Working Moms: Enjoy Life More in 6 Steps
I’ve been self-employed since 2006. Before I had kids it was easy. I worked whenever I wanted. Took breaks whenever I wanted. I always had enough time to do the housework, work out, cook healthy meals, or take a walk with my husband. Those were the days.
I’ve since had three kids, expanded my business and moved from a tiny apartment to a multi-bedroom home. There’s three times the laundry, three times the bathrooms to clean, and three times the activities and doctor appointments to juggle. Not to mention my own health to maintain and marriage relationship to nurture.
Although it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, I’ve found a rhythm that works for me and allows me to manage my stress level and … sanity. Here are my tips for creating balance, peace, and productivity as a working mom.
1Let it Go
Many working moms try to do too much. They fill their calendars to the breaking point, often leaving out essentials like time to rest and eat. In order to stop the insanity, you must let some things go.
You may have to say goodbye to things that occupied your time before, even if you really loved doing them. If you’re a Type A overachiever like me, you’ve likely committed to volunteer at your kids school, make treats for the soccer team, and serve on the board of a non-profit, which are taking time away from the essentials.
It’s time to let some things go. Your worth won’t diminish. As your kids grow, you’ll be able to choose again what to focus on and what to set aside.
Businesses create systems to streamline and automate activities so they take up less time and brain power in the end. You can do this in your life and home as well. What are some things you need to do every day or every week that could be automated or at least scheduled and incorporated into a routine?
Have an electronic calendar that syncs with all the members in your household so you all know what’s going on and where people need to be.
Set auto reminders and alarms so you don’t have to rely on your brain to remember. Make sure the Zoom link, address or phone number you need is in the calendar listing so you don’t have to invest time looking it up.
Habit stack it. In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, he talks about adding a new habit or routine to an existing automatic one. For example, brushing your teeth. You brush your teeth before bed without even thinking about it. What if you used that cue to trigger another one, like laying out your clothes the night before so you don't have to think about it in the morning.
Simplify your wardrobe and have organized closets, drawers and desks so you can always find what you need. Put everything back in its place (and teach children to do the same).
Have set days and times to do things like laundry, shopping, cleaning and prepping meals. Or better yet, outsource it.
3Outsource What You Can
If you can’t automate it, consider outsourcing it. Hire a house cleaner, use a grocery delivery service, a landscaper or whatever other task you don’t necessarily need to do yourself. If you don’t have the budget to hire someone, enlist your household members, including kids, to take on the responsibility of some of the chores. Or, do what you can to shift the budget so you can get some help. It’s worth it.
4Accept “Good Enough”
As you get family members to “help,” hire someone — or even as you manage tasks yourself — learn to be OK with “good enough.” Done is better than perfect. This will free you up in so many ways. Is it more important to have perfectly folded towels in the linen closet or could you be satisfied with the job the kids did so you can spend quality time outside of wrangling chores?
You heard me. What if you worked less hours? This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get paid less. If you’re self employed, consider raising your prices and limiting the number of clients you take on. If you have a job, how could you still provide the same amount of value while working less?
Studies show employees are able to accomplish more work in less time under certain circumstances. Unless your job is strictly hourly based to perform the task, you should be getting paid based on your results, not the time it takes to get it done. If reducing hours at work isn’t possible, set strict boundaries about working after hours. Don’t take your work home with you by checking emails or taking calls at night and on the weekends.
Taking time to get outside, preferably in nature, can relieve stress, improve your mood and your physical health. Some experts claim putting your bare feet or hands in the dirt, lying on grass or swimming in a lake or the ocean can help boost your immune system, reduce pain, and improve sleep.
Walking, running, hiking or skiing in nature (with shoes on this time) is great exercise and you can do it with the whole family. You don’t need a gym membership to get your workout done. Accomplish two tasks at once by stepping out into Mother Earth with the kids for fun memories and a little cardio.
Schedule time for getting outside into your calendar and honor your commitment to take the time to restore balance and sanity in your life. It is a game changer when it comes to actually living a quality life.