Happy Mother’s Day to all you incredible, awe-inspiring, dedicated mothers out there! Thank you for everything you do for your children, families, and communities. Every day, you contribute to the growth of our future as a society. Moms are the fulcrum of all we know about love, support, and growth.
Moms aren’t just the framework of the family. They’re linchpins of the economy as well. Today, I’m taking some time to especially look at the beauty that is the working mother!
Working moms have become the norm in our society. Back in 1965, moms were working about 9 hours per week on average. In 2016, moms report working a minimum of 25 hours per week. Nearly 70% of mothers with children under age 18 participate in the labor force, and 70% of those moms work full-time. (We acknowledge the other 30% of mothers, too, who are holding up the forts to keep our kids and communities running efficiently!)
If you’re a working mom, you wear so many hats that they don’t all fit on your head! So what can you do to “have it all” and find success as a working mother? I’m here to give you some tips to make your life easier while celebrating yourself the way you deserve!
1. Separate home and work.
It sounds a lot easier than it is, and we’re sure you’ve heard it a hundred times over. But the ability to be completely and totally present wherever you are is an integral part to making it work as a working mom. Research shows that you actually lose time by switching between tasks, even mental tasks (like trying to think about your kids and work projects at the same time).
The best way create this barrier to employ two (or more) separate to do lists. If you’re at work and think about something that needs to be accomplished at home, write it down on your “home” to do list. If you’re about to fall asleep and can’t stop thinking about something you have to accomplish at work, write it down on your “work” to do list. This allows you to acknowledge the thought and still keep it “top of mind,” while freeing your mind to continue focusing on the important task at hand.
“Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
2. Make time for you.
You don’t just deserve “you” time—you need it! Taking a few minutes every day can help you reboot and recharge, so you can return to your family and work with more vitality.
It’s especially important to take time to exercise. Getting your body moving will help keep you healthy and energetic, which will show positive ripple effects in every area of your life.
Other awesome self-care tips:
- Find a relaxing hobby that you love, like knitting, reading, stargazing—or anything!
- Volunteer. Bonus points if you volunteer with friends.
- Enjoy outdoor yoga.
- Go for a walk in the sun.
- Lock yourself in the bathroom to do a face mask and hair mask in a lavender-scented bubble bath.
- Go out with your gal pals.
- Write in a journal.
- Meditate, sleep, and relax.
Don’t skimp on your vacation days at work, either. Vacation—even a staycation—can actually improve your physical and mental health. So don’t worry what people think when you take your vacation days. You earned those days—so take the time off for your mind, body, and spirit.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott
3. Gather your village.
“It takes a village” is as true a concept now as it always has been. Whether you’re in a relationship or a single mom, there are always people you can gather around you to help you raise your children. Pull together your support system whom you can rely on when work runs late or your child needs to stay home from school one day. Have family and friends you can call on to ease the burden of having to care for work and home all at once.
You’ll also want to employ a few on-call babysitters so there’s always someone to cover in case of an unexpected scenario. Care.com is a good place to start searching for local sitters, but make sure you do
Create a village at work too! Building a work family is a great way to ease the work-life balance burden. Find friends and colleagues at work who will be there to support you and back you up, whether they’re coworkers in your department or outside of it. You want people who are willing to pick up the slack if you need to run home to take care of your child or you’re feeling run down. They’ll do it for you if you would do the same for them!
If you don’t have a support system around you at home or at work, it might be time to make a change. For your home life, maybe you’ll want to find new mom groups or hobbies to get involved in to make some new friends. For your work life, you might consider talking to your boss or changing to a different type of working environment or industry that is more accessible to working moms.
“I’m every woman. It takes a village to make me who I am.” – Katy Perry
4. Organize, organize, organize.
Heard of “meal prep”? I’m all about “life prep”! Anything that you can organize and plan in advance will help you save time and headache during the week.
So plan out your meals, grocery lists, to do lists, and even your outfits at the beginning of the week. This actually frees up your mind, so you can focus on what’s really important (like your work and family) when you’re in the midst of the storm.
Check out this awesome Lifehack article with the 10 habits of really organized people.
“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” – Benjamin Franklin
5. Plan for distraction time.
How much time are you wasting? It can feel like everything feel like a blur, because, when you really look at it, a good portion of your day is lost to mindless social media scrolling or daydreaming.
Track your time with a journal. Write down exactly what you did for every minute of the day. At the end of the week, see where you’re losing the most time. (The average internet user spends an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social networking every day… That’s a lot of time spent on something that isn’t usually productive.)
Once you acknowledge where you’re wasting time, you can make a strategy to minimize these time wasters and fill it instead with fruitful time (like self care or exercising).
You may even want to plan in “mindless” time. You don’t need to completely release your social media—because it can be fun and productive in some cases! But planning it into your schedule actually ensures you don’t use it mindlessly or as a time filler, and you’ll hold yourself more accountable during the rest of the day because you know you have a 10-minute time scheduled in to check your social media.
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas
You got this, mama!
Tina Fey said it well: “I think every working mom probably feels the same thing. You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible—Oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.”
You’re making possible what seems impossible to everyone else. You’re filled with success each and every day.
Thank you to all the incredible mothers out there for all you do for your families, your companies, and your communities. To say that you are the lifeblood of our society and economy is an understatement!