Gone are the days when women were forced by the men-driven society to stay at home, do the household chores, and take care of the kids while husbands go to work. Today, we see different generations of empowered career women who can balance their work obligations and family time. We also see several independent single moms who work a little extra to make ends meet.
However, it’s never an easy feat. Balancing work and family life takes some impressive time management skills, courage, and commitment.
If you’re a working mom, here are 9 tips for giving your finest at work while providing the best for your children.
1. Don’t let the “mom guilt” discourage you
Working moms are often criticized for “abandoning” their kids, saying that they’re not giving their children the parental guidance they need. You know what? Just let them go. Instead of focusing on that guilt (or rather, that “stereotype”), think about how your role in the company is contributing to your family.
Being a working mom is a choice that should be admired, not shamed. If you don’t work, perhaps you cannot afford certain educational opportunities for your kids or you won’t be able to put away savings for the future. Be confident that you’re making the best choice for your family.
2. Have open communication with your management
Let’s get real: mothers are often the primary parent when a child is sick or when there are kid-related appointments and emergencies. But let’s also acknowledge the fact that working moms are some of the most diligent employees out there. As much as possible, they don’t want these issues to interfere with work so they tend to skip lunch breaks or work during the weekends.
With this, you’ll likely need more flexibility in your schedules. That doesn’t mean you’ll be a less productive employee, but keeping open communication with your supervisor about these changes is vital. Make sure your HR services or manager know what your needs are and how you’ll continue to do your job well.
3. Use time-saving tricks
Great time management skills are imperative when you’re a career mom. To get the most done in just a small amount of time, you must plan strategically. Here are some time-saving hacks:
- Order groceries online. Use curbside pick-up or have them delivered to your home.
- Free up more time by scheduling conference calls and meetings during your commute.
- Prepare outfits and kid’s meals at night so you can enjoy your mornings instead of rushing.
- Use family calendars and apps to keep things organized. Include dates when bills are due, kid’s chore chart, and important dates to remember.
- Use calendars, apps, and planners for work duties.
- Reduce distractions and time-wasters. Limit long lunch breaks, if socializing with your co-worker’s mess with your productivity.
4. Seek childcare
If your kids go to school during the day, caring for them while you’re away won’t be a huge concern. But what if they’re too young for school? Ask your network of friends and relatives if they know a trustworthy daycare or nanny, who can look after your child when you’re at work.
- Daycare: Daycare centers should have flexible hours, a low teacher-child ratio, and a spacious, clean, and comfortable environment.
- Nanny: For nannies, look for people with extensive experience and references. Make all of your expectations clear. If possible, ask for updates throughout the day. You may also install security cameras to review their daily activities.
5. Outsource household chores
Household chores, from cooking to laundering, are time-consuming. They can easily steal time that should’ve been spent on family time, tutoring kids, and working. You can save more time by hiring housekeepers who can do the chores for you while you do the things that truly matter. You can also invest in state-of-the-art appliances that’ll get the job done in just a few taps.
6. Share the housework with kids
If your kids are big enough to do the household chores, involve them in the process to minimize your physical and mental workload. Even children as young as 2 and 3 years old can have an active role in the house through folding towels, picking up toys, and wipe flat surfaces with a cloth. Engaging them in these tasks also allow them to build good habits early on.
7. Unplug from technology when at home
Time is a precious commodity for working moms. When at home, be mindful of the time you put on your phone or TV, unless you’re doing so for family time. Focus on your partner and children, and on spending meaningful moments with them.
If possible, avoid bringing work obligations at home. Turn off your e-mail notifications and make it clear that you don’t want to accommodate any work-related issue during your day-off.
8. Make your “family time” a priority
Reconnect with your partner from time to time by scheduling date nights or using vacation leave credits for a romantic trip. Schedule a family getaway every month. If you don’t have a budget for out-of-town vacations, make your Sunday family day worthwhile by eating out, organizing a family game night or movie night,
Make the time you spend with your family truly count by engaging in activities everyone will enjoy.
9. Learn to say “no”
You don’t have to say yes to every party invitation, every work opportunity, and every extracurricular activity if it’s going to cause you more anxiety. Determine how much your schedule can take and carefully select the ones you’re going to accept. Don’t feel bad about refusing what you can’t take on your plate. Rest and having “me time” are important too.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a creative writer for HR Dept Australia, a provider of affordable and pragmatic HR services and employment law advice in Australia. Writing about helpful career management solutions for both employees and employers is her cup of tea.