With only 24 hours each day, it seems impossible to squeeze everything in and fulfill the responsibilities of a wife, mom, and career woman. As a result, full-time working moms feel stressed and guilty for their divided attention between family and work. The key to a work-home balance is to plan and organize, which everyone knows, is better said than done. Fortunately, you can learn and practice effective time management skills.
Read on for some tips on how to become more efficient in your multiple roles.
Focus on the benefits, not on the drawbacks. Instead of pouring your energy on worry and guilt if you can’t be with your child all the time, think about how your career can help your family. Consider for example, how you can save money for your kids’ education. Being a successful working mom is about coming to terms with your choices. It’s also about focusing on the priorities that you have right now. Admittedly, there will be ups and downs, but always remember that you are not alone.
Get hold of reputable childcare. This is to eliminate feelings of worry over your child while you’re away. Here’s what to do.
- Try asking your family and friends for references to a reputable daycare center or babysitter.
- Make a checklist of the traits or qualifications you want.
- Schedule a time for interviewing the candidate caregivers or to look around daycare centers near you.
- If you plan to hire a nanny, find someone who has had long-term working relationships with families. This is a sign of commitment to their work, great experience and flexibility to caring for kids of varying ages.
- Consider scheduling a paid playdate with your shortlisted candidates. This will allow you to evaluate how the caregiver will interact with your child.
- If you plan to use a daycare facility, ensure that you look for one that has:
- flexible hours
- updated license to operate
- outdoor space
- adequate number of teachers
- employees that are background-checked
Start the day on a calm note. To avoid rushing everyone and starting the family’s day with a drained feeling, organize your things the night before. Doing all these routine tasks ahead of time should let you enjoy a few minutes of a peaceful breakfast with the family.
- Lay out your kids’, your husband’s, and your own clothes.
- Pack your lunches.
- Plan what to have for breakfast.
- Have the diaper bags, purses, work bags, backpacks, and keys ready by the door.
- Check the next day’s schedules and decide which parent buys the needed groceries, dresses the kids, or cooks meals.
Make a family calendar and stay organized. This step will allow you and the family to evaluate your priorities. This will contain birthdays, family and school events, bill due dates, and the kids’ list of chores, to name some. Whether you use an app or an old-fashioned paper and pen calendar, the main objective here is to be always prepared.
Here are some tips to help you maximize the use of your calendar.
- Spend at least 15 minutes every Sunday to look over and get ready for the week’s schedule to avoid any surprises along the way.
- Share your calendar with the nanny or babysitter so that everybody knows what to expect.
Organization doesn’t only apply to your family’s activities. Your home should remain clean and efficient. One way to do this is to designate a spot near the entranceway, where you can place your keys, important documents and keys, some cash, batteries, and chargers. You can also designate other spots at home to save you time and ensure efficiency around the house.
Stay connected with your children. Here are some ideas to do this.
- If you have a younger child, think about recording yourself singing or talking or record yourself reading the kid’s favorite book.
- If you can’t come to or will be late for an older kid’s event, consider giving him something special before you leave in the morning. Also, don’t forget to find options to film the event so you can view it later. This way somehow, you don’t miss a moment.
- Hang pictures of your partner and yourself so the children can see your faces.
- Call your kids during your break time. Not only will it brighten up your day, but your child will also feel comforted that you’re just around.
Stay away from distractions. To ensure productivity during work time, and to maximize your time with your family, avoid unnecessary activities.
- Avoid wasting time at work through casual internet surfing, pointless email exchanges, long lunches, and gossiping. Although you want to establish a good relationship with your co-workers, limit the chit-chat to break times and lunch.
- Set time limits for activities such as making phone calls or checking your email and follow these limits.
- Schedule watching television to only once a week to take full advantage of the time with your partner at night.
- Avoid multitasking, especially when you are around the kids.
Set special family times. Spending time with your kids is vital as it fosters the family dynamic and enables everyone to bond. If you don’t have a lot of time, a simple family dinner or family night with movies or games will do. Ensure that you set activities that will regularly fit everyone’s schedule so that the family will have something to look forward to. While you’re spending time with the family, avoid checking your phone or talking about work. Concentrate instead on your children’s interests.
Spend time with your spouse. Usually, when you’re busy with work and kids, the first person to feel neglected is your spouse. But nurturing your relationship will maintain the “fire” and excitement.
- Ensure that you maintain a healthy relationship with your partner by going out on a date at least once a month to feel invigorated and simply relish each other’s company.
- If you think going out on dates are expensive, consider having a date night at home by making a special meal together or just sitting together, sipping wine and talking. However, avoid talking about the kids or your work during your special moments together.
Have some “me” time. These special moments will let you refresh and pamper yourself. Managing your energy well will help make you a better spouse, parent, or worker. So, take time to spend some time for relaxation. Schedule a spa day, have a bubble bath once a week or read a book. Always find time to exercise, eat well, and have enough sleep.
Talk to your employer. If you need to set a flexible schedule with your employer, ensure that you learn about other employees’ arrangements that you can use to your advantage. Have a written plan specifying what you need and be ready for alternative solutions.
Effectively managing time is a challenge that most working moms face. But with the help of your partner, a trustworthy child caregiver, friends, and family, you don’t have to add more hours to your day just to fulfill all your responsibilities. With some foresight, organization, and wise time management skills, you can play all your roles right.