lifted from one’s shoulders during this time. For mothers who are in an endless cycle of parental and corporate responsibilities, lunch breaks are breathers. So, make sure to use this time efficiently. You can use this to socialize with similar-aged peers, you can use this to meet up with friends, and you can even use this time to do a short visit to a grocery or department store to unwind for a while.
12. Maintain Open Communication with Employer
It is a common practice among families that the mother is the primary caregiver and emergency contact for the children. For every emergency, the mother is the first to know and to respond. With this, make sure to maintain an open communication with your employer. Maybe your company offers an arrangement for working mothers that allows you to work from home or to have flexible work schedules.
13. Reconnect with Your Partner
Before becoming a parent, you were a wife first. To live a well-balanced life, you also need to reconnect with your partner. Spend more time with each other. Schedule date nights and enjoy it without the children. Continue knowing each other even after marriage or after living with each other for several years. Devoting time for each other also breaks the endless cycle of caring for the kids and work.
14. Prep meals in advance/make meal prepping mandatory
Meal preparation requires more work and attention than anyone can imagine, especially preparing meals for growing children. For working moms, every minute is precious, right? So, to lessen the time allocated for meal preparation, you can create a weekly meal plan for the entire family. Make sure to do this before creating your grocery list though to make sure that you get everything from the store. You can also search for recipes that can be prepared and stored for days. Food delivery services are also readily available.
15. Buy Gifts in Advance
Celebrations are always around the corner especially if you have children. There will be invites for birthday parties, get-togethers, play dates, and other special events that require gifts. Be a smart gift giver by buying the presents in advance. For events that have fixed dates, plot them in your calendar for annual reminders. When there are sales in your favorite stores, stock up on those gifts. Do not waste time wandering around department stores and transferring from one store to another looking for gifts. Spend that time for something else.
16. Keep Diapers and Bibs Around the House
No matter the size of your home, walking back and forth rooms can be tiring and slightly frustrating—especially when you are looking after a baby who depends largely on you. Avoid walking back and forth to fetch diapers and bibs by storing these items around the house. Keep most in the baby’s room, store some in your bedroom, you can also store some around the living room or any room that you stay and lounge most. Aside from avoiding frantic movements because of the sudden need for diaper changes, it also lessens the stress from leaving the baby unattended when you go fetch the needed materials.
17. Shower at Night
Enjoy your mornings by doing a portion of your responsibilities the night before. One thing that you can do at night is to have a full and relaxing shower. When your children are fast asleep or settled in their rooms, have time for yourself and shower. Not only does it save you time in the morning, it is also a relaxing and welcome way to end your day.
18. Say No and Let that Be Enough
You get to decide what to do for your free days. Granted that you still need to take care of your kids, you have the last say when it comes to going on trips or get-togethers with friends. Know when to say no to invitations and be firm about it. Being free from corporate responsibilities during weekends does not mean that you are available. Learn to say no for yourself. Say no without explanations and excuses. Don’t forget to teach this to your children, too.
At the end of the day, parenting hacks are not guidelines for strict compliance. These are merely suggestions on what you can do to ease your workload. Balancing motherhood and a successful corporate career is not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of work but the fulfillment it brings is beyond limits. Continue what you’re doing. Go for it, working mom!
1. What are great careers for moms?
If you want to start a career when you already have kids, several careers are available and flexible enough for your situation. One is working in the field of web development. If this career is up your alley, then you should definitely go for it. Most technology-related jobs are in demand today and most of its work set-up is flexible. It is easy to find a company that offers a work-from-home set-up for working mothers.
2. Are working moms better than stay-at-home moms?
Your worth as a mother should not be defined by any rubric or measure. However, the eternal question of which is the better mother does not simply die down because of the traditional thinking that mothers should focus on their children and nothing else. Again, your worth is not measured by onlookers.
But when it comes to feeling better about themselves, a study published by the American Psychological Association in 2011 indicates that working moms reported better overall health and fewer symptoms of depression. If this fact does not convince you to go to that job interview or submit that resume, then probably nothing else will.
3. Do babies suffer when their mothers return to work?
The hesitation of returning to work after the maternity leave is understandable but not entirely reasonable. In an article published by The Guardian, a mom going back to work does not provide adverse effects to the child. Simply put, the child’s wellbeing will not suffer due to the mother’s absence.