As working moms know, mornings can be crazy and more than a little stressful. You pray there’s no meltdown as you get youngsters out of bed, dressed and fed, lunches made and rush out the door. And who doesn’t feel a tinge of guilt when dropping off a child at school or day care and then speeding off? It’s natural but stressful nonetheless. The key is to find ways to balance work and family life so neither gets neglected. Here are five busy working mom tips you can use to strike the right work-life balance for you and your family.
1. Be flexible with your schedule
It sounds great to say keep work at work and home at home. But let’s be real. Sometimes you have to take that call from the school nurse or finish up the spreadsheet at home. The best approach is to be flexible. And part of being flexible is being prepared. So it’s wise to set up a home office where you can take care of business items if needed and still be around your children and partner. Of course, working at home shouldn’t be the norm, just as taking personal calls at work should be kept to a minimum. It may sound contradictory but part of being flexible is setting a schedule. One of the best busy working mom tips is to let your co-workers (and family) know when you normally arrive and leave. Inform everyone about your schedule and then stick to it as best as possible. That way, when you do need to change things up, people understand it’s a special instance and tomorrow you’ll be back to your set routine.
2. Plan family time and put it on a calendar
Finding the right work-life balance is all about prioritization. You schedule business meetings with co-workers. Give your family the same courtesy. Create and organize a family calendar and then stick to it. Google Calendar and similar apps are awesome for this sort of thing. Everyone in your family can update it and check events so you don’t double book. In fact, why not set aside 15 minutes each Sunday to review your calendar, update it if needed and prepare for the following week. When you have a family activity scheduled, guard it jealously. Don’t let other events bump it. And don’t check your phone or talk about work while you’re all together. Your children need you as much as your co-workers do. Now is the time to give them your full attention.
3. Ask for help
No one can do it all alone and many other working moms are searching for ways to balance work and family just like you. Carpooling with friends, teammates and classmates goes a long way in reducing work-life stress. As an added bonus, you’ll find yourself building long-lasting friendships. Same goes for work. If you’ve tried to strike a work-life balance on your current schedule and it just isn’t working, you might need to approach your boss. See if an adjustment can be made. Not every company is open to flexible schedules but some are. If you decide to approach your boss, keep these three things in mind:
- – Be specific: Have a plan when you raise the idea. It shows you’re serious and have thought it through.
- – Be positive: Detail how the solution you’re proposing will make you a better, more productive employee.
- – Be realistic: Be sure your work-life solution benefits both you and the company.
4. Try not to feel guilty
This is a tough one, especially for moms who are conditioned to put family before everything else. You’re not a bad parent just because you work. When you start to feel guilty, try focusing on how your salary allows your family to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. Also, keep in mind that even stay-at-home moms have to turn down invitations and miss out on events sometimes. If all else fails, realize that feeling guilty is natural. It shows you care!
Make time for your partner…and yourself
You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. This reality leads to one of the most important busy working mom tips: schedule time for you. A 30-minute workout at the gym, reading a book before you fall asleep, dinner with friends…it doesn’t have to be extravagant. But it should be frequent. Same goes for your relationship with your partner. For the sake of your entire family, schedule time with your significant other. It could be a weekend getaway or just a dinner at home without the kids. Again, put it on the family calendar and stick to it when other priorities pop up. Your relationship is the foundation of your entire family life. So if you’re looking for ways to balance work and family life, it’s a great place to start.