Working Moms and Family Life: Practical Tips to Make It Work
Any working mother can relate to the day-to-day chaos. Even after you’ve gotten your daily routine down pat, there’s still so much work to do – and I’m talking about your home life! Catching up with the family is usually the first to go when everyone’s busy doing their own thing. How do you spend quality time together when you barely have the time?
Having it all together doesn’t just happen – you have to be proactive. Here are some easy tips for making it work:
Everyone on board! It’s time to start with a clean slate. Share your expectations with your partner and share the load. Use your individual strengths to divide and conquer.
Keep an ongoing list on the fridge or download an app like Cozi so all family members can add to the list as things run out or items are needed for school.
When you look at the week ahead, plan your errands around a doctor’s appointment or after school activity. There’s no need for additional driving if you can do it all at once.
Keep Home Fires Burning
It’s incredibly easy to put a date night or evening out with another couple on the back burner. Schedule one at least twice a month. Keeping the love tank full will keep your relationship humming and help you both feel appreciated. If you’re on a tight budget, trade sitting with another parent.
Some moms do a split-shift that works for them. For example, their workday may end around the time their kids get out of school. The lost hour at the office can be addressed at home after the kids go to bed.
Unplug and be present to hear about your kid’s day. All phones can be placed in a drawer until dinner is over. Instead of rushing through dinner, take the time to really sit and enjoy each other without the distraction of phones or TV in the background.
Designate couch time with your partner, aka 20 minutes of kid-free, “do not disturb” time, every single day. This isn’t necessarily time to discuss what’s on the agenda, but rather check in with each other. Talk about plans for the upcoming date night, personal goals and interests.
Synchronize your zzz’s and hit the sack at the same time. You’ll have more time together, whether it is to read, snuggle, or have sex.
Don’t forget to carve out a slot for personal care. Haircuts, a manicure, yoga, or a massage isn’t something that should fall into the “if I can squeeze it in” category. Self-care is essential for a happy mommy.
Catching up with the Kiddos
You know how your kids react to affection and positive encouragement. Practice doing that daily and your kids will blossom instead of fade during the week.
Don’t just celebrate birthdays. If your kid aced a test he’s been studying for or your daughter nailed a gymnastic routine, celebrate it. A special dessert or a handmade poster are not time consuming, and can really give them a positive jolt.
Family rituals are another way to connect. Friday night is homemade pizza night with pre-made crust to make it easier for you. Follow it with a movie or play a board game.
After school activities often leave you and your partner in two directions driving the kids to their practices and games. Although family dinner time just isn’t possible every night, don’t feel guilty about it! Aim for one meal a week with your kids where you’re focused on actual conversation and chewing your food – maybe it’s a really early breakfast at a 24-hour diner, or a weekly banana split.
When the school calendar arrives, add all the details to your and your partner’s calendars. You can plan around school plays and decide who will attend the parent-teacher conference. Plus, you can invite relatives to plays and recitals and get bonus extended family time.
Volunteers are in high demand at school, but taking time off work isn’t always doable, and personal days are reserved for higher priority occasions. If you can’t make the daytime opportunities, then volunteer at night for a book fair or concession stand. You can also use your work skills or personal talents to help out after hours. If you’re a whiz at creating buzz, offer to do a social media page for an event. If you have a knack for motivating people, make some calls and schedule volunteers for the school carnival.
Cultivate a core group of moms you can count on to help with school-related activities. Maybe you can take turns with field trips or carpooling and getting kids to practice.
Saturday afternoons are often a good time to make some play dates. You can get to know your child’s friends and their parents, which could become life-long relationships.
Sunday is a day of rest, but while you have your feet up binging on Netflix, plan the details for the upcoming week. Include appointments, after school activities, meal prep and special chores to be done. It may seem like a boring and daunting chore, but it will reduce conflict, unnecessary stress, and even save time to have a written plan.
How do you find time to catch up with the family as a working mom? Share your tips with us!
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