How to Balance Your Life as a Working Mom

working mom with baby

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I started a new job yesterday.

I am now working in an office, away from my home, which is something I’ve not done in over 15 years.

Now I am facing what most moms in the United States struggle with: How do you find balance as a working mom?

How Do You Balance Career and Family?

The balance isn’t easy to obtain. Keep a schedule, leave work at work, prioritize family time, and give yourself a break! Don’t expect to get it all right all of the time. You must learn to seek balance rather than perfection.

Materials Needed

The item I use most as a working mom is my planner.

Whether working at home or away from home, the planner is the number one tool that keeps my household running.

I know moms who use planning apps on their phones, which is great!

However, I have found that using a physical planner forces me to put my electronics aside and focus on all that needs to be accomplished.

I also use a household planner so everyone in my home can, at a glance, know what is happening and where they need to be.

1. Planner

I love the planners from Happy Planner.

They have plenty of options, so you can choose the type and style of planner you love.

They also have a lot of additional tools that you can use to make planning easier.

Daily Planner
  • 18-MONTH PLANNER: Let go and grow this year! Our 2023–2024 dated floral planner runs from July…
  • PLANNER ORGANIZER: Our weekly planner includes a variety of dividers and sticker sheets to organize…
  • CUSTOMIZABLE: Make your agenda organizer planner unique from the inside out. The signature…

2. Stickers

Yes, stickers.

I use stickers to make specials days stand out, to track ongoing events, and to brighten my day.

Some of them aren’t exactly useful but they do bring me joy.

Sale
Happy Planner Sticker Pack for Calendars, Journals, and Planners
  • HAPPY PLANNER STICKER PAD: This mum-themed planner sticker book pairs perfectly with our diary…
  • DIARY PLANNER ACCESSORIES: Our Happy Planner stickers are available in an array of different styles…
  • DAILY DIARY STICKERS: This sticker value pack is great for diaries, notebooks, and journals. With…

3. Planning Pages

You will need extra pages for your planner.

You might want to track your budget, your diet and even your passwords.

In my house, I have additional pages for each day that allow more details than will fit in the small calendar spaces.

Colorful Monthly Budget Forms
  • SIZE: Perfectly fits 9-Disc (7 x 9.25 inches) Medium Size Planner, NOTIQ Midi 9-Disc (L2), Inkwell…
  • CONVENIENT: Keep track of your bills with this Monthly Bill Pay Checklist which is pre-punched to…
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: 32lb, premium quality, silky paper. Write or draw with your favorite markers, pens,…

4. Calendar

I keep a large planning calendar on the refrigerator.

This is where I put notices for the entire family.

One glance will tell my husband, my children and myself what to expect out of each day.

Mom’s Plan-It Calendar
  • 17-month format (August 2023 – December 2024)
  • 400+ event/reminder stickers
  • Magnetic hanger plus standard hanger

5. Pens and Highlighters

My planner is color coded.

I write all of the details of individual tasks and events, and then I highlight them according to my own personal method.

I like Le Pen ink pens and Sharpie Clear View highlighters.

Step 1: Rethink Your Career

A woman should not have to give up her career because she has chosen to start a family.

However, studies show that only 10 percent of the adult population of the United States works a job they love.

If you belong to that 90 percent, you should at least consider changing your career to something that allows more of a balance between work and family.

I was one of the 90 percent before my oldest child was born.

I didn’t aspire to work in tech support.

I applied to a job on a lark, was offered a decent salary, started getting promotions, and somehow stayed in the same office for seven years.

When it came time to return to work, I realized how unfulfilled I was and left.

Luckily for me, I was able to find work as a writer, which was both my passion and a job I could do from home.

You may not be as lucky, but you might be able to find something that is fulfilling, more flexible or both.

Of course, if you are in a career that you love, you should not feel the need to sacrifice it.

Step 2: Make it a Joint Effort

If you have a partner, it is time for the two of you to work together.

Take the divide-and-conquer approach when it comes to taking care of the children, house and bills.

You can divide your responsibilities by day or time.

For instance, you might be in charge of dinner from Monday through Wednesday while your partner handles Thursday to Sunday.

Conversely, you can divide by task.

This is what my husband and I do.

He is in charge of cleaning bathrooms, doing dishes and all yardwork while I’m in charge of laundry and other basic household duties.

Not all moms have partners to help them raise and provide for their children.

In the U.S., there are over 15,000 families headed by a single mom.

If this is you, you may need to seek assistance elsewhere.

Ask family or friends to help you with some tasks, even if that means watching the kids while you tackle mowing and dusting on your own.

As your kids grow, they can become part of the team.

Step 3: Establish Childcare

Your child will probably be able to stay home alone sometime during the middle school years.

This entirely depends upon the maturity of your child and the safety of your home. Until then, you will need childcare.

In the early years, an all-day daycare, an in-home babysitter, a family member or a full-time nanny is required.

Later, you will need to find someone to watch your children after they get home from school until the time you or your partner can arrive home.

An important factor to consider when establishing childcare is the cost.

The average cost of childcare in the United States is about $10,000 per year depending on your location.

That already high price gets even more outrageous if you have multiple young children.

Another factor to consider is location.

If your childcare facility is not close to home or your place of work, you may be adding needless miles to your car and even more time away from your children as you fight traffic.

Step 4: Consider Transportation

Speaking of traffic, you do need to think about transportation.

Does your family already have two reliable vehicles? Will you need to purchase another car?

If so, do you have the budget for an additional car, maintenance, gas and insurance?

Are there are alternatives that you can consider?

Balancing work with family life means you may have to make tough financial choices in order for transportation to work.

City dwellers may find that they are able to use public transportation.

Others might even be lucky enough to be able to walk or ride a bike to and from work.

If this is your situation, will you be able to pick up your children after work?

How will you manage a child that is ill or injured? It is wise to already have a plan in place so you are prepared when this situation arises.

Step 5: Prioritize Family Time

Prioritizing family time is easier said than done. Sometimes, your work schedule is so intense that family comes second.

While that should ideally never be the case, reality will rear its ugly head from time to time.

Try to limit the frequency that you avoid family time in exchange for work. Make it a rare occasion rather than the norm.

How do you do this when both your job and your family demand your time?The best solution is to set firm boundaries at work.

Let your employer and your colleagues know that you clock out at five and you will not take work home with you.

That said, unless you have a contract or a union agreement that says otherwise, you can be dismissed for refusing mandatory overtime.

Learn the difference between what is asked and what is required.

If you have an employer who continues to ask or require overtime, consider looking elsewhere for employment.

Step 6: Master Time Management

The day planner is my savior.

Without it, I would almost certainly forget that tomorrow night is the open house for both of my kids’ schools at the same time as cheer practice and football practice.

I use this planner to know, at a glance, what to expect for the week.

I also use it to determine when I will run errands, when laundry needs to be finished, and what we will have for our meals.

Time management is vital at the office.

It is important to tackle the most pressing and difficult tasks early in the day so the rest of the day can be spent on those items that are easier to complete.

What if you don’t work in an office environment?

Time management is important anywhere, from hospitals to restaurants to factories.

Manage your time well and your work won’t follow you home.

Step 7: Sleep

You cannot sacrifice sleep in order to stay balanced with your work and home schedules.

A lack of sleep will eventually catch up to you.

Insufficient sleep can damage your immune system, which will make you prone to illness.

It will also make you cranky, which hurts your family and your work environment.

Take the time to take care of yourself.

Eat healthy foods, exercise, and get enough sleep every night.

Don’t stay up late to finish a report for work or your child’s Valentine box.

You will be happier, healthier and more productive if you get the sleep you need.

Step 8: Don’t Seek Perfection

You won’t experience perfect balance at all times.

Sometimes, your work will falter because you have too many responsibilities at home.

Your family will sometimes become upset with you because you spend too much time at work.

These things are bound to happen. What is more important is that you do the best you can for as long as you can.

Don’t beat yourself up if you are not perfect.

You cannot be the perfect employee, co-worker, manager, spouse, friend and mother at all times.

That doesn’t mean you aren’t amazing. When you succeed, give yourself credit for a job well done.

When you fail, give yourself credit for trying.

Key Takeaways

Balancing your life as a working mom is one of the most difficult parts of parenthood.

Try to keep work at work while keeping home at home. If you manage this, you are on a great path for true balance.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments!

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