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Last Updated on May 1, 2018

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

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

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

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      Published on November 7, 2018

      How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

      How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

      In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

      The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

      Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

      How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

      After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

      Figure Out the Laws

      Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

      The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

      Decide on an Approach

      Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

      Supplies/Resources

      Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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      A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

      Find a Community

      Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

      Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

      7 Different Homeschooling Methods

      1. School-At-Home

      Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

      The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

      • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
      • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
      • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

      2. Classical

      One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

      Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

      3. Unit Studies

      Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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      For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

      • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
      • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
      • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

      4. Charlotte Mason

      This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

      Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

      5. Montessori

      Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

      With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

      6. Unschooling

      Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

      For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

      7. Eclectic/Relaxed

      As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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      Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

      How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

      One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

      Email

      Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

      It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

      Google Drive/Calendar

      Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

      With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

      Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

      Ebooks

      Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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      E-Courses

      When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

      From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

      The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

      Some recommendations:

      Youtube

      Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

      Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

      Some recommendations:

      Final Thoughts

      Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

      Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

      Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

      Reference

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