10 Tips for Moms to Manage Work and Family
It's never easy being a mom trying to juggle a full-time job with a family life. Read on for tips on how you get closer to reaching an ideal work-life balance.
1. Let Go of the Guilt
Rather than dwell on how you're not with your child, think about how your role in the company is benefitting the family. Perhaps you can afford certain classes or educational opportunities for your children or you're able to put away savings for college. Accept that there will be good and bad days. Mothers should know they are not alone and they should discuss their feelings with partners or support groups.
2. Find Quality Childcare
Ask your network of friends and family for references to nannies, babysitters, and daycare centers. Create a list of criteria that are important and then schedule time to interview qualified childcare providers or to tour local daycares.
3.Make the Mornings Easier
Avoid starting the day on a frazzled note by getting organized the night before. Pack the kids' lunches, lay out their clothes (plus your own), and have everyone shower. You should also decide what to make for breakfast, and repack the diaper bag, backpacks, purses, or work bags to be placed by the door, right next to your keys, so you can grab them and lock up on your way out.
4.Create and Organize a Family Calendar
Figure out your family's priorities. A calendar can include dates when bills are due, a chore chart for the kids, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and more. You can try using Google calendars, which can be easily shared and synced on smartphones. They are color-coded and get superimposed on each other, so you can always be on top of scheduling challenges.
5.Communicate with Your Employer
Before talking to your employer or HR representative, construct a written plan detailing what you need. Every employer is different, and only you will know how much to share, but try to be as open and honest as possible. Be prepared to present alternative solutions, such as a trial period of your projected work schedule so you can show how the arrangement won't restrict productivity.
6.Stay Connected During the Day
Stay connected with your children even when you're not together. For moms with younger kids, consider recording yourself talking or singing on a video or record your voice reading along to a children's book. If you're going to miss or be late to an older child's event, give her something special in the morning, like a good-luck charm or a personal note. Look into options for filming the event so you can watch it later and not miss a moment. Hang pictures of yourself and your partner so the kids can see your faces.
7.Limit Distractions and Time Wasters
Be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making phone calls, things you can do when the kids are sleeping. Reduce TV watching to once a week to maximize time with your partner during the evenings. Try to avoid multitasking, especially when spending time with your children. At your workplace, try to avoid wasting time. Of course you want to have a rapport with coworkers, but numerous email exchanges, casual Internet surfing, gossiping, and long lunches are distractions that will make you less productive. Focus on your tasks at work and talk to coworkers during breaks or lunchtime.
8.Create Special Family Activities
Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond. If you're pressed for time, have a family breakfast or a family night with board games or movies. When you do have family outings, avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Instead, focus on your kids' interests such as friends, classes, and hobbies. With older children, ask for their activity suggestions and try to meet their needs. In the end, it doesn't really matter what you do as long as you do it together.
9.Spend Time with Your Partner
Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner, who will often be the number one person by your side. Start by having monthly date nights to get closer, feel rejuvenated, and enjoy each other's company. Often, if you're busy with work and home, your partner is the first to get neglected. Fostering this relationship will bring back some excitement to the marriage or partnership and help you to "check in" with each other. For some couples, going out on a monthly date can be difficult and expensive, but that doesn't mean you can't focus on each other. Have an indoor date night by cooking an elegant meal together or even sitting together with a glass of wine and talking.
10.Create Moments for Yourself
By managing time wisely, you can fit in valuable "me" time regularly. A refreshing break will help you recharge while taking care of personal needs. Lose yourself in a book before you go to sleep, take a bubble bath once a week, or treat yourself to a spa day. Fit in time for exercise (like a yoga class) or focus on a hobby. Remember to eat well and get enough rest—simple things that even the smartest moms neglect.