25 Tips for Working Moms

Once I went to a conference, and I gave my elevator pitch to this guy beside me in the buffet line:

 

“Since married women statistically perform 85% of domestic and childcare responsibilities even when they work outside the home, I help women create and maintain realistic routines for organization and stress management.”

I took a breath and reached into my pocket for the stack of business cards I just knew he’d ask for.  Unfortunately, he didn’t ask.

He blithely replied, “Yeah, I’m not buying it.  What about single dads who tackle 100% of the responsibilities?”

Ouch.

After spending several more hours with this guy, I grew to really like him.  He had a moving backstory about being a single dad, and we still keep up, to this day.

What the encounter taught me is this:

Whether you’re a working mom, a working dad, a stay-at-home mom or a single parent — The struggle is real.

I’ll admit that while I’m really great at organizing certain aspects of my life, I need a lot of work in other areas.  For example, meal planning.  It’s a struggle for me and I often put off trips to the grocery store because I hate it so much.  So what happens after a few days?  My fridge is bare and meal planning really gets hard.

Do you feel me?

So, to that end, I reached out to some amazing bloggers for tips on organizing all the chaos that comes with being a working mama.  Instead of a bunch of little Pinterest links about the best way to fold a t-shirt, these ladies really stepped up to the plate!

The common denominator was the need to strategize our roles as working moms because there’s always going to be way too much to do.

I think you’re going to love this list!

1.   Schedule in time for self-care like you would any other appointment or important meeting.  Put it on your cell phone calendar, set a reminder and actually SHOW up for your appointment for yourself.  The act of scheduling a thing demonstrates that that activity is a priority. And of course your health and well-being is your number one priority.”

Keya F. Williams, MS, RYT  |  Psychologist & Yoga Lifestyle Consultant | www.Nourished-Motherhood.com

2.  “What gets scheduled gets done is a phrase I repeat often to my private coaching clients. In practice, this means that ALL the little tasks swimming around in our heads need to make a soft landing somewhere on our calendars. From writing the big presentation to filling out the field trip permission slip, from updating your will with an attorney to booking a hotel for your next trip, every blessed thing takes time! While you may be used to keeping it all in your head, the act of putting pen to paper or using an app to transfer each task from its spot on your running to do list to its very own block of time on your calendar makes all the difference. It helps you set realistic expectations for what you can accomplish each day and most importantly, it ensures that each task will actually get done!

Cherylanne Skolnicki, Life Design Coach |  cherylanneskolnicki.com

3.  Be intentional about your focus – if all you see is the negative, that is what will appear as your reality. Your thoughts become your reality, and you attract more of the same.  In yoga, we start every class with setting our intention – a word, mantra, idea of focus that we aspire to and think about during our practice.  I think every morning you have the ability to set the intention for the day.  Put up inspirational quotes, specific music, etc that are visual and audio reminders throughout the day to stay true to what is most important to you.

Ashley Logsdon | www.MamaSaysNamaste.com | InstaGram: @NamasteMamaRose

4.  I love making lists as it helps my jumbled mind stay organized.  So writing them out helps me to clear my head and get it out on paper so I don’t forget it.  But then – I focus on just ONE thing.  Pull the highest priority item, and do it completely.  Focus with gusto and block off time just for it.  Time-blocking can be a game-changer for accomplishing things throughout the day.  Instead of hopping from Facebook to email to phone calls to meetings, block off time and shut off all other distractions to really stay focused.

Ashley Logsdon | www.MamaSaysNamaste.com | InstaGram: @NamasteMamaRose

5.  I love “bookending” our days.  Every night, we go ahead and get the water ready to boil, fill the french press, set out stuff for oatmeal or whatever we plan on having for breakfast in the morning (that doesn’t need to be refrigerated), and set out clothes, etc.   We discuss what’s on the schedule for the next day so we are on the same page for how the morning will go and who is going to focus on what (kids, work, breakfast, getting ourselves ready, etc).   Just having this stuff handled the night before makes mornings SO much easier.  We don’t wake up reacting to everything, demanding children, and stress/craziness trying to get out the door.  We get up before the kids, take time for ourselves, and are ready to greet the day.

Ashley Logsdon  |  www.MamaSaysNamaste.com | InstaGram: @NamasteMamaRose

6.  Find what motivates you most.  Different personality styles respond to different things – exercise, reading a book, taking a nap, going out with friends…find what fills your cup, and block it into your schedule with the same priority as that critical work meeting.  This isn’t a once a month thing.  For some, you need a daily recharger.  For others a few times a week or once a week.  But make sure you do not have a week go by where you haven’t done anything for yourself.  Take a bath.  Take a 15 minute walk outside by yourself with no distractions at all.  Soak in the silence.  Even ten minutes a day can be an incredible recharger and way to not forget yourself in the craziness of motherhood.

Ashley Logsdon |  www.MamaSaysNamaste.com  |  InstaGram: @NamasteMamaRose

7.  Tidy Up Routines.  In order to not have a bunch of overwhelmed family members, we do two things – first off, every night we do a quick tidy up where kids gather up all their things throughout the house and yard and put them away.  This shouldn’t be a ton, because the rule is before you move on to something else, you have to clean up what you were playing with/working on before.  Doing this, and also having “Family CleanUp” time – we set a timer, give each a task and clean for ten minutes.  Then we stop and play for ten minutes.  You can do any time interval that will work, but the key is to break before burnout.  Take little breaks to play and have fun, and cleaning doesn’t seem so intimidating or awful.

Ashley Logsdon |  www.MamaSaysNamaste.com  | InstaGram: @NamasteMamaRose

8.  Advanced Meal Planning.  Blocking off a full afternoon on the weekend to prep some quick meals during the week can save a ton.  Freezer meals are fabulous, and simply writing down what you are having for the week helps to reduce that frantic “oh shoot, it’s 5pm and I have no idea what we’re doing for dinner tonight.”

Ashley Logsdon  |  www.MamaSaysNamaste.com  |  InstaGram: @NamasteMamaRose

9.  Look at the list of things you want to accomplish during your day and then ask yourself, “Which of these things will save me time or make my life easier tomorrow?” Sometimes I spend so much time doing small tasks that are easy to check off my list that I never get around to doing the big picture things that would lead to real improvements in my life.

Kathryn Thompson  | DropsOfAwesome.com

10.  The secret to a great morning routine is actually a really great night routine. Pick three things you currently do in the morning and move them to the night before. Try laying out your clothes, packing your lunch or even making breakfast like a frittata the night before.

Elaine McGhee, Founder & Working Mom Support Coach |  www.ThriveMomma.com

11. Transition Like a Triathlete.  Athletes win or lose races based on transitions. Make yours as rapid as possible by setting the table for breakfast the night before, giving everyone in the family their own cubby for backpacks, sports equipment and musical instruments and picking out clothes the night before.

Samantha Ettus, author of The Pie Life (September 2016) |  www.samanthaettus.com

12. Commit to The Golden Triangle.  Save time by moving all of your errands between three points: your office, your child’s school and your home. From hair salons to doctors, you can find them all in the triangle.

Samantha Ettus, author of The Pie Life (September 2016) |  www.samanthaettus.com

13. Use Your Magic Hour.  Wake up an hour before your kids do. This is your time to shower and dress, catch up on email, have a cup of tea or coffee and even start breakfast. By the time you wake your children, you will be calm and kid-focused.

Samantha Ettus, author of The Pie Life (September 2016) |  www.samanthaettus.com

14.  I never miss a Sunday Reset.  Every Sunday evening when everyone has gone to bed and all is quiet, I set my priorities for the week ahead.  I review upcoming appointments in my planner, make notes and to dos for the week ahead, and spend at least a solid hour decompressing by listening to music and/or reading a good book.   Read the full post on the Sunday Reset here:  http://wp.me/p7mpVO-6N.

Julie L. Cullings, Virtual Assistant & Freelance Writer  http://www.liveworkjoy.com

15.  Consolidate frequent, mundane, and annoying tasks into ONE designated space in your week – do not do them each day.  In our house, we have a “Saturday basket“, into which we throw bills, lists of things that need to be ordered, forms to fill out for school, meal plans, etc.  And then once a week, my husband and I have a hot date night (a.k.a. our “Saturday meeting”) to address everything that landed in the basket that week.

Lori Mihalich-Levin, JD  |  Founder, Mindful Return  www.mindfulreturn.com  www.facebook.com/mindfulreturn   @mindfulreturn

16.  Get breakfast ready the night before.  A mama’s gotta eat, and while I was nursing, I would always wake up starving.  For me, this means literally pouring cereal into a bowl, covering it with tinfoil, and putting it with a spoon on the dining room table.  Cutting up fruit I can dump on the cereal in the morning, and putting that in a container in the fridge.  And putting morning vitamins out on the table with the cereal and spoon.

Lori Mihalich-Levin, JD  |  Founder, Mindful Return  www.mindfulreturn.com  www.facebook.com/mindfulreturn   @mindfulreturn

17.  Believe in the power of micro-self-care For me, this is setting an intention, stretching, and breathing while I am in the shower in the morning, and setting the Insight Timer app for 3 minute intervals.  Little bits at a time each and every day do truly make a difference in saving my working mama sanity.

Lori Mihalich-Levin, JD  |  Founder, Mindful Return  www.mindfulreturn.com  www.facebook.com/mindfulreturn   @mindfulreturn

18.  Focus on decluttering instead of organizing. Organizing is problem-solving, which can be overwhelming and cause you to put off getting started. By giving yourself permission to just declutter, you’re allowing yourself to get started even if you don’t have the time (or a plan) for making a space perfect.

Dana White  |  “Nony” of ASlobComesClean.com (Reality-Based Cleaning and Organizing)

19.  Pre-pack.  The best thing I have ever done for myself is deciding to pack the kids lunches and school bags the night before, I read through the message book to make sure I am not missing out on anything and then I also lay out their (and my) clothes for the next day. This way, husband can help me get the kids dress without freaking out about wether the pink tutu goes with the red shirt and no-one has to spend hours looking for shoes!

Max Halliday,  Caffeine and Fairydust  |  http://www.caffeineandfairydust.com/

20.  Set an alarm for yourself to go to bed. It helps you keep yourself accountable to get the rest you need and not get sidetracked.

Eight Lenze, Becoming Family  |  www.becoming-family.com  |  Tweet us: @becomingfamily

Like us: Becoming Family

21.  Ask for help! So many working moms confuse “having it all” with doing it all. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be an involved parent and have a fulfilling career, but you will always feel like you’re coming up short if you’re trying to balance everything all by yourself. Let your husband, friends and neighbors know when you need help with something – whether it’s laundry, dinner, or carpool – and outsource what you don’t have time (or don’t want!) to do. Having it all is about fulfillment, not perfection, and it’s much more fulfilling when working moms work together.

Lauren Golden  |  TheFreeMama.com

22.  Limit morning commitments.  My strategy for “getting out the door on time” starts by limiting my morning commitments so that “on time” is more flexible. I don’t schedule any work meetings before 9:30 am, and I block off an hour each morning on my shared corporate calendar with a private appointment so others can’t schedule meetings for me early in the morning. Occasionally an early commitment crops up, but to the extent I can avoid early commitments to others, it reduces the stress of getting to work by a specific time.”

Jen Panaro  |  www.HonestlyModern.com

23.  Put the phone down. Yes, you read that right. Put it down. When you wake up, give yourself a moment to simply breathe, wake up and orient yourself to the day. Have you ever noticed that picking up your phone first thing in the morning to check email and your lists only cause more anxiety? You’ve already overwhelmed yourself for the day and the sun isn’t even up. Instead, make yourself coffee. Read a good book. If you’re religious, read your Bible. I’ve sometimes even gone for a walk or taken the dog out just to stretch my legs and get the blood flowing again. Whatever you decide works for you, just don’t pick up your phone or log onto your laptop. Trust me; it will make a huge difference in your mindset going into the day.

Courtney Patterson  |  www.ShirazInMySippyCup.Blogspot.com  |  Follow: Facebook // Twitter // IG // Pinterest // BL

24.  Batch and theme when you can.  I get so much more done when I batch all of my email tasks into a certain time of day, or when I complete a marathon prep session to create freezer meals.  I’ve already shared that coming up with a meal plan is often a wreck for me, so I theme our days to make it easier:  Mondays – breakfast for dinner; Tuesdays – Meat and potatoes; Wednesdays – Mexican; Thursdays – out; Fridays – Pizza; Saturdays – Italian; Sundays – snack supper (leftovers).

Celeste Coffman  |  www.QuietMindCollective.com  |  www.ThoughtfulJourneyCounseling.com

25.  Quiet your mind.  I’ve come to realize that sometimes the constant whir of activity is comforting because it gives actual anxiety a place to “live.”  Too often we’re experiencing legitimate stress, burnout or actual anxiety, and we place the blame on our endless to do list.  That’s why I created Quiet Mind Collective, my exclusive membership community for anxiety education and stress management.

Want a special deal?  Exclusive to this audience, you can try your first month of Quiet Mind Collective for only $10 using coupon code:  Try10  

Want a special deal?  Exclusive to this audience, you can try your first month of Quiet Mind Collective for only $10 using coupon code:  Try10

 

Celeste Coffman  |  www.QuietMindCollective.com  |  www.ThoughtfulJourneyCounseling.com

 

There you have it:  25 Tips for Working Moms!  I hope this will lead you to evaluate your current routines and strategize new ones, too.