Work/life balance is a term that I’ve heard increasingly over the years. But as my life has changed to include a husband and two small children, balance has been in the forefront consistently. As a mom at home, my workload grows daily and, as one task is completed, it is quickly replaced by another in a consistent cycle. As a mom in the workforce, my family is always on my mind and has become a huge part of my motivation to get things done.
This idea of being a working mom is nothing new. Expectations for women in general are high, but for moms, those expectations are higher. With that in mind, let’s talk about some tips to help moms balance their family and work lives:
Girl get rid of that guilt!
Whether you work 40 hours a week in an office or make your own hours at home, what you’re doing is a necessity for your livelihood. That being said, go to work and get stuff done! Feeling guilty about having to be there makes the days long and can negatively affect your work, so do what it takes to feel good about being there. You’re doing what you’re doing to further your future and that of your family. You got this!
2. Secure the Childcare
This may seem like a no-brainer but, if you don’t have peace of mind about where your children are while you are at work, it can make for a tough day. Make time to visit potential childcare providers, seek references, and do your homework! The relationship between you and your child’s daycare will likely last years, so plan accordingly!
3. Spell it Out- in Ink
If it’s important, write it down! As a mom, you have to think about every family member’s schedule and your own. Combine your family’s to-do list with your list from work and you’ve officially got way too many things to try to keep track of mentally. Do yourself (and future you) a favor and get a planner or chalkboard. Write down what needs to be done and when it’s done, check it off! Or, keep track of these things in an app* on your phone. Do your best to be intentional about how you spend your time so you can get more accomplished.
*My favorite apps to use to get things done are iCloud calendars (where my husband and I share our work schedules) and Wunderlist (a list making app where I can set a list of tasks and mark them as complete).
4. Be the Squeaky Wheel
If you need something, don’t be afraid to ask for it. At work, you may need accommodations for family obligations, so be transparent. If you need to be finished with work by a certain time, make sure that the right people know so there’s no confusion when it’s time to dip. At home, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks when your workload has gotten to be too big. Your small children may be big enough to pick up their own toys or to match the socks while you fold laundry. Ask your spouse, your best friend, your mom, anyone you know that wants to see you win, ask those people for help. Don’t allow yourself to feel stressed when you have people who are willing to help.
5. Rise with the Sun… or Earlier
This one is a tough one because some women have to be at work earlier than others, but the fact is that an early start grants you more time to execute your daily tasks. Wake up before the kids and bask in the silence and solitude. Use this time to better yourself via a quick workout, some meaningful meditation, or an inspiring devotional. Beginning your day with just you and God may be all the peace you need but you’ll never know if you’re sleeping. Even if you start with one day a week, fit yourself into your schedule somehow. There can be no balance between family and work if we, as moms, don’t take our own needs into consideration.
6. Go Back to the Basics
Success at work has a lot to do with what happens at home so manage those relationships most carefully. Spend time with your significant other; recall the reasons that you enjoy being around him and fun times you’ve had together. Don’t let your relationship slip in your quest to dominate at work. Stay close to your children too. Find out what they’re working on in school, make them lunch (maybe even take them out on a lunch date on a day off), or spend time with them doing what they love to do. Keep things simple for them and respect them as little beings who have their own preferences. Be present and attentive when it comes to your family.
Ladies, what are some other tips that you’ve lived by as a working mom? Let’s talk about some things that have worked for you!
Jeannelle “Jean” Lundy