Being a mother is more than a full-time job. Adding a paid position to your responsibilities can make life feel overwhelming. Here are 10 tips for working moms who are looking for ideas to keep it all together.
- Set boundaries on your work time. Don’t feel guilty if you decide how many hours per week you want to work and you stick to it or if you decide you want to be done working at 5:00pm every day and then take your work hat off and put your mom hat on. It might help to write down your schedule. Some of us working moms have jobs that have a typical, predictable schedule while other jobs have more flexible and variable scheduling. So, go ahead and decide on the number of hours you want to work per week and then make a weekly schedule and stick to it. When you are working, do your best and put in your optimal effort. That way you will be using your time wisely. You will be working more efficiently rather than being only half-invested and getting less done. Don’t let other people’s opinions or judgments bring you down. You will be building your well-being and maintaining your sanity and being a better worker and better mom for setting these boundaries.
- Delegate certain tasks. It’s okay to be okay with the fact that we can’t do it all. Delegating tasks can make life run more smoothly. There are a couple of ways I will point out that you can delegate. First, identify at least one or maybe two household tasks that each of your kids can do. This might change as they age or it might stay the same. If you assign each child one or two tasks that they have to do every day (or every week) that is that many tasks less that you have to do. Over time and with the right encouragement, they should get really good at it. Remember to praise them for their efforts and give them some nudging if they aren’t keeping up on the task. Routines can help with this. Kids are more likely to remember to do something if it is connected to their schedule. For example, if right when they get home from school, they feed the pet, they will learn to do this every day. Or, if after dinner, they take out the trash, it will become habit. Another way to delegate tasks is to hire help. Not everyone can do that and not everyone would really want to do that, but if you are overwhelmed, it might help to have a house cleaner come in once a week or so to help tidy things up.
- 15 Minute Clean-Ups. A little cleaning can really make a big difference. 15 minutes probably won’t totally clean your house, but it certainly helps. In 15 minutes, you can pick up the living room floor, clean off the kitchen counters, and wash the table, and maybe more. My toddler helps me with this activity. She calls it part of our “hanging out together plan.” If you don’t really enjoy cleaning, a timer can be helpful with this. Simply set the timer and keep cleaning for 15 minutes and then when the timer is done, you are done.
- Use a Planner. Get a good planner. Make it suit your style. If you like to be super detailed, get one that is separated into 15 minute increments daily. If you like a bigger visual, get one that has weekly views. Get attached to your planner and use it every day. Look at it at least twice a day. You want to see what you have going on that day and the next day and you certainly don’t want to miss an appointment. You can also use a planner to plan quality time with your kids, cleaning time, self-care time, and more.
- Think About the Model You Are for Your Kids. Any parent, no matter who they are, is setting an example for their kids. Of course, parents don’t have total control over their child’s life or future, but they certainly set an example for what grown-ups look like. Think about what kind of mom or woman you want your children to see. Do you want to set an example to your daughter that she can set and reach her own goals? Do you want to be a happy, well-rounded mother and woman? Do you want your kids to experience your love, nurturing heart, and also see that you can make a difference in the world with the job you have? On the other hand, you probably don’t want your kids to see you stressed out all the time, irritable, and so on. So, make your life an example of what you want your kids to see. If you have to cut back on some responsibilities to be more patient, that is perfectly okay. If you have to spend a little less time with your kids than you would like in order to keep your job, that is okay, too. Just know you are modeling being a grown-up, being a woman to your children. This idea helps me to remember that I am setting an example for my daughter’s to know that they can do whatever they want to do when they grow up, that they can be independent, and they can also be kind, caring mothers. I am also setting an example for my son as I want him to experience a positive, supportive mother. He is also seeing an example of what a woman should be like and may have certain standards when he finds a wife and builds a family some day as well as in how she treats his wife and children.
It’s hard and there is no one way to be a working mother. We all have to find our own way, but we can learn from each other and support each other. Find other people you can bounce ideas off from. Social media makes it easy to compare our stressful lives with other people’s images of their “perfect lives,” so don’t let that get to you. Do your own thing and be you. And know that some days just won’t go that smoothly and that’s okay. Just keeping putting one foot in front of the other and take steps toward making progress and you will get to some level of peace. And enjoy the process, too. It’s not about the destination. It’s about living in the moment and cherishing those precious moments you have as a mother.
Photo by donnierayjones