If you think balancing work and family is impossible, you’re in for a treat. Today’s article shares 15 practical tips for successfully balancing work and family life.
In this article:
- Tips to Help You Plan Your Working Mom Schedule
- Time Management Tips for Working Moms
- Self-Care Tips for Working Moms
- Quality Time Tips for Balancing Work and Family
- Communication Tips for Career Moms
- Reinforcement Tips for Balancing Career and Family
Balancing Work and Family: 15 Work-Family Hacks for Working Moms
Tips to Help You Plan Your Working Mom Schedule
1. Set Your Work Priorities
Decide your top two priorities for work before going to bed. This can help you focus on the things you need to prioritize at work even if family-related curveballs happen.
2. Prepare the Night Before
Some working moms prepare as many of the things they’ll need the next day before going to bed. This frees up a lot of time and spares them a lot of stress in the morning.
Some of the things you can start preparing the night before are your work clothes and what your kids will wear the next day. Some even take a shower the night before so they can save time – and stress – in the morning.
3. Make To-Do Lists and Calendars
Being a working mom is one of the most mentally and physically taxing jobs in the world. Oftentimes, this can make it very hard to remember tasks and stay on top of things.
One of the best ways to ensure you don’t forget anything, get things done, and preserve as much mental energy as possible is to use a to-do list and a calendar. There are a couple of beneficial things that can happen when you use them.
- You unload your mind of the burden of having to remember and keep track of your tasks and responsibilities. When you transfer your tasks from your mind to a list, you can forget about them because your list will remind you.
- Putting them on a list and a calendar, especially on apps or programs that can automatically send reminders and notifications, can help ensure you won’t forget to do them. When you know there’ll be a reminder, your mind can relax and focus its limited energy on more important things.
- You can focus more on your family when you spend time with them. It’s because shifting the burden of remembering tasks to your to-do list means you don’t have to think of them when you’re with your family.
Time Management Tips for Working Moms
4. Make “No” Your Default Answer
Saying “yes” to everyone is akin to saying “no” to what’s most important in your life, like your family. If you take on too many things, you’ll have little time for your family and yourself.
If you really think about it, a lot of the things you say “yes” to are neither important, urgent, or your responsibility. You may feel that most, if not all of them, are important and your responsibility but your feelings are wrong.
Obviously, your immediate family’s the most important thing in your life. But at work or when it comes to friends and relatives, many of the things you feel you need to do aren’t really important.
Make it a habit to let other people justify what they’re asking from you. Unless they can convince you it’s really important or that you’re somehow obligated to say “yes”, let your default answer be a “no”.
Study after study has shown that multi-tasking’s a myth. Worse, studies have time and again reported on how multi-tasking’s one of personal productivity’s worst enemies.
That being said, always focus on one task or activity at a time.
If you’re working on a report, turn off your text messaging, email, WhatsApp, and Slack so you won’t get distracted. If you’re playing with your kids, make sure your smartphone’s not with you so you can focus your mind and body on quality time with them.
Schedule specific times during the day to check your emails and messages. That way, they don’t get in the way of your focused work or time with your spouse and kids.
Self-Care Tips for Working Moms
6. Free up Time for Yourself
Especially if you’re an introvert, you can’t afford to not free up some time for yourself. In other words, you’ll need regular “me” time if you want to continue giving enough quality time to your family.
Remember, you can’t give what don’t have.
7. You Don’t Need to Do It All
Girl, you’re not Super Girl – no woman is! Accept your humanity — the sooner you come to grips with that, the sooner you’ll be able to take measures to take good care of yourself.
This is where your ability to plan and prioritize will play a big role.
Everybody, both men and women, single or married, with children or childless, has the same number of hours daily. Since you can’t have more time every day, the only logical option is to focus on fewer things instead of on everything.
Some things you can delegate to other family members, subordinates (if you have them), other moms, or professional service providers. Some things you can afford to not do, like a sales report your boss assigned to your colleague.
As bestselling author and news anchor Nicole Lapin says: “Trying to be all things to all people means you’re nothing to your self.”
Focus only on what truly matters to you, your family, and your personal work responsibilities. Don’t spread yourself thin on meaningless stuff.
8. Expect Less
Any working mom can feel pressured to do so much more at home compared to a working husband. This includes, among other things, cleaning the house and preparing delicious and healthy home-cooked meals.
Such expectations can really burn out any working mom. If you find yourself in a similar situation, learn to expect less from yourself.
You don’t have to clean the house immaculately – clean enough will do. You don’t need to cook gourmet meals but simple but nice and healthy meals will do.
When you expect less from yourself, you can take a lot of stress off your mind and body. Then, you can achieve a more balanced work and family life.
Quality Time Tips for Balancing Work and Family
9. Leave Your Work at the Door… Or at the Office
As soon as you step inside your house, leave all work-related stuff behind. You gave everything you had to your work the whole day and now, your family deserves to have your time.
In today’s Internet-driven economy, leaving work at the office is no longer just a physical issue but a mental one, too. If you think of work while spending quality time with your spouse and kids, you’ll short-change them and they’ll know.
So, turn off your email, Slack and other online communications apps related to work when you’re home. It’ll be easier to get your mind off work that way.
10. Focus on Speaking Your Family’s Love Language
The concept of The Five Love Languages was conceptualized and popularized by Gary Chapman. They’re founded on the principle that each of us tends to naturally express and feel love in different ways, i.e., languages.
These love languages include quality time, gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, and service. If you want to make the most out of your limited time with your family, focus more on knowing and speaking their love language.
For example, if your spouse’s love language is quality time, spend regular time in meaningful conversations with him at night. If your child’s primary love language is physical touch, kiss and hug him or her frequently.
When you speak their love language, you can make them feel how much you love them. If you express your love in other languages, they won’t feel your love as much as if you expressed it in their love languages.
Communication Tips for Career Moms
11. Talk to Your Family
Your family will be able to support you better if they know where you’re at personally and professionally. Make sure you talk to your spouse and kids about how you’re doing at work and how they can help you manage your time between them and work.
12. Talk to Your Boss
Unless your boss knows your goal of being able to spend more quality time with your family, he or she won’t be able to help make your work easier or more focused. And how will he or she know if you don’t talk about it?
Tell your boss how important both family time and your career is for you. And if some parts of your work are getting in the way of family, tell him or her.
Give your boss the opportunity to help you by letting him or her know what’s up in your life. You may not get a free pass but you’ll likely get help from him or her in balancing work and family life.
Reinforcement Tips for Balancing Career and Family
13. Delegate Housework
Charity begins at home, as the saying goes. Therefore, the first place you should ask for help in balancing your career and the family is at home.
If you have nannies or helpers at home, good for you. But if you don’t, your first reinforcement when it comes to doing household chores should be your spouse.
Your next line of household work reinforcement should be your children, particularly if they’re already of age for specific chores. For example, you can ask your children to bring their plates to the sink or clean up after they eat.
If you can afford to, outsource as much household work as possible, such as house-cleaning and laundry.
14. Share the Load with Other Working Moms, Too
The concept is simple — share the childcare burden with other mom friends.
A good example is car-pooling, where you and other moms can bring your kids to school and pick them up them on alternating days or weeks. You can also share the load of preparing your kids’ meals and helping them with assignments if your kids go to the same school and attend the same classes.
15. A Trusted Childcare Service Provider
Especially if you’re a single working mom, a trusted daycare center can be your single biggest ally in balancing family and work. In particular, a top-quality center with a low teacher-kid ratio and very flexible hours can help take a huge load of your child-rearing duties during the day.
As a working mom, you shouldn’t be forced to choose between a thriving career and a beautiful family life. With practical tips like these, you can succeed in balancing work and family.
Do you have other practical and effective tips for balancing work and family life? Let us know in the comments section below.
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