Choosing between full-time motherhood or full-time job is almost impossible, especially if you love your job. Sure, mat leave allows pregnant women to rest for a few months and focus on motherhood. But once that’s done and it’s time to go back to work, most women are faced with a big question, "How can I do this?!" We’re not saying don’t get pregnant and just focus on work, or when pregnant, focus on motherhood. Today’s society has adopted so much in the idea of working moms that it’s not even a big deal anymore. But you won’t realize how tiring and exhausting it can be until you experience it. Instead of trying to figure out how you can create that perfect formula for work and life, acknowledge the fact that there’s no such thing. There’s no such thing as a perfectly organized work and motherhood lifestyle. It’s always a seesaw. The best you can do is find the lifestyle changes that you can do to make your daily life less cluttered and stressful.
Here are 17 ways to balance momhood and work.
17 Find A Day Care
One of the best ways to transition from maternity leave to going back to work full-time is finding a reliable day care. Depending on your work, day cares can be really helpful since they give you a few hours to yourself. Many parents think that when they decide to send their kids to day care, they’re not being full-time moms anymore. That's definitely not the case and it's not a healthy way to think. Leaving your kids in day care centers will be beneficial not only for you but also for your child. They will learn to interact with other kids his age and he won’t be so used always to having mommy around, a.k.a. independence training. You can also consider hiring a nanny to work a few hours each day. Many companies now consider flexible schedules for full-time jobs. If your company allows a flexible schedule, make the most of that and release yourself from stress.
16 Ask Your Kids How They Feel About Your Job
Knowing how your kids feel about the lifestyle you’re leading is very important. Keep in mind that while you were a career woman first before you were a mom, children still deserve the top spot of the most important things in life. Asking what they think about you working isn’t going to hurt, and more often than not, it’s a great chance for them to realize they’re allowed to speak. Their thoughts matter even when it comes to something super adult like a job. This message is super important for our kids to know. And you never know, maybe they have bright ideas too. The best thing about asking children is that they don’t lie. They don’t sugarcoat, either. Children are perhaps the most honest creatures on earth, not to mention the most precious. Sure, you want to provide all their needs, but they also need a mom. Be sure to check in with how your children are feeling about your job every now and then.
15 Get Organized
Being organized is hard, we all know that... especially if you have little ones at home who seem to love the looks of clutter. But if you want to make motherhood and career work for you, being organized is something you need to practice. It’s also wise to teach this to your kids. The mere practice of putting things back where they belong or where you got them can go a long way. You may not be able to keep your house sparkling clean the whole time but you can make it less cluttered. Organizing anything work-related is also something you should try. Study your schedules and tasks and see if there are aspects of it that you can tweak. If you’re having a not-so-important meeting, maybe you can adjust and shorten the allotted time for it. Whatever technique and organizing tricks you figure out, keep in mind that there’s no other better way to know if it works than to apply it in reality.
14 Learn To Say No Sometimes
If you’re a single mom responsible for paying all the bills (including groceries, rent, etc.), saying no to work might sound like a ridiculous idea. We all want to do the extra hours if needed. We all want to juggle 2-3 (sometimes even more) jobs just to make ends meet. And yes, sometimes this is the only choice we have: to do more than one job. But keep in mind that saying no is also a healthy choice. It doesn’t mean you’re refusing an opportunity or you’re being picky or demanding. It doesn’t mean you’re being weak either. Sometimes, a no means you are trusting yourself that you can make things work with what you have now. Children don’t stay children forever. And we need to be part of their childhood as much as we can. So if you think saying no to a promotion or another work opportunity is a bad choice, think of how your life would change if you say yes. Think of how much time you’ll have to spend working if you say yes.
13 Forget The Guilt
It’s quite typical for working moms to feel guilty on a super regular basis. They feel like they’re not being good moms because they spend so much time at work. And then there’s the feeling of not being good enough because they can’t provide all the needs of their kids or that they just don’t have the sizeable cash pool they dreamed. These are all pretty normal thoughts. But they are not healthy ones. As much as possible, steer away from feeling guilty. Being a single mom and doing all the work on your own is incredibly challenging, so go easy on yourself. If the situation calls for adjustments and living a simpler life, let your kids understand the change and don’t focus on the negative thoughts. Feeling guilty and having a pity party for yourself 24/7 won’t do you any good. Going back and thinking, "If I hadn’t been careless perhaps my kids would have a better life" is also not going to help. The most important thing is that you’re doing everything you can and you’re trying your best to make things work.
12 Include Your Kids In Your Decisions
Making all the decisions on your own can be super exhausting. Sure, you’re the mom and you know you should take responsibility for, well, everything. But if your kids are old enough to make decisions at home, even small ones, let them do it. Let them decide what’s for dinner on weekdays because kids have great taste in easy-to-cook meals. You can also let them pick their own chores and decide what time should the curfew be. These may be small things but for single moms who are trying to balance career and motherhood, small things become big things. If you’re not okay with their decisions, negotiate. And on instances when there’s something big that needs to be discussed and decided upon, don’t lock yourself in the room and drain your energy thinking. Huddle up with the kids in the living room, let them know what’s going on and consult them. Teamwork like this can go a long way.
11 Take Time For Yourself
If you tell a mother who is juggling parenthood and career to find time for herself, you’ll probably get an answer similar to, “That’s impossible.” Most of the time, when we look at how much job and chores and parenting responsibilities we have, we end up thinking there’s always too much. We think 24 hours each day just isn’t enough. And looking at all these daily responsibilities, chances are working moms would forget they also need to find time for themselves. In case you’re forgetting, you are human. You’re not a robot. And as a human, you will get tired physically, emotionally, mentally. And if you won’t give time for yourself, even just a couple of hours once a week, time will come when you’ll snap. You have no energy left and there’s still so much to do and your brain is super tired. Thus, as impossible as it may seem, there’s always a way to balance work and parenthood better by giving time for yourself.
10 Don't Compare Yourself
We love to compare, no doubt about that. But comparing yourself to other single moms or working moms (or both), it’s not going to help in any way. Chances are, you’ll end up feeling bad because other moms seem to be accomplishing a lot more than you. It would seem like they’re raising their kids better than you or they’re doing a better job than you. These toxic thoughts shouldn’t have space in your mind. While taking pride in what you do is fine, it’s not okay to compare yourself to others and say only you can do work and momhood perfectly. Only you can do both without getting tired or looking tired. There’s a fine line in being proud of what you do and simply bragging. And this kind of attitude also flourishes when you start comparing. Instead, just focus on your game. Keep your kids and yourself happy and opt for a simpler life.
9 Embrace Change
They say change is constant, and that's definitely true. Change happens without us noticing and it happens countless times in our lives. Change is good. There’s always something we can learn from the new and from the old. However, the problem is that adjusting to change isn’t always easy. There are times when change is so big we need months sometimes even years to fully adjust and adapt. To make things a little easier, don’t fight change. Don’t hate the universe for it and don’t blame the universe either if you’re having trouble adapting. Embrace the changes that happen in your personal life, in your career and in your family. And teach your kids to do the same. It’s a stressful hobby to keep on fighting change, and it’s not going to help you anyway. More often than not, once change has taken place, there’s very little we can do, if not nothing. So just embrace it to make the transition easier and smoother.
8 Don't Get Too Overwhelmed
There are countless reasons to feel overwhelmed each day. And by overwhelmed, we mean that insane feeling you feel when a lot of good things happen at the same time and you are so happy but you also have no idea which good thing to focus on first. This overwhelming feeling blurs our focus easily and sometimes, the next thing we know, we are out of focus and we have no idea where the good things went. But we’re certain it didn’t go on our side. Good things happen because you deserve them, and sometimes they happen altogether. Don’t let too much excitement blur your focus. Breathe and keep your mind still, and focus on whatever good thing gets in front of you first. Don’t look at the bigger picture that’s full of bright-colored positivity. The more you master the art of focusing in overwhelming times, the easier it would be to handle them instead of losing.
7 Find A Support System
You may be a single mom and you may be working your butt off even six days a week. But that doesn’t mean you should have no time for friends. Keep your good friends at bay and catch up with them once in a while. Build a strong tribe of fun and equally amazing people like you. Because regardless of your lifestyle, there will be days when everything feels so bad. There will be days when there’s just so much happening and you need a hand. If you have a strong social support, finding help would bee a lot easier. Friends are there for a reason and aside from having someone to complain with about the bad coffee in the office, friends are there to listen and give advice. They’re there to be your compass on days you don’t know where to go. And the best part is that good friends are usually willing to babysit.
6 Avoid Work That You Hate
This may not sound super practical but if you look at the big picture, doing a job you’re not really proud of is just going to hurt you in more ways than one. It may sound cliché but really, it’s far more exhausting than doing a job you’re happy about. Because the job you like won’t just give you paychecks, it will also give you fulfillment and you know your work is valued by others because you yourself value it. So whenever feasible, always consider a job you like. It’s understandable that we need to make sacrifices sometimes. We need to take on a position we don’t like because we have a family to feed. So consider doing side-jobs that you can be proud of. If you love to write, consider writing at night and sharing it online. Sometime in the future, it will surely grow into something that can sustain your family’s needs.
5 Get Your Kids Involved
Bringing kids at work may not sound like a good idea but it’s a wise choice. You get to work while your kids are in the breakroom or sitting at a table across from you, doing their homework. This is a great way to hang out with them too even when you’re at work and catch up on things. Bonding with your kids is very important and it’s also quite crucial. It’s the kind of activity you wouldn’t want to miss doing. Thankfully, more and more companies today are okay with this. Some companies even have rooms for toddlers and kids. They understand that sometimes, parents need to choose one between work and motherhood but it’s not always easy. Thus, they allow parents to bring kids at work. If you’re working in the creative field, having kids around would be quite beneficial too. What’s important if you get to keep an eye on them during their growing years.
4 Adjust If Necessary
In most cases, you and your family are the ones who are adjusting here. Work schedule becomes too hectic? Inform the kids so they know mom will be going home late. Being transferred to a different location? Inform the kids so you all can discuss moving. See, these are not bad ways to deal with work and motherhood but sometimes, you’ll have to think things through. You’ll have to consider letting your work do some adjusting. If your kids feel uncomfortable with you working late or with the idea of moving, perhaps it’s time to find another job or to talk to your boss about it. Keep in mind that if you think there are two solutions to a problem, more often than not, there are actually more than two. It’s just a matter of being open-minded. And of course, be flexible. We now live in an era where single moms are given the opportunity to work on irregular hours. Shifting to that may be helpful.
3 Listen To Your Gut
This modern world never fails to keep us all so preoccupied. There’s always a lot of things happening that our minds think pausing is not allowed, and our bodies need to be extra strong. But even single moms get tired. Thus, don’t wait for the moment when you feel tired and exhausted. Don’t wait for the moment when your mind refuses to function. From time to time, in occasions where you need to make a big decision, check in with your guts and that voice inside your head. Forget the rules you made and just listen. Maybe your guts have better ideas that will lessen your stress. Until you become open to the idea of taking time and thinking, rather than deciding then and there even when you’re given time to think, you’ll probably be stuck with a very chaotic life. And I’m guessing that’s not the kind of life you want for your kids.
2 Prioritize Like A Pro
Prioritizing is one insanely difficult task. It is so difficult many of us don’t even think about it. But despite how difficult it is, prioritizing is still very helpful. You’ll have to know when to sacrifice your work and when to go for the extra hours. You can’t always choose to juggle two full-time jobs while your kids are missing their mom every day. Learn to prioritize things and in this case, children are always a mother’s top priority. Thus, you’ll have to know how to make prioritization work with your career. Furthermore, perfecting the art of prioritizing is also very helpful even in daily schedule. Believe it or not, most of us have chaotic days because we don’t know how to prioritize, when in fact, we can make such days more carefree. This will take some trial and error and you will have to be a stronger person inside and out to make this work. But it sure is worth it.
1 Remind Yourself That You're Not Superhuman
Being a single mom or a parent who juggles work and kids is super tough and everyone knows that. And as much as we want to choose just one, sometimes it’s not possible. Life is demanding so we understand why some moms still have to work. But please be reminded that you’re not a superhuman. You’re a super mom to your kids and to your friends and maybe even to your colleagues, but you’re not a superhuman. Allow yourself to be tired and to rest. Accept the fact that sometimes, life can be so confusing and you just have no idea what to do. Instead of fighting it, you might as well let it flow to wherever it wants. Maybe it’ll lead you to somewhere better. Keep in mind that there will be moments when all you can do is watch as life turns into a sh*tstorm and just believe that you can do it. Of course, you can.