Surviving As A Working Mom

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Let me preface this by first saying, there was a time when I would have been the absolute WORST person to be writing something like this. Truly. Being a full-time working mother is one of the biggest challenges I could have ever imagined, and I surely never gave my mom enough credit for the sacrifice and hard work that she put in to make sure that my sister and I were well cared for. My first year working was pretty much a nightmare; however, I was recently talking to one of my friends that is pondering going back to work, and through this conversation I realized just how far I have come. {There is still A LOT of room for improvement.} Being a working mom is never going to be easy, but, there are some things that you can do that can make your quality of life exponentially better…

Stick to a Schedule During the Week ::

Most likely you already have a bedtime schedule and routine, but what dictates how you use your time in the afternoons/early evenings once you are off work? My daughter gets dropped off at preschool between 6:30 and 6:45am daily, which makes for a VERY early wake-up, and in turn, an equally early bedtime, and in terms of hours spent together, there are precious few. Because of this, I’ve made afternoons pretty much off-limits. If any errands need to be run, or if there are any other pressing issues on our afternoon agenda, they MUST be taken care of within an hour of pick-up, or beforehand if possible. The afternoons are ours to spend reading, playing, doing crafts, anything that constitutes quality time, and where Caroline has my undivided attention. I look forward to this time every day, and it really makes me manage my time much more thoughtfully.

Don’t Overload Your Weekends ::

There is always temptation to fill our weekends with tons of events, activities, etc. to make up for lack of time spent together during the week; however, it’s just. too. much. I try to limit our weekends to one outing — the zoo, the pumpkin patch, OR the museum…NOT all three! A long, eventful weekend makes for an exhausting week, so if I can help it {which, sometimes you just can’t}, we have fun and don’t overdo it. Most of our weekend time is spent hanging out as a family, playing at the neighborhood park, coloring with sidewalk chalk, or just snuggling up on the couch and watching a movie.

Maintain Friendships ::

As a working mom, you don’t have the luxury of lunch dates during the week or nap time to make phone calls to catch up with friends. In fact, being a working mom can be pretty lonely if you don’t make your friendships a priority. Work friends are fantastic and can definitely become some of your best friends, but to be able to fully leave work at work, we really must keep our outside friendships alive. Something that I look forward to every week is a standing Scandal date I have with one of my wonderful friends. It’s something that I look forward to all week long, and for a small slice of time, I get to gossip with her about Jake and Olivia’s relationship, eat snacks without guilt, and forget about all of my other commitments. Even if I’m completely worn out from the day and my house is a disaster, it doesn’t matter. And for that, this time is invaluable and re-energizing.

It’s Okay to Say No ::

Set your limits. If you haven’t noticed this yet, balancing work and motherhood is about just that — balance. And knowing when to say “no” is something that you must learn to do. You can’t do it all. I mean, I guess you could, but doing so is far more detrimental than just stopping yourself from being stretched too thin. Pinterest perfect treats for your child’s school birthday are awesome, but so are store bought cupcakes. This has been an ESPECIALLY hard lesson for me to learn. I am the queen of over-doing everything, and sometimes I just have to say enough is enough. No, I can’t be the room mom, hold down a full-time job, make a nutritionally balanced meal each and every night, and be a perfect wife…no, but I can make sure my daughter always feels loved, and isn’t that what we are all striving for in the first place?

STOP the comparison/mommy wars ::

Hey you! Yes, you! Stop! Stop comparing what you do to what someone else does. You will NEVER be content if you’re always comparing. Never. Everyone is fighting their own battle. People do a really good job of presenting only the “good” or the “pretty” on social media…trips to the zoo in the middle of the week, doing art projects while eating breakfast…and if you’re a working mom, those things are few and far between — and for some, they may never happen. BUT that doesn’t mean that stay at home moms don’t have their fair share of struggles. They are just different struggles. You may be up to your eyeballs with paperwork, but your stay at home counterpart may feel exactly the same way about the number of diapers she’s had to change. The sooner we are able to stop comparing our lives to those of others, the sooner we will find contentment with regard to our personal situations {and this isn’t just true with working moms v. stay at home moms…it goes for pretty much everything!}.

Lastly, as hard as balancing work and motherhood is on us, our kids really know no difference, so please, please don’t worry about the time they are spending at daycare — most likely, they are having a great time, playing with their friends, doing art projects, reading books, and developing skills to become lifelong learners. Make the moments you have together count, and just know that a lack of time spent together should never translate into a lack of feeling loved. Your hard work, your determination, your kisses at bedtime, and stolen snuggles in the middle of the night all let your child know that they are loved, they are safe, and they are cared for. Stop being so hard on yourself, mama. You are doing a GREAT job.

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6 Responses to Surviving As A Working Mom

  1. Chelsea
    Chelsea November 7, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Excellent post Amy! I’m sitting here nodding to everything and trying to make your advice stick in my head, especially not overcommitting the weekend. You are so right that as a working mom we feel like we have to make up for all of the “must-have” activities we missed out that week all in one weekend and it never ends well. That is a lesson I’m still learning so thank you for mentioning that. Saying No is something I still need to work on too so thanks for that reminder as well.

  2. Mandy November 7, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Great post and I identify with it 100%! All working mommies need this reminder!

  3. Sharon June 23, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    Great advice! I’m a first time mom that will be returning to work in a few weeks from maternity leave and this definitely helps!

  4. Blair July 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    Thanks for your awesome outlook on life and making me reflect on how lucky I am to have my job, my loving husband and my beautiful healthy kids and how I need to focus on just that and not on what I don’t have.

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