Are you struggling to be a working mom? I do. As a professional blogger I can work from home, but getting your work done with all of the distractions at home is taxing. Work-life balance? What’s that?
As a WHAM, it’s so easy to get sidetracked when your family is around, and there are so many demands someone working in an office doesn’t have to deal with, like laundry, making the kids lunch, or running errands while wondering how you’ll ever make that deadline.
Going to be another very long night — that’s the only way that’s going to happen.
And because I work from home, my work is always here and I also work on the weekend — and yet my job oftentimes doesn’t get taken seriously. On the flip side, moms who work outside of the home face plenty of their own challenges.
Being a working mom is hard, period, no matter what your situation is. But we can make this challenge of work-life balance a little easier for ourselves with these 4 tips.
4 Tips For Finding a Better Work-Life Balance in 2014:
Take Care of Yourself First
It’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves – when was the last time you treated yourself to a massage or relaxing facial? Don’t remember? Then schedule some “me” time in your calendar, and stick to it as you would to other appointments in your full calendar.
If a massage is not in your budget, just treating yourself to your favorite magazine and a latte at a coffee shop can do wonders for releasing some stress and lets you take a breather before you hurry back to your work or family.
It always does wonders for me to sit down with Country Living or HGTV magazine at Starbucks for an hour.
Take Stock and Reorganize
At what time of the week are you stressed out and tired the most? Take a look at your calendar and assess the activities that seem overwhelming or always problematic. Maybe even call a family meeting and ask for input about what works and what doesn’t.
Are Tuesday mornings always crazy? Are you always running late on Fridays? Why? Is that when your son has PE and you are struggling to find his sneakers? Try another approach and see if that makes things easier, like getting things together the night before or handing that responsibility over to your son.
I’m working on getting L to pack his backpack himself and put it next to the door so it’s ready to go in the morning.
Ask your family for help with organizing chores and activities differently to regain a more relaxed home life. Maybe that means picking up a cute pin board at HomeGoods or creating your own DIY “family command center” in the kitchen corner or mudroom with a spot for the different schedules of every family member.
After two weeks, re-evaluate if your new way of organizing and delegating works better, and tweak it if needed.
Maybe It’s Time to Get a Babysitter or Tutor
If you find yourself rushing home to get your child off the bus (like me), or if doing homework with your child is a daily and time-consuming struggle, consider investing in getting help.
Would it help to hire a qualified babysitter who could be with your child for those hours you can’t be in two places at the same time? Instead of rushing to get the last work project done under pressure, you’d be more relaxed and less stressed out, which will benefit your work and your home life.
The same goes for doing homework – maybe it would make sense to hire a tutor for a few hours a week so you can spend more quality time with your kids. Wouldn’t it be nice if homework would be done already when you get home from work?
If you can’t afford hiring help, see if you could barter your professional skills, or ask a family member for help in exchange for dinner at your house or something similar. Or maybe there is another local mom in the same situation and you could take turns helping each other out.
We don’t have a babysitter and I don’t feel the need to get one right now, but I have found that playdates are a wonderful invention. L and his friends are at an age now where I don’t have to sit next to them to supervise them, and I have time to get more work done or fold the laundry in earshot of them when L has a friend over. And when he goes to a friend’s house after school, it frees up a few more hours for me to get things done.
Learn to Say “No” More Often
Maybe 2014 is the year you don’t volunteer to be class mom. There will be other opportunities to volunteer for activities with your child during the school year.
I didn’t volunteer for it this year. I was L’s class mom last year, and it didn’t give me more time to see him at school, which is what I would have loved. The job entailed writing emails about what is needed for a class party or event and dealing with 20 different reply-all emails back to me about what everyone wanted to bring. To manage that can be time-consuming.
In general, give yourself a break and tell people you’ll think about it before you say yes to an additional chore. Consider your other responsibilities first; can you take on one more? Only take it on if you really want to – don’t do it because you feel obligated.
For working moms, juggling work obligations and family commitments will always be a struggle because we want to be great at our job and at being a mom – but you can make it a little easier for yourself in 2014 by being smart about prioritizing, organizing, thinking of your own needs first, and asking for help.
What is the hardest thing about work-life balance for you? And what works for you? Share your tip in a comment!