Is there a secret to how to balance work and kids? Or how working moms do it all?
Modern life can be so difficult for mothers in general… if you’re a stay at home mother, you’re criticized for not having a career. But if you’re a working mom, you likely hear how you’re doing a poor job because you’re not at home with your kids.
All the criticism is BS!
Don’t listen to it!
Because the honest fact is that we’re all just doing the best we can. We all want healthy, balanced lives, and honestly, “balance” looks different to each of us! (And that’s okay!)
Working Moms Balancing Work and Family
I’ve asked 8 mothers how they balance work and life to give you the best selection of advice. They did not disappoint. I hope you read all the way to the end… there is some amazing advice here for how to balance work and kids as a working mom.
9 Tips for How Real Working Moms Balance Life with Kids and Career
1. Find time each day to focus your attention 100% on your career and 100% on your kids
Dawn, Wild Simple Joy, Work-at-Home Mom
Finding balance is always going to be tough. I’m the queen of multitasking and trying to do everything at once, but honestly, there is very little time in any given day that I spend in this kind of multitasking mode and I make sure it’s appropriate. (I don’t make my toddler play independently for hours while I work!)
In order to find meaning and balance, find time each day to set aside specifically for each part of your life. When you’re working, you should focus 100% of your attention on work. When you’re with your kids, 100% of your attention should be put on your kids. I work non-stop during the kids’ naptime and also after I’m done teaching for the day before the boys get up. They get my undivided attention in the mornings after breakfast and again after their naps.
This allows me to go to bed satisfied, knowing that I was mindful and intentional in all areas of my life!
2. Set up a schedule and prioritize
Mona, Mama Bear Finance, Work-at-Home Mom
As a stay-at-home-mom, I tried to balance work/family life by setting up a schedule. It’s never easy though, as we don’t get to follow the schedule to the T. But having a sort of planning will take away the uncertainties and force you to think about the priorities for the day.
I run a blog and I made the commitment to publish every Monday. This means that I must squeeze about 10 hours throughout the week to write, proofread, and make graphics for the post. While keeping my blog running is important, I still put my family as a priority. Such is the delicate balance we have to juggle as stay-at-home-moms.
3. Work with your husband or partner to balance childcare and any needed alone time
Maria Yakimchuk, Parent on Board, Work at Home Mom, says:
I am currently a WAHM. Last year when my husband worked full time, I sent my older son to preschool and had a nanny 15 hours a week for my youngest. I used that time to work on my blog and any continuing education I had to do. The rest of the time was dedicated to taking care of kids. I worked during nap times if they ever coincided for both kids. Weekends were always no work to be able to spend more time as a family.
This year, my husband is not working, so he takes care of the younger one and allows me 2-3 hours a day during work week to work on my blog. The rest of the time we split chores and child care. I have started to dedicate about an hour after bed time, roughly twice a week to listen to continuing education courses. When I feel out of balance, I make sure to tell my husband that I need more alone time. I get to spend it however I want. I might just leave him to be with the kids for an hour after dinner and just lie down and watch a show by myself. I also do 20-30 minute yoga session most nights after kids go to bed.
4. When you stop trying to do EVERYTHING, you can do ANYTHING!
Cendu Param, Cenzerely Yours, Work-at-Home Mom
I get it, finding that balance can definitely be tough and there’s the ever growing mom guilt that you aren’t doing enough. The one piece of advice that has helped me tremendously: when you stop trying to do EVERYTHING, you can do ANYTHING. The point here is prioritizing, planning and scheduling.
You can’t do everything ALL THE TIME. Pick 2-3 things that are most important for you to get done or focus on. Allow yourself the grace to make mistakes and don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong (they will go wrong). Even if you don’t finish all the things, there is always tomorrow. If you can get help, all the better.
Me and the hubby have a divide and conquer approach. I can’t do this thing alone. We make a list together of the things we need to get done, then divide them up so we can give the other a break. – a little background on my schedule. I teach English online from home to cuties in China so I’m up at 3:45am every morning. I teach til about 8am and then work on my blog until 10 when my little guy gets up. We spend the day together and when my husband gets home around 5ish, he’ll take over to give me a break for a few hours (he’ll take care of littles dinner and bedtime routine) then we get a little time to ourselves and rinse and repeat.
5. Balance is a sliding scale, but both sides need to be represented regularly.
Julie Smeltzer, Fab Working Mom Life, Working Mom
As a full-time working mom, finding that line between family and career is not easy. Especially now that I, thankfully, work remotely. But now I’m always with my work computer and my office is right there. So it is important to set boundaries. I have to work X hours or I have to finish Y project, and then I’m signing off. I need to set similar boundaries for family. Yes I have to drive my son to preschool or pick him up at specific hours, and those are non-negotiable work-family boundary time.
On days when he is home from school, I have to teach him to play independently so I can focus on my work. Because work and family can both consume your time. Sometimes my husband has to work late, or one of us has to work on the weekend. But we always have a family dinner so we can connect and have that time together. Balance is a sliding scale, but both sides need to be represented regularly.
6. Minimize clutter, set clear boundaries, and don’t forget to delegate!
Lindsey Wood, Green Mama Life, Work-at-Home Mom
I survive working from home by planning everything, minimizing clutter and responsibilities, setting clear boundaries and expectations, work when the little ones sleep, and delegate as much as you can!
RELATED: How to Be a Minimalist Mom
7. Find Your Priorities and Stick to Them!
Stacey A. Shannon, Families with Grace, Work-at-Home Mom
My husband and I both work from home, so we are able to help each other with juggling things. We do not work together. I have my own freelance writing business and have for almost 20 years. He works in IT security. For our family, prioritizing helps us find balance. For a few years, I did very minimal work while our children were very young. When our youngest started kindergarten last year, I went back to working more full-time, but my working hours are almost always while my kids are at school. My husband’s job, which is our main income source and insurance provider, gets priority when it comes to work. After that, the kids are priority. And then my work. For our family, that’s the balance that works best.
I have also learned to prioritize my work. I work for paying clients and for myself in running a blog. While my blog does make an income, my paying clients get a higher priority. I’ve learned sometimes to let up on the pressure on myself. Otherwise, I get stressed and cranky and my family takes the brunt of that, which is the last thing I want!
I keep work stuff in the home office and put on my mom hat when I leave the office so that I switch from Work Stacey mode to Mom Stacey mode.
I feel like a failure as a mom and wife
8. Stop Multitasking and Don’t Forget to Go Outside!
Tamra Childers, Intentional Summer, Work-at-Home Mom
The biggest thing for me is to not multitask our kids. If I am spending time with the kids then that’s what I do. I’m not on the phone or checking emails. I’m focused on them and giving them my time. Then when I need to work I can do so without mum guilt. And they know when I’m done that I will focus on them. Also we play outside a lot. I get stuff done on my phone while watching them and they are happy to play independently while we are outside.
9. It Takes A Village!
Jerelyne Thomas, https://www.pinterest.com/HeyMrsJay/
The saying is so true it takes a village. Not only do I lean on my Husband, but I lean on my in-laws, parents, and siblings for date night when we can afford it, and just plain advice. Being a 9-5 employee (currently on maternity leave) I start my days planning outfits, meals, and making sure all things necessary are in each departing bag the night before. When we wake up for the day it’s like time moves by so quickly, so the extra planning is helpful. Throughout the day I plan out dinner for us, and my toddler’s lunch and snack for the following day.
Although, life of a married-mother of two sounds easy it’s actually hard when your husband and yourself work two different shifts, so setting aside time after the kids are asleep on the weekend is important. A few tips I can leave for a mom balancing a career/dream/business and her personal life is make a schedule (stick to it), plan meals ahead, take time for yourself and time for your spouse, take up family’s offer to watch the baby/babies, and most importantly be kind to yourself.
There are many different tactics women can take to help them balance their time between kids and career.
- Stop multitasking!
- Go outside!
- Minimize clutter!
- Set clear boundaries!
- Work with your partner!
- Stop trying to do EVERYTHING!
- Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes!
- Set up a schedule!
- Be intentional about your focus!
- Utilize daycare, family, and friends – it takes a village!
Like Julie said, balance is a sliding scale! Be flexible and you will be able to find the healthy balance that you desire!
Good luck on your work and family journey! Drop me a comment below and let me know how YOU balance career and your kids!