The Center for American Progress reports that just under half of all homes in America include a working mother. While so many of us moms now juggle work, family life, and everything else, it’s far from easy. Sometimes I feel like I’m spread so thin I’m not doing any one thing that great, and I know so many other moms feel the same way. Here are some great tips I’ve found to help balance work and family life. Remember, it’s not about doing it all—it’s about doing what’s most important for you and your family.
Tip #1: Prepare for busy days the night before
Fight back against stressful mornings by preparing everything the night before. Pack lunches, set out clothes and shoes, and have a plan in place for breakfast. When you’re not searching for missing shoes or jotting down notes on a report you’re supposed to present first thing at the office, you have so much more time to enjoy the company of your family. This is the perfect chance to eat breakfast together and start the day off right. Even if you only have 10-15 minutes to wolf down some eggs as a fam, it can make all the difference.
Tip #2: Create a family calendar
Create a vibrant ‘family fun’ calendar and display it in a shared space, such as the kitchen or living room. Add chore charts, family events, extracurricular activities, vacations and so forth to the calendar. This gives your family a visual way to view the week/month and ensures you plan fun things to do outside of work and school. It can also help you block out certain days of the week or times of day that are dedicated solely to your family.
Tip #3: Enroll your kids in quality daycare or preschool
A babysitter keeps kids supervised, but they don’t necessarily add to your child’s intellectual, social or creative abilities. Enrolling your child at a quality daycare or preschool offers ample benefits, like socialization, exercising fine motor skills, plus so much more. Numerous researchers have found kids who attend quality preschool do better in school throughout their entire education. So not only is your child supervised, but also, you’re granting them a greater chance at success. All while you work to pay the bills—you got this, Supermom!
Tip #4: Remove some time wasters from your daily schedule
Time is never wasted if you’re having fun, but sometimes working moms must skip out on a little fun (sorry Real Housewives) in exchange for mommy time. Banishing distractions and time wasters gives you so much extra time each day to hang out with your spouse, kids, etc. Don’t get rid of all timewasters, instead simply pick certain days of the week to eliminate certain time wasting habits. In doing so, you might be surprised by how much more you get done in a week.
Tip #5: Make a habit out of special family outings
Use your family calendar to set aside certain days of the month or week to do something fun as a family. Go miniature golfing, take a hike along the beach, or spend some time by the pool. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s just important that you’re all having fun together.
Tip #6: Don’t forget to be silly, even after a long day at work
We get it, after a long and stressful day at work it can be hard to giggle and goof off with your kids, but guess what? Doing so will make you feel so much better. Chances are, no matter what you’re experiencing at work, it’s not nearly as important as your family. Your child has been waiting to play with you all day, so why add stress and strife to their life just because you’re overworked and underpaid? In the famous words of T-Swift, “Shake it off,” and let your kid’s laughter float away your worries.
Tip #7: Don’t let the guilt get to you
Guilt is sure to find you one long working day, or when a meeting gets scheduled during your child’s first softball game of the season. It happens. It’s all part of being a working parent. Instead of dwelling on the drawbacks, think of it in a positive light—your hard work is contributing to your child’s wellbeing in so many ways.
Tip #8: And most importantly, don’t forget about you!
In the hustle and bustle of life, don’t forget to take care of yourself. If you don’t care for you, you can’t care for everyone else with the same zest they depend on. Take time to be by yourself, hang out with just your partner, and let loose with close friends. Remember that you are worth it and you deserve it because you work really hard.