All of my working mom friends, holla if you hear me! Working outside of the home and mom-ing is a challenge!
I recently went back to work after seven years of staying at home. What a transition! I knew from talking with many working moms that going back to work would be difficult at first. The biggest warning I received was in the area of “keeping house.” For me, keeping house looks like managing meals, cleaning and organizing, laundry, activities, and relationships all at the same time. It is being a professional juggler of responsibilities that stem from the home. Thankfully, I received lots of encouragement to motivate me in my transition.
As we all know, working outside of the home certainly divides a woman’s time. I am both amazed and intrigued by working moms with an uncanny knack to balance it all. How can she work all day, prepare nutritious meals, keep a spotless space, and seemingly glow at soccer practice from her recent gym trip and date night? Here are some secrets that shape my focus in managing my home responsibilities.
Before managing my house or relationships, I must learn to manage my own expectations. The happy working moms I know get things done on their terms and they know exactly what to expect from themselves and their family.
I have always said when it comes to life, “You can have it all, but not all at the same time.” Going back to work required that I put this knowledge into practice. I know I can have a great family, awesome marriage, great career, great friendships, spotlessly styled home, time for myself, and time for others — just not at the same time. Knowing this truth helps me easily set guilt-free priorities. I can engage with others with zero comparison (why can’t I . . .) and zero judgement (how does she . . .). I can focus on what is most important to me at the time.
Managing home responsibilities is exhausting when I am exhausted. The last thing a person wants to do from working all day outside of the home is to come home and work inside the home. Yet, the family must still be fed and the clothes must be washed. Although roles vary from home to home, if possible, stay away from taking on all of the home responsibilities. Most husbands want to help, so let them! (I acknowledge this is more challenging for single moms and military moms and those caring for spouses.) Enlist the help of your children. If you are fortunate enough to have willing relatives available, engage them. If not, enlist professionals to help take the weight off. When every day feels exhausting, it is time to reset, recharge, and re-evaluate your support systems.
- Structure. Create a weekly routine and stick to it!
- 30-minute meal prep. You can limit stress by using the Crockpot, Instapot, and one pot meals. Thirty minute meals preps is plenty!
- Family calendar. Post a visible weekly or monthly family calendar consolidating everyone’s activities. This way, everyone can stay involved in what is going on (e.g., late work nights, dance practice, PTO meeting, date night, etc.) and everyone can share in the responsibility of remembering and planning.
- Get help. It’s worth it. Just sayin’ . . . .
- Less is more. The less stuff, activities, and obligations we have, the less we have to manage.
- Start eating your elephant. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Little by little, the to-do list gets done!
- Zone in. Pick a few areas to keep clean every day and try not to stress about the rest. For us, we try to be sure our living room is picked up, bathrooms are clean, kitchen counters are wiped off, and dishes are loaded every night. No matter what everything else looks like, those areas make a huge difference for me mentally.
- Car alert. Don’t let the car become a dumpster. Put a trash bag in the car and keep it moving!
- The best yes. The best yes is sometimes no. If you can’t do it, don’t feel guilty about it.
- Make time for you. Make time for yourself and time to celebrate the life you are living and creating with your family!
These are just a few things I have found to help me along the way. Above all, I have learned over time from many amazing working moms not to let the challenges overwhelm you. Rather, let them motivate you!
What are your secrets to working and keeping house? Share below!