Working mom is the job that comes with the world’s longest job description. It includes breadwinner, chef, chauffeur, doctor, teacher, psychiatrist, activity planner, maid, pet mom, personal shopper, secretary, and other duties as assigned. For a look into what it’s like being a working mom, check out this post. So how do moms manage to do it? Here are 35 tips from me and some other awesome moms in the working mom trenches. If you are a working mom trying to figure out how to not only survive but thrive, try implementing these tips.
I asked a group of awesome working moms what their top tip is for balancing it all. Here is what they had to say!
On Having a Schedule and Planning
The most common tip I received is to have a schedule and routine. Here are what a few moms had to say on scheduling.
- Mandis from Everyday Emerson said “You need to follow a schedule! Even if you think you don’t, do it, and you will see just how much you do! Otherwise, it’s like running a free for all circus.”
- Nadalie from It’s All You Boo said, “As important it is to have a schedule for daily and weekly appointments and activities, don’t forget to schedule time for you too. You need downtime, moments where you can just breath, and rest your mind and body. Think of it as self-care, me time or even mediation time. Without these moments you can’t possibly balance it all.”
- Cindy from Living for the Sunshine said, “I keep structured routines in place. Kids do better when they know what’s coming next (and so do I!), whether it’s homework, bedtime, etc. There’s less arguing and we get more accomplished in less time.”
- Tish from Babies & Fur House said, “A routine. Having a routine when I went back to work made things easier. When I have days off or weekends, we can go do things because I know when my little man will be ready to eat or when he’s ready for a nap. Having him on a routine even has him sleeping better at night!”
- Amanda from The Frugal Mom Guide said, “The secret is planning, planning and planning some more. If you want to be organized and not be pulling your hair out every morning, I suggest packing lunches and bags the night before. Set out clothes and shoes in advance. Organizing your command center is so important because it’s easy to forget things on a hectic morning when you have ‘mom brain’. Planning also involves meal planning so you know exactly what you’re making for dinner and you don’t have to scramble for ingredients every day. Also, have a calendar by your command center and make note of early pickups, appointments and extracurricular evenings. Being a working mom is so tough, but planning can make it a tad bit easier!”
- Colleen from Good Bye Anxiety, Hello Joy said, “I must schedule me time on the calendar. I write down things that I want to do like read a book, visit a bookstore, or visit with a friend. Adding it to the calendar makes it feel as important as one of my children’s sports practices or doctor’s appointments.”
- Jordan from Mom Unraveled said, “I have to set a schedule in order to achieve any kind of work/life balance. Certain times are devoted to work while other times are devoted to my family.”
- Sandra from Casa Speed said, “I live and die by my Passion Planner! I’ve used it for three years now, and it’s been a game changer. I’m a military recruiter, soccer mom, blogger…in addition to every other role women have in today’s society. Writing everything down in one place and being able to see a week at a time is how I keep everything straight. Nothing is too small, because if it doesn’t go in my planner, it doesn’t get done. Just never forget to allow for commuting time!”
- Raina from Kentuckiana Momma said, “Time blocking is my best friend. I plan out my day the night before. I know what projects I need to work on for my side businesses, what food I want to set out for the baby and discuss dinner plans with my husband. I also have a schedule for after I get home from work so that I make sure to spend time with my baby girl.”
- AK Brown said, “Create a schedule and stick to it. For example, I only record YouTube videos on Wednesdays. My daughter is old enough to where she understands my work schedule.”
- Murisa from Weekend Housewife said, “Prioritizing…make time for the things you find most important that night and go with it. Don’t try to do too many things at once or the night will get away from you and you will feel like you didn’t spend enough time with the littles. The stuff can wait; they grow up too fast.”
- Mandis from Everyday Emerson said, “You need to follow a schedule! Even if you think you don’t, do it and you will see just how much you do! Otherwise, it’s like running a free for all circus.”
- Elizabeth from Crazy Busy Happy Life said, “I couldn’t survive without my daily planner. Every weekend I sit down and plan the week ahead. I also carry it with me everywhere so that I can update it and refer to it on the go.”
- Angie at Calm for Mommy said, “I find that when I’m at work, I get my best ideas about things going on at home, and when I’m at home, I get my best ideas about things happening at work. I started carrying around a small notebook with me to both places to write down these flashes of inspiration so that I remember them when I need them. This also tends to apply to what needs to get done or is a high priority for each place. At work, I know exactly what really should happen at home. By the time I would get home, I would feel tired and unfocused and would forget what those priorities were. The solution for this is before leaving work, write down 1-3 key priorities for the evening. Things that you will be really glad to have accomplished. Then, before bed, do the same for work. Write down 1-3 key priorities for the next day that you really want to focus on. When you get into work, you’ll have your to-do list ready and be able to hit the ground running. In general, I find that writing things down helps me to ensure I remember the things I need to remember. It feels good to outsource your brain a bit by writing things down so that you’re not always scrambling to remember the details of life.”
- Nicole from Resting Mom Face said, “Schedule everything! Having a schedule of what needs to be done when and what is most important is crucial as a working mom. I plan out each week including work/blog goals, family goals, and self-care goals. I also decide what my most important task is that week. This helps me prioritize my week. Check out how I organized my week (and download my free weekly planner template) here: restingmomface.com/weekly-planner-template.”
- Jade from Mommy Matters said, “Make a schedule. Set aside blocks of time every day to be present with family. Bonus if you put away your phone. Quality over Quantity. Also, meal prep one day/week. This will free up a significant amount of time throughout the week.”
- Sarah from Garden Full of Dreams said, “My favorite tip to juggle life and save money while I am working is to plan my meals in advance, make judicious use of the slow cooker/ Instant Pot, and batch cook so I can stockpile it in the freezer.”
- Here’s my addition to all of the above: Find an app that works. I find that no matter how much I like my planner (I always have at least one I’m using), it isn’t always with me. However, my cell phone is always close by. I use Wunderlist which is a free app to make lists. I have to-do lists for my blog, my day job, and home life. I also share lists with my husband, such as a shopping list and a to-do list for while he’s home with our baby. This allows both of us to add things to the same list no matter where we are when we think of it.
For help with scheduling and planning, check out this post on how I organize my week.
On Asking for Help
No one can, or should have to, do everything on their own. These mamas describe why it’s important to get help whenever and where ever you can. Life will be easier once you start allowing others to help you out.
- Kristen from Full Time Vida said, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re feeling a little burned out after a long day, don’t feel bad for needing to take a moment for yourself. Let your partner put the kids to bed or take care of dinner (better yet, order take out! Sometimes it’s necessary). Sharing the load at home helps avoid burn out and allows you to spend a little extra time with your kiddos.”
- Sam from More for Mama said, “Asking for help! As a working mom who likes things done a certain way, it can be hard to admit that I need help, but sometimes I do. Whether it’s asking my husband, my mom or even a close friend, a little bit of help goes a long way when you’re juggling it all.”
- Jessica from A Modern Mom’s Life said, “Stop trying to do it all! As a new mom, I wanted everything to be “just so” and I stressed out if it didn’t work out that way. Now, 10 years later, I’m a pro at delegating and letting the work get done by others (especially my kids) but maybe not to my highest expectations. It’s okay to let go of that control – trust me, you’ll be happy you did!”
- Marissa from Just Simply Mom said, “Use as many helpful services as you can afford. Grocery delivery (Peapod, Shipt, Instacart), meal prep delivery (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron), cleaning services, etc.”
- Autumn from Get Fit by Autumn said, “I strongly urge all my clients (who are usually busy moms) to leverage online grocery shopping. I love picking up my groceries & shopping while I’m watching Netflix. It saves me HOURS. Plus, I don’t get stuck purchasing unhealthy, middle of the grocery store junk!!”
On Separating Work and Family
Mom guilt is a real problem, especially when you spend a large portion of your time at work. Working moms often feel guilty that they are leaving work right on time or not answering emails at home because they have a family. However, these same moms feel guilty that they spend all day at work instead of with their kids. It seems like there is no way to win. Therefore, be totally present in whatever moment you are in. These moms do a great job explaining why they focus on work at work and family at home.
- Laurie Michaelson from I Hustle for Her said, “There really is no such thing as “having it all” as a working or non-working mom. The sooner you come to accept that and determine what a “balanced” life is for you and your family the happier you will be. Making sure you establish boundaries with work and home life are also important. If you need to be there for your kids at a certain time, be there, and make it clear to your employer that it is not negotiable.”
- Huda from Ajsmommy said, “Honestly, organize everything so you’re not all over the place. When you are not working, make sure there are no distractions like phones, iPads, etc., and spend quality time with your family. Make sure to have a date night with your spouse. Also, make time for yourself; you don’t want to burn out. Take it one day at a time and don’t feel guilty that you have to work. You are trying to make your family better financially.”
On Fitting Things in Whenever You Can
Sometimes we just need more hours in the day. Unfortunately, Amazon Prime doesn’t have a working version of Hermione’s Time-Turner, so we are stuck with just 24 hours. Make the most of those 24 hours, so you have time to accomplish what is most important.
- Amber at Live Simply Better said, “Work out on your lunch break! And if you don’t work out on your lunch break, at least make it super effective. I run as many errands as possible during this precious hour. If I don’t have any errands to run, I use it as a chance to schedule a lunch date or a walk date with another mom friend. I’ve gotten my flu shot, gone to Mass, gotten forms notarized, and more during this amazing free hour!!”
- Brittni at Brittni Lee said, “My best tip is to wake up before the baby and get yourself ready for the day–if you wake up when the baby is up and don’t find the time to get dressed and look presentable, your day can automatically feel less productive.”
- I would add that multitasking can be your friend. We spend so much time every day waiting in line, waiting for a website to load, waiting to pick up the kids, waiting for dinner to cook. Use the time you spend waiting to accomplish something else. Cell phones are great for this. On your cell phone, you can learn a foreign language, check your email, read the news, read a book, review documents, catch up on social media, make travel plans, order food, and tons of other things. You decide if that waiting time is spent decompressing or being productive, but either way, make it count.
On Taking Care of Yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself because if not, you won’t be any good to anyone else.
- I want to start by saying ‘Forget perfectionism’. Perfectionism is a pipe dream in the best of cases, but one that you may have been happy chasing before you became a working mom. However, as a working mom, you will never be perfect. You have to be okay with doing the best you can and knowing that you may still mess up at all levels. Be happy with yourself if at the end of the day you did the best you could.
- Erica from I Spy Fabulous said, “Accept that some days you will balance it really well and other days you will fail at it spectacularly. Be flexible, stay positive and enjoy the ride.”
- Elizabeth from Crazy Busy Happy Life said, “The number one thing that helped me manage my kids and my work life has been exercise. I’ll be honest, there are days where I struggle to find the time to exercise. When I’m faced with that problem though, I remind myself how GOOD I will feel after I exercise, and I’m never wrong. Countless times I’ve walked out of the gym and said to myself, “I’m so happy I did that.” I find that my mind is clearer, I’m more focused, and I get more done when I regularly exercise. Plus, it helps me have more patience with my kids.”
On Mental Health
I also want to add the following tips to help with your mental health.
- Know when to take some mental health time. You can’t call in sick from being a mom, but you can skip making dinner and order pizza once in a while. Use the extra time you would have spent making dinner doing something relaxing for you.
- Don’t compare yourself to other mothers. You will always feel like you are coming up short when you are trying to measure up to all the moms you see around you. Don’t compare your bloopers to someone else’s social media highlight reel. Just do the best you can and be content with the outcome. If your family eats cereal for dinner sometimes, that’s okay.
- Learn to say no. Working moms who look like they do it all, manage that by not doing it all. If you don’t want to go on every field trip, don’t go on every field trip. Don’t say yes to things you don’t want to do just because you don’t want to disappoint. If you stretch yourself too thin, it won’t benefit anyone. Working moms already have plenty of things they have to do in a day, say no to things that are optional and you really don’t want to do anyway.
- Take a deep breath and know that you are good enough. If you have read this far, you are an awesome working mom. You obviously care about being the best mom and employee you can be. Do what you can and let the rest go. You may have days where you screw up on every level, but you will also have days where you win at every level. Take them as they come and learn to laugh instead of cry when things don’t work out.
So, there you have it straight from the horse’s mouth. Take these 35 tips to heart and go slay the working mom game! And if the day doesn’t go as planned, there is always coffee and wine to make it better.
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Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess