Being a working mom means trying to juggle what feels like a million responsibilities on top of battling mom guilt for trying to be around and present as much as possible. Trying to coordinate school schedules and play dates on top of important meetings and work projects all while trying to exercise and “take time for yourself” all seems… well, impossible.
Ever since I had my daughter, I’ve been a working mom, and I know that it’s important to show all kids what working hard and being successful looks like. Since I’m also an entrepreneur, my endless brain activity means that it’s sometimes hard to shut off and focus while I’m at home. As such, some days it feels impossible to fit everything in that I need to get done all while trying to be present and focused and there for my child. While I don’t always get it right, here are my 7 tips that have helped me manage my time as a working mom.
1. Wake up Early
A chaotic morning leads to a chaotic day, and there is nothing I hate more than starting off my day feeling rushed and overwhelmed already. Wake up earlier than you think you might have to and set a routine — for me, I like to enjoy the peace and quiet while drinking a coffee, which gives me time to reflect and pray before I start my day. Once you establish your routine (whatever works for you), that little bit of extra time in the morning will have you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
2. Make Plans & Use Lists
How do you expect to remember anything or get it done if it’s not planned for AND written down? The short answer is you can’t, so don’t expect to utilize your time well if you don’t make a plan and use a list. This goes for the bigger things like your kids’ recitals or work meetings, but also for the smaller things like nail appointments and the gym. If you schedule these things into your day, the chance that you will cancel or that something will slip through the cracks dramatically decreases.
3. Ask for Help
For some reason, this is such a taboo concept in our society, but sometimes it’s necessary. We can’t do it alone, and it’s okay to accept and acknowledge this fact and say those dreaded words. When you get too overwhelmed, just ask your partner, babysitter, or even your kids themselves for help. Taking care of a house and creating a life take a lot of work, and there is no shame in everyone pitching in to make things run more smoothly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
4. Limit Wasted Time
In today’s digital age, too many of us waste countless hours scrolling social media or watching videos without any real idea of how long we have been tapped in. However, if you’re constantly enthralled by your smartphone, you’re likely not present in the current moment and could possibly be missing something important. Sometimes, kids even ask you to put your phone down and pay more attention to them. Use that as a sign to put your phone away and connect with the present moment. It will benefit both your business and your family in the long run.
What are your biggest priorities? Order your responsibilities and tasks by their level of importance to you in order to figure out how to effectively manage your time. If picking/dropping of your kid is important but so is making time for certain business meetings, then those things should take priority while other tasks can be scheduled around those main things. Now if you aren’t prioritizing the things that are the most important to you, it’s time to make some changes.
6. Practice Self-Care
You can’t pour from an empty cup, which means you can’t give effectively to your family or your business if you don’t take time for yourself. Self-care is an important aspect of time management (aka you have to make time for it) — but despite your best efforts, sometimes work projects or sick kids keep you up at night. Instead of making a hectic schedule with minimal sleep your day-to-day reality, learn to schedule time in your day for just you. Whether it be dedicating 1 hour a day to the gym or yoga, or finding time to meditate or sit down and read a book, there are simple things you can do to take care of your mind and body. If you want to be more productive and better at time management, then you have to make time for the activities that make you feel more like “you.”
7. Say ‘No’ to Guilt
As a mom I get it, it’s almost impossible to not feel some type of guilt. But truly, there is nothing more harmful to you and your productivity by getting bogged down with mom guilt. It’s okay to be a working mom, and you should give yourself permission to have goals and dreams and be able to pursue them. You will be a better mother for going after what you love. On the other hand, it’s okay if staying home with your kids and being a PTA mom is what makes you happiest. Ultimately, you will be the best mom to your kids when you are happy and doing what you love, because that gets reflected back to them. Don’t let anyone (not a friend, fellow mother, cousin, mother in law, or social media troll) try to tell you what’s best for your kids.
Utilize these tips and do more with less time. By organizing and making time for what’s important, you will master your life both at home and at work. And never forget, you can do it!