Working mothers can have it all – find out how.
The hardest thing for working mothers is trying to find a work-life balance between trying to be the best mother, partner and employee. No one said it was going to be easy but some days, it can seem near to impossible. In the movie ‘I don’t know how she does it’ with Sarah Jessica Parker, even Hollywood has recognised the daily frustrations that mothers in the workforce encounter. But here are seven tips to help you find equilibrium.
The key to balancing work and a family is organisation. It’s important for children to have a routine and schedule they can stick to. If you can get up at least half an hour before everyone else in the family, you will be able to collect your thoughts and get more organised before the children wake up and chaos ensues. You can use this time to get dressed, have a quiet cup of coffee or do some exercise.
Prepare your clothes the night before
You know what mishaps might happen in the morning so save yourself extra time and prepare your clothes the night before. Working mum Victoria Beckham says in her fashion bible ‘That extra half an inch’ as a mother of three (now four) that she’s always rushing in the mornings so she often works out her outfits the day before. She may have the help of a stylist to help her but it’s a tip that can apply to all working mothers.
Get lunches and meals ready the night before
As per your work outfits, you can also get lunches and your meals ready the night before and just insert them into the children’s lunch boxes before they leave. This will save you a lot of preparation time in making lunches in the morning. Clothes for the children can also be put out the night before as well as anything else they may need such as a sport’s kit or library bag. Showers and baths can be taken the night before as well to save time.
Find reliable childcare
Finding reliable childcare is a major obstacle for working mothers. In some areas, there are waiting lists for childcare facilities. Ask your friends, families and colleagues for recommendations. The best choice for childcare is a trusted relative or neighbour but that is not always an alternative. Other options may include sharing the cost of a nanny or sharing child minding with another working mum who works a different shift to you.
Learn to delegate
Every mother has their own views on their children helping out with the housework but as they say, many hands make light work. It is never too early to start getting the kids involved in helping around the house. If you can afford to; outsource jobs you don’t have time for or you don’t like such as cleaning, ironing and doing the garden. You could even team up with other working mothers and swap the tasks you don’t like doing.
Make friends with technology
Instead of driving to the supermarket, paying for petrol and possibly parking and waiting in queues, why not shop for groceries online? Some online stores even let you save your shopping list so you don’t have to start a new one each and every time. As much as possible, save time and money by shopping online. The money you pay in delivery may be worth it in convenience and the time you save can spent doing other essential tasks.
Speak to your boss about a work-life balance
By being a working mother, you are admittedly missing out on those special milestones such as seeing your children at the school swimming carnival or attending awards days. Speak to your boss in advance about taking time off and whether you can make up the hours after work. If you have a job that isn’t customer or client-facing, you may be able to negotiate working from home a few days a week. This will give you more flexibility.
Admittedly there is still a lot of work needed to be done to create family-friendly workplaces and more flexible workplaces where parents feel supported. Being a mother while holding down a full or part time job can be a struggle but it can also be very rewarding. With a little help from your family and your boss and a little realism thrown in, working mothers can achieve a work-life balance.