I could probably write 1,000 posts on being a working mom. When I look back to my first child, I realize that I had no idea what was in store for me. I was younger, working hard for a successful career in corporate America, and had no idea that I would end up with four kids. Just having one and working seemed impossible on most days. I was full of anxiety and trying to juggle it all.
Now, we have four kids, and I have a successful career and blog. I’m still not sure how I manage on most days, but somehow it got a bit easier along the way. I will say I also have a stay-at-home husband, and that helps tremendously. I’m sure our lives would be a lot different if we both were working. But I am proof that you can have kids, a career, and happiness all at the same time.
When you’re a working mom, you tend to live in the chaos. I mean being a mom in general is pretty challenging some days. When you start mixing in work, you are getting pulled in so many directions. Anxiety, worry, brain fog, and very little “me” time can quickly become your norm. You don’t want that to happen.
Here are my top tips for surviving the chaos of being a working mom. I know these things have truly helped me along the way, and I really believe they contributed to making it “easier” as the years went on.
1. Use a Weekly Planner
I know, this seems simple for most. However, sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the never-ending list of to dos. You can forget to truly “plan” or write things down. Take time to have a planner and use it. There are so many options available. I personally still use an actual paper planner, but there are many apps available now too.
Write everything down. From doctor’s appointments to sports practices, and everything in between. I even write birthdays and other key celebrations in my planner. If I don’t write it down, I’m 80% likely to forget it.
2. Practice Weekly Meal Planning
This is something that I started after having multiple kids, and it really helps me in so many ways. It helps plan the groceries for the week, reduce food waste, and alleviates the question of what’s for dinner. Now everyone knows to just go check the menu on the fridge and I know what needs to be cooked for dinner, without thinking too much about it.
Here is a link to the magnetic weekly menu planner that I use. It’s an amazing thing in our house and I highly recommend it to everyone.
3. Put Strong Routines in Place
Having routines that work is so important. I know some people live by the just wing it motto, but I firmly believe in a good schedule. Kids thrive when they know what is happening and they have a good routine in place. You should put morning and evening routines in place that work for your family. They can reduce stress, ease frustrations, and help with anxiety.
Make sure to check out my post on morning routines and how to create more good mornings in your home. It took me a lot of bad mornings to finally get to a routine that works.
4. Use Delivery or Pick Up Services
I know this one is a fairly new concept, but for me it has been a life saver. I used to hate going grocery shopping, and with kids it gave me so much anxiety. I know sometimes pick up or delivery can come with a fee or expense, but I have found great ways to save without ever stepping foot in a store. Sometimes you save by simply not going in the store and seeing all the “stuff”.
Most of all, it saves you time. As a working mom, time can be hard to come by. That two hours a week can be reduced and spent on something more meaningful. I have also found that picking up my groceries gives me a little me time. I have actually started blog posts while waiting for them to load my car.
There are so many delivery services that you can work into your weekly or monthly schedule too. Like snack boxes from Thrive, basic needs from Amazon subscriptions, or even local laundry pick-up and delivery (yes, that’s a thing).
5. Take Time for Yourself
Please know that you cannot take care of anyone or be efficient at your work, if you are not taking care of yourself. It is not selfish or wrong to take time for yourself. It took me many years to realize this. As a working mom, burnout can sneak up on you quickly.
Taking time for yourself does not have to be something huge. It can be something as simple as taking a bath or scrolling social media while waiting in the carpool line. You have to find something each day that can bring you a little bit of personal joy and reduce your stress. Be sure to read my post with tips to help you take care of your “mom” self.
6. Ask for Help
This can be one of the best, but hardest, things to do. For many years, I was stubborn and refused to tell anyone when I needed help. To this day, we have never had a babysitter, outside of family, for our kids. Accepting help is a hard thing for me to do. If you also struggle with this, hear me out.
It’s okay to need help. That is where the saying “it takes a village” comes from. You cannot do it all and be everything to everyone without help along the way. When you are a working mom, you just are so used to feeling like you are doing it “all”. You don’t realize that a little help will go a long way.
So, if you are tired, having a hard day, about to break down, missing an ingredient for dinner, or need some Tylenol to ease a fever, don’t be afraid to ask for help from those around you. Other parents get it, friends are friends, and it really does take a village.
These are just a few of the things that you can do to calm the chaos of being a working mom. I hope that it has given you some inspiration to take back to your everyday life and improve your success as a working mom. It’s not easy but you can do it and enjoy it.
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many