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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

13 Ways Working Moms Can Balance Work and Family (And Be Happy)

13 Ways Working Moms Can Balance Work and Family (And Be Happy)
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Working moms have it tough. Being committed fully to work and family is an impossible task that working moms have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless, being perceived as not fully present as an employee or a mother. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It is possible to pursue a fulfilling full-time career while taking an active role as a mother, if you learn to find a balance that works for your life.

These tips will help working moms to make juggling the two sides a little bit easier.

1. Let go of the mom guilt

Mothers are so often judged for “abandoning” their children when returning to work full-time, while fathers are expected to go to work to “provide” for the family. Why is this sexist stereotype still so present in our seemingly progressive society?

Some women don’t have the option of being a stay-at-home mom, while others choose to go back to work because they don’t want to give up their career. Whatever the reason, deciding to be a working mom is a choice that should be admired, not judged or shamed. If you are feeling guilty about not being with your child all the time, it’s time to let it go.

Focus on the positive things that your work life is contributing to your family. Be confident that you are making the best choice for your whole family, including yourself, and your child will feel the extent of your love and understand your sacrifice.

2. Use time saving hacks

To get the most done in the least amount of time, use shortcuts and plan strategically.

Order your groceries online and use curbside pick-up or have them delivered to your house; this saves time AND ensures that you don’t forget anything.

Schedule conference calls during your commute and get quick errands done during your lunch break to free up more time during the week.

Prepare outfits and lunches the night before so that you can enjoy your morning instead of rushing to get out the door on time.

3. Find childcare providers that you trust

Knowing that your child is cared for is crucial to having peace of mind when you are at work. Find a daycare, nanny, or someone you know that you trust with your child.

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A quality daycare should have flexible hours, a low teacher-to-child ratio, a clean and spacious environment, and up to date licenses.

For nannies, look for one with extensive experience and great references. Have at least one trial day to observe if it is a good fit and make all of your expectations clear from the get-go. If possible, keep constant contact throughout the day and ask for updates and photos of your little one.

Here are 9 ways you can try to outsource some chores:[1]

    4. Maintain open communication with your manager

    Being a working mom does NOT mean you will be a a less productive employee. However, changes will definitely occur.

    Mothers are typically the primary parent when a child is sick or has an appointment, and is the one responsible for picking up the child after work; so working moms often need more flexibility in their schedules. But working moms are some of the most committed employees out there! From skipping lunch breaks to working on the weekends, these women do not use their child as an excuse to slack off.

    The important thing is to make sure you communicate to your manager what your needs are, as well as how you will continue to do your job well. Hopefully, your manager will be understanding and appreciate your transparency and dedication to both your family and your job.

    5. Reduce distractions and time wasters

    Time is such a precious commodity when you are a working mom.

    At work, be mindful of the time you are spending socializing with co-workers if it is affecting your productivity. Limit long lunch breaks and surfing the internet so that you can get the most out of your work time.

    When at home, focus on your partner and your child rather than your phone or the TV to ensure that the time spent together is meaningful and intentional.

    Here are more ideas on how you can maximize your family time: How to Maximize Family Time? 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Immediately

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    6. Reconnect with your partner

    The key to a happy home starts with a happy marriage. Make your marriage or relationship a priority because it will have an immense impact on everything else.

    If possible, find childcare and go out on regular date nights, doing things that the two of you enjoyed doing before becoming parents. Plan something other than dinner at your usual place, like a painting class or trivia night. Have an honest conversation with your partner that doesn’t involve work or kids and really listen to what they have to say.

    7. Create special and meaningful family activities

    Make the time that you spend with your family really count by planning activities that everyone will look forward to and enjoy.

    Organize a weekly family game night, have a picnic in the backyard, or go play mini golf. I love to take long walks with my family at nearby parks because it gives us a chance to be active and have great conversations. Ask for ideas from your older kids and let them get involved in deciding where to go too.

    8. Stay organized using calendars and lists, plan ahead

    The mental load that working mothers must take on is a responsibility that no one else can understand.

    You are the one in charge of keeping track of doctor’s appointments, signing permission slips, bringing potluck dishes, remembering birthdays, writing cards, staying on top of of clothes and sizes, knowing what’s in the fridge and pantry, never letting the house run out of toilet paper, just to name a few.

    Use planners, apps, and other resources to keep track of your never ending to-do’s and let go of some of the mental weight. For me, I add events to a shared calendar so that my husband can easily see what’s coming up and help out. I also use Google Keep as a place to make lists and take notes because it has easy to share capabilities.

    Plan ahead as much as possible so that nothing is left to the last minute.

    Check out this list of productivity apps that you can try: 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

    9. Share the housework

    The burden of the housework should not fall solely on the woman’s shoulders. This is an area that is easy for your partner to help you out in, especially if you have specific tasks that only you can do (i.e. breastfeeding, putting the baby down).

    If your children are older, delegate simple tasks to them so they can learn to build good habits early on and play an active role in contributing to the family. This chart is a reference for you to decide what chores to let your kids try:[2]

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      Another option to consider is spending money on a cleaning service. It can be hard to justify spending money on something you can do yourself, but if having an unkempt house is a major source of stress, it would be money very well spent.

      10. Say yes to less

      You don’t have to say yes to every single party invitation or extracurricular activity if it is causing you more anxiety than enjoyment.

      Determine how much your schedule can handle and choose the activities that your child will enjoy the most. Don’t feel bad about saying no to the rest. Overbooking takes all of the fun out of the experience and leaves no time for much needed rest.

      11. Lower your expectations

      A lot of the pressure that moms have to cook healthy and delicious meals daily, maintain a perfectly clean house, and be the perfect parent are expectations that you put on yourself. No one else demands as much as you demand of yourself.

      When you lower your expectations, you will find a lot of the unnecessary stress can be eliminated.

      Your house does NOT need to be spotless every time a guest comes over, especially if the guest also has children.

      Buying cookies instead of baking them yourself does NOT make you a bad mom. Home cooked meals everyday is a great goal to strive towards, but leftovers and take out will also feed your family just fine.

      12. Make time for me time

      Finding time for yourself is crucial in maintaining inner peace and balance within the hectic environment of work and home life.

      Moms have a bad habit of putting their own needs last in order to take care of everyone else first. But if you aren’t taking care of yourself, how can you expect to take care of anyone else well?

      Find the time on a regular basis and an activity that will allow you to relax and recharge. Some ideas include: meditation, yoga, exercise, reading, writing, catching up with a friend, or pampering yourself.

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      For me, one thing I like to do during “me time” is writing in my gratitude journal. It helps me to appreciate more, put things into perspective, and make my worries and anxieties seem less consequential.

      13. Connect with other working moms

      You are not alone. There are millions of working mothers who are going through the same thing you are on a daily basis.

      Full-time mothers have more flexibility during the week to arrange meet-ups, but working moms can also have that same type of community.

      Seek out co-workers who are also working mothers; these are women you will be able to relate to on a whole different level. Coordinate playdates and mom groups on the weekends or take walks together after work. Find moms near you using Facebook groups, Meetup, and apps like Peanut and Hello Mamas.

      Laughing together, sharing stories, and finding your community will show you that you don’t have to do this all by yourself.

      Best of both worlds

      Can a working mom have both a successful career and a fulfilling family life?

      It is absolutely possible.

      It may not look exactly like how you pictured it, but don’t let that deceive you. Recognize and appreciate all of the great things you do have, and just take it one day at a time.

      Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

      Reference

      More by this author

      Katie Lemons

      Parenting Blogger and Full-Time Working Mom

      Reading for Kids: 17 Reasons Why It’s Important and Where to Start 13 Ways Working Moms Can Balance Work and Family (And Be Happy) 18 Fun Activities for Kids to Do on a Rainy Day These 18 Smart Kids Apps Will Make You Rethink Learning and Education 14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

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      Published on July 22, 2021

      20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

      20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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      It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

      Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

      Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

      1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

        These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

        Get the recipe here.

        2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

          This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

          To try this recipe, go here.

          3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

            Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

            Check out the recipe here.

            4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

              Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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              Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

              5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

                This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

                Find the recipe here.

                6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                  The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                  Get the recipe for this dish here.

                  7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                    Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                    You can find the recipe here.

                    8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                      Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                      Find the recipe here.

                      9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                        This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                        Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                        10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                          Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                          The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                          11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                            Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                            Find the recipe here.

                            12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                              This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                              Find the recipe here.

                              13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                                Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                                This easy recipe can be found here.

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                                14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                  Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                  Find out how to make it here.

                                  15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                    This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                    The recipe can be found here.

                                    16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                      This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                      Find the recipe here.

                                      17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                        Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                        Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                        18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                          Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                          Find the recipe here.

                                          19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                            Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                            Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                            20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                              Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                              Get the recipe here.

                                              Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                              Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                              Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                              1. Lose the Sugar

                                              Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                              2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                              Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                              3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                              Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                              When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                              Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                              Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                              More Healthy Eating Tips

                                              Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

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