Being a mom involves a lot of time and effort into multitasking. In a minute or so you can probably find yourself doing a combination of the following: cleaning up after your kids, doing laundry, making some kind of meal for your kids or for your family, doing the dishes, trying to find another lost toy, while trying to calm a tantrum. The jobs of being a mom is never ending! So how on earth can any mom have a full time or a part time job and at the same time establish some sort of personal life on the side? For years I’ve questioned myself and other moms. Now that my oldest is at the age of 9, thinking about this question I can’t help but look back at all that I’ve done over the years. I realize that it is possible to have some sort of balance between being a mom, having a full time job, and a personal life at the same time. Here’s what I’ve learned and done over the years that I hope you’ll find useful or meaningful in your situation, as everyone has a different situation in terms of motherhood and work/personal life balance.
1. Establish daily schedules and routines for your family, while staying consistent with them. Staying consistent allows your kids to know what to expect each day. In my home our morning, afternoon, and evening routines are the same each day. This lets everyone know each other’s expectations and jobs. Here’s what morning looks like in my home: I wake up early, prepare breakfast, get the kids up, and I get ready for work. Before I leave for work I set out the kid’s clothes for the day or whatever they need to bring to school. When I’ve left for work, my husband gets our now 4 year old changed for school, reminds our 9 year old to get ready, and drops them off to school. This plan has been the same plan for 4 years now and has worked since then.
2. Give yourself the time to focus on work during work time. Have another trusted person (spouse/significant other/family member) that you can rely on to assist you with your kids when you are at work and cannot leave. Since I’m a teacher full-time, I don’t have the flexibility in my day to just leave work and pick up either of my sons if needed. Nor can I just call in sick or take a personal day to attend most of their school events or to stay home if they are ill. With that being said, enlisting support from your spouse or significant other, family members, or trusted friends or neighbors is vital to being able to juggle between work and being a parent.
3. Give yourself grace and know it’s okay to ask for help. Have you ever heard the famous saying?: “It takes a village to raise a child.” This quote has resonated to me ever since my oldest son was born. In the past, I wanted to do everything for my kids. This became a challenge to my sanity. I knew later down the line that it’s beneficial for my kids and for every child, for that matter, to receive help, support, love, and care from other people around them whom they trust. It builds their character, teaches them important life lessons, and establishes their confidence. Asking for help from others gives you the opportunity to breathe a little and to take a little break, which in the end helps you become a more effective mom.
4. Designate a few minutes for yourself each day for some self-care. Whether it be sitting in a hot bath, taking a shower, going through your skincare routine, listening to music, watching your favorite show, etc. Start with 5-10 minutes once, twice, three times a week and then work yourself up to something that you can do daily. My daily self-care routine consists of just a face washing along with a massage of my favorite face creams. I look forward to this every night and it brings me a sense of peace knowing my day is winding down.
5. Eat at least 3 meals a day that includes fruits and veggies, while keeping yourself hydrated. Being a mom requires A LOT of physical and mental energy. So it’s important to get those much needed sustenance from what you eat and drink. In the end, you’ll be more able to multi-task effectively without burning out.
6. Keep a checklist of things that you need to do during the day and during the week. By doing this you can plan out your day. You’ll also become more inclined to make it to any appointments or kid events in the day. In my home, my husband and I make sure that we set 30 minute reminders on our shared Google calendar or to do list when it comes to any of of our kid’s classes or events. This just keeps us on track with timing, especially during moments when we are immersed with work related matters.
7. Grocery shop at the beginning of the week. Make use of grocery pick-up to ease the stress of shopping since you can just wait, grab, and go! I have tried meal planning in the past. It just didn’t work for me since at times I wouldn’t be able to make what I had planned. Instead, I switched to what worked for myself and my family. This involves purchasing food ingredients that I can use to make different meals throughout the week. As an example, I’ll grab some tortillas, lettuce, meat, broccoli (a must have since my kids love this veggie), and green onions. With these ingredients we’ve got ourselves a burrito dinner or a stir fry and a side salad.
8. Plan a lunch or dinner date with your friends or significant other/spouse in advance so that you can plan out child care. Everybody needs socialization. I think this became very evident during the pandemic. Parents need time away from their kids to just regroup and to communicate and interact with other adults. Scheduling this time in advance allows you to be able to make time for yourself and your personal socialization needs.
9. Put the kids asleep at 8:30pm or 9:00pm. This gives you an hour or two after their bedtime to enjoy some “me” time or work time. Important fact: kids need 10+ hours of sleep a day depending on their age. Encouraging an early bedtime equates to more sleep time for them, which aides in their growth and development. Along with that you get to catch up on some work or personal matters.
10. Pick your battles and know that nothing is perfect. There’s always going to be so much work to do, so many stages and challenges to motherhood that you’ll experience through the years, with so many complexities in your personal life. Not to mention the things that may spring up at a moment’s notice that may be out of your control. Know that it will be okay. Get up, dust yourself off, and try again. Tomorrow is on the way and a chance for a better day.
Hopefully these ideas are helpful to you as it has been for me. Of course, everyone’s situation is different, based on several factors in our lives. You follow what’s right for you and adjust what or how as needed. How do you balance being a working mom and having a personal life at the same time? Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear what you do!