If you’re a working mother and love your job, your family, and your friends, but feel like you can’t keep up with it all; the following words were written for you These are a few life-saving hacks that have helped me avoid burnout, without compromising my career, or neglecting my own needs.
Turn Your Phone OFF!
Time is precious when you’re a working parent. Make sure the time you spend with your partner and kiddos is intentional by unplugging from your phone & email at the end of the day. Be present! Give them all the attention they deserve. Admittingly, this is easier said than done, but I’ve discovered more joy in the little moments of our family life when I am completely in the present.
Plug Into Your Village
When my daughter was born, I was overwhelmed: The breastfeeding. The lack of sleep. Discovering my new body & identity as a mother. To be honest, it sent me into a downward spiral. And I only began to dig myself out of that hole when I started to connect with other new mothers who understood how I felt. In fact, a colleague of mine welcomed her first baby a week before I did, so we were literally living the same life at the same time. We leaned on each other in those first few weeks of parenthood. My spirits began to lift when she & others assured me that I wasn’t alone, that it would get better, and that I was a great mom!
And it should be no different at work. If you are lucky enough to work at a company that offers an Employee Resource Group, you could start there to identify your fellow mothers within the workplace. Use them as a sounding board, because we’ve all been there before. Help each other. Ask for support with a project when you get that dreaded, horribly inconvenient call from the daycare saying your child has thrown up everywhere and needs to be picked up.
It really does take a village.
Just Say No
Recently, we got an invite to a friend’s birthday party on a Saturday afternoon, which is typically something I would jump at. Letting the kids run wild and socializing with other adults …. sign me up! But, the party was scheduled to take place two hours from our home. And as much as I would have loved to go, I know how stressful it would be to get myself, my husband and my two-year-old up early on a Saturday morning just to spend most of the day in the car. The exhaustion would rollover into Sunday and the whole weekend would be shot. So I politely declined the invitation and offered to get together another time.
We should all be using this “no” tool a lot more often (and without any guilt) to make time for what we value most in our lives.
I need not say more. My favorite brand is definitely on the pricey side, but it’s worth every penny: Living Proof Perfect hair Day Dry Shampoo this is not an ad Here are some other options that look promising!
Rise and Shine
I’m not a morning person; and I don’t know if I ever could be. But, I know plenty of mothers who cannot function without their quiet time before the hustle & bustle of the day begins. Perhaps we should all be taking advantage of this sacred time to read a book, listen to a podcast, soak in the bath, knockout a spin class, or even just plan for the day undisturbed.
It’s easy to think we’re superhuman and we can do it all. The reality is, we just can’t. So whether it’s investing in a grocery delivery service or asking a neighbor to let your dog out when you’re on vacation, we can all use some help tackling the domestic, invisible responsibilities we have at home. No matter the makeup of your household, I believe everyone can benefit from reading Fair Play, an eye-opening book written by Eve Rodsky. This game-changing book offers a solution to easing the invisible work of domestic homelife (laundry, writing thank-you cards, doctor’s appointments, etc.), based on your family’s needs and what brings you joy.
It’s a must-read for every busy mother.
Plastic vs. Glass
Sometimes I feel like the main juggling act in the Ringling Bros.’ “Greatest Show on Earth”. Doctor’s appointments. Swim lessons. Do we have enough diapers? Has the dog been fed? A fellow mother recently explained to me that she makes an effort to constantly assess her juggling balls & identify which are plastic and which are glass.
The plastic balls can be dropped, and will be from time to time, but it’s imperative that the glass balls never fall. I love this analogy. The idea of accepting the fact that sometimes, you need to let a plastic ball fall.
Here’s to hoping you find one or two of these tips as helpful as I have in combating chaotic feelings of mom-guilt, exhaustion and burnout. Realistically, these hacks might not work for everyone, and if you find that’s the case, I encourage you to look into the various resources out there developed just for us working mothers, including (but certainly not limited to):
Pregnant at Work
An online resource center that provides educational tools for pregnant and breastfeeding employees in the workplace. If you’re a breastfeeding mother or plan to be, your employer is required to provide basic accommodations for you. Be sure you know your rights!
A go-to resource to empower women returning to work from maternity leave.
Center for Parental Leave Leadership
This team supports new parents helping to navigate the parental leave, and return, process.
Fairygodboss (a personal favorite)
Fair•y•god•boss (noun): A person who elevates women at work. I need not say more.
A communications professional dedicated to advocating for working parents so we can all maximize our potential. Yes, please.