As a working mom, have you dropped the ball one too many times? Here are fifteen tips to help you balance work, life, and motherhood.
Being a working mom can feel like a juggling act as you try to manage your career, family, and personal life all at once. Some of the balls you juggle will bounce when you drop them, but others will shatter. Finding a balance between work, life, and motherhood is knowing which balls are plastic and which are glass.
With these fifteen practical tips and strategies, you can hone your juggling act. We’ll explore some of the most effective ways to balance the demands of motherhood and career so that you can enjoy a fulfilling and successful life as a working mom.
Tip 1: Set Priorities
Prioritizing tasks can help you focus on what is most important and manage your time effectively. Decide which tasks are critical (these are the glass balls) and which can be delegated, postponed, or if need be, dropped (these are the plastic). For example, you might have to trade going to your child’s sport event for a work deadline. You can make it up to your child later, perhaps with the promise of ice cream or a movie. But your boss might not be so forgiving.
And remember, don’t feel guilty for dropping a plastic ball when you have to. The life of a working mom is a precarious and delicate thing, and your juggling act is constantly in motion. There will be plenty of times when you won’t have to drop any plastic balls.
Tip 2: Schedule Regular “Me” Time
As a working mom, your day is filled with fulfilling other people’s needs, and burnout can happen too easily. So make time for yourself each day, even if it’s just a few minutes to relax and recharge. This can help you stay energized and refreshed so that you don’t accidentally drop any glass balls.
If you’ve been so busy that you’ve forgotten what “me” time looks like, read our article “Self-Care for Mom Because You Deserve a Break.”
Tip 3: Get Support
Seek support from family, friends, or a support group. It’s important to have a network of people who can help you manage your responsibilities and provide emotional support. And it’s even better if you get help before your juggling act starts falling apart. Preventative medicine is the best medicine, after all.
Tip 4: Manage Your Time Effectively
Rather than trying to do it all, use your time wisely by planning your day, setting realistic goals, and avoiding procrastination. Although this feels like an Impossible Task, it can help you stay organized and reduce stress. Plus, by knowing your limits and teaching your children to be realistic about their goals, you will open up incredible possibilities in your life and your children’s.
Tip 5: Simplify Your Life
Simplifying your life can help you manage your time and reduce stress. If you have the means, consider outsourcing tasks such as housekeeping or grocery shopping. (You can even outsource to your partner). Or if that’s not possible, try simplifying your routine to make your life more manageable. Go to the grocery store only once a week instead of whenever you need something. Cut that ten-step skincare routine down to five, or use some of your free time to meal prep with your family.
Tip 6: Take Care of Yourself
Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are important for maintaining physical and mental health. Make taking care of your health a priority.
This tip can be difficult if work and motherhood take up all of your free time. If you’re reading this and shaking your head, prioritize. Pick just one to work on. For example, you might decide that getting enough sleep is more important because you have no energy or motivation if you don’t. Or you might decide that regular exercise is a stress relief. Just start thinking about it.
Tip 7: Be Present
When you’re at work, focus on work, and when you’re at home, focus on your family. If physically getting away isn’t possible, try to set boundaries and time limits. Just avoid multitasking and be present in the moment. You don’t want to juggle more balls at once than you have to.
Tip 8: Create a Routine
Establishing a routine can help you manage your time more effectively and reduce stress. So create a schedule for your day, or even your week, including work hours, family time, and self-care. Once you get in a habit, your day will go more smoothly. You’ll have fewer decisions to make in the moment, which means fewer balls to juggle and potentially drop.
Tip 9: Set Realistic Expectations
Similar to setting realistic goals, don’t expect yourself to be perfect or do everything perfectly. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your family, and learn to let go of things that are not essential. By doing this, you’ll be able to see that what you thought were glass balls were actually plastic, and it’s okay to drop some of them.
Tip 10: Learn to Say No
It’s okay to say no to additional responsibilities that you don’t have time or energy for. You’re busy enough as it is, and sometimes you just don’t have room for more balls to juggle. By prioritizing and setting realistic goals, you’ll find that you’re able to say no to things that don’t align with your objectives.
Tip 11: Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help you stay present and focused, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being. Schedule this in with your “me” time or take small breaks throughout the day to breathe. It’s a small but effective way to take care of yourself when your schedule is full.
Tip 12: Communicate with Your Employer
Communicate with your employer about your needs as a working mom, such as flexible work hours or the ability to work from home. Although not every employer will be understanding, it won’t hurt to ask what’s available to you. Their answer will help you determine which balls are glass and which are plastic, which will make it easier to balance work and family responsibilities more effectively.
Tip 13: Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are many apps and tools available that can help you manage your time, stay organized, and reduce stress. There are even tools to help you stay connected with your family or work when you’re away. Find tools that work for you and use them to your advantage.
Tip 14: Make Time for Family
We’ve talked about making time for self-care, work, and all the tasks you need to accomplish as a mother. But with a busy schedule, it can be easy to miss out on quality time with your family. Set aside specific times each week for family activities, and make it a priority to be fully present and engaged. One fun activity can easily make up for a ball you had to drop earlier in the week.
Tip 15: Celebrate Small Wins
Enjoying and loving a working mom’s life is all about taking care of your mental health. Recognize and celebrate the small wins in your day, such as completing a task or spending quality time with your family. Celebrating these small successes can help you stay motivated and positive.
There Is No Perfect Balance
Like I said before, a working mom’s life is constantly in motion. There is no perfect balance, and when things get off-kilter, it’s okay to ask for help. Using these tips when you need them, paying attention to your mental health, and prioritizing the tasks you’re juggling will help you achieve a better balance between work and motherhood. And that’s enough.
For more ways to avoid parenting burnout, read our article “7 Tips for Managing Parenting Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout.”
Books for a Better Work-Life Balance
- A New Way for Mothers
- Here Be Dragons
- CALM for Moms
- Untying Parent Anxiety
- Stressed Out! For Parents
Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.