Whether you are a working mom, or a stay-at-home mom, or something in between, I’m sure you have your own set of challenges that just about drive you over the edge some days. Having always been a working mom, I have a pretty good idea what some of the everyday struggles are for those of us who head out the door and come home with a pay check. So how do working moms keep from going insane?
I tried to identify the times or challenges during the day that are most likely to make me want to lock the bathroom door and have a good cry (or stand in the kitchen and have a full-on mommy tantrum). My main working mommy struggles are:
- Time – the amount of time I spend away from home, my kids, and the ability to do errands. A big part of my day is devoted to being at the office, so that leaves me with much less time for all the “home” things.
- Schedule – I have set hours I need to be at work, and they are not always ideal for kids. I have to get my kids up earlier than I would like so I can get everyone dropped off where they need to be and I sometimes get my kids to bed later than I would like because we are trying to squeeze in everything in the hours we have available.
- Guilt – I always feel like I should be a better something to someone or somewhere else more. I should be a better mom, a better employee, a better housekeeper, a better cook, at my kids’ school more, at my office more, etc. On any given day, I feel like I should be doing better in some aspect of my life.
So how do I deal with all that? Some days better than others, but here are some of my tips to keep working moms from going insane:
1. Have a routine to get the most out of your time. You know me – always harping on routines! But they truly help make my life easier. Besides helping me get the most out of my time, they decrease the frustration in our house – both mine and my kids’. We all know what to do during those stressful busy times like mornings and right after school, so there is less whining (from all of us!). Which makes the rest of the time much more pleasant, because we aren’t all frustrated with one another.
2. Streamline everyday tasks. I meal plan to make grocery shopping and meal prep much quicker and easier. Also, I will make large batches of various meals so I can either freeze portions for future meals or use the leftovers in another dish later in the week. For example, I will plan to make a family pack of chicken breasts in the crockpot, then we have the chicken for one meal, and later in the week I can make chicken quesadillas and the chicken is already prepped.
3. Teach your kids to help. My kids, who are seven and four, help clean bathrooms, put away clean dishes, and help with laundry. Not only does this teach them responsibility, but it also shows them if everyone pitches in and helps, chores take less time, and we can spend more time doing fun things together. It doesn’t take long for kids to figure out if they want you to play with them, but there are chores to do, everyone helping gets them to what they want quicker!
4. Know when to include your kids and when not to. While some things my kids can come along with me for, like walking the dog or going to get the mail, there are other things that needlessly take more time if my kids are with me. I try to not grocery shop with kids if at all possible. It usually takes me twice as long to get through the store and check out with kids as opposed to alone. And we usually are all frustrated by the end of the experience.
5. Find and trust your village. Working parents cannot do this child raising thing alone! It takes a village. Find those other parents who are willing to help each other out. I have friends who are working parents also and we carpool to and from school. They take my kiddos to school in the mornings, I pick up in the afternoons. I also have a couple friends who are “back-ups” if my kids need rides to or from school and my regular carpool parents can’t do it. And don’t worry about keeping a strict tally of who has helped with what. There have been times where someone has helped me out and I haven’t been able to do much in return. There are other times I have gladly helped someone else who wasn’t able to return the favor. In the grand scheme of life, all the kindnesses even out in the end. Just do what you can for who you can, and things usually have a way of working out.
Are you a working mama? What tips do you have to keep from going completely crazy?