Are you struggling with balancing motherhood and work? Trust me, you are not alone!
As a full time working mother of 2 boys, I understand how difficult navigating through the school year can be. There are many days when I wonder how can I get it all done? How can I be a great employee, wife and mom?
The key is to not put too much pressure on yourself. Nobody is perfect and your kids will love you whether they have oven roasted chicken with homemade mashed potatoes or frozen pizza. We also have to remember that quality time is even more important than the quantity of time we spend with our kids.
The most important thing to remember as a parent is that our kids need to feel loved, safe and secure! Our children need to feel supported and cared for. That means it doesn’t matter if you do homework together at 3pm or 7:30pm or cook dinner versus ordering take out. What matters is that your kids feel important and that they are a priority in your life.
With that bring said, it is very hard as a working mother to find a balance between parenting, working and taking care of my home. In order to help myself and fellow working moms, I have come up with some ways to make the school year a little easier!
A Working Mom’s Survival Guide
It is important to be organized during the school year because there is nothing worse than forgetting about a field trip, class party, awards ceremony or picture day! Before school starts, develop a system for collecting and organizing school paperwork and information on events. This can be done with file folders, file drawers and/or a large wall calendar. Color coding the folders can also help decipher between permission slips, forms and fundraiser paperwork.
Create a Schedule
Being organized is always a great way to make things easier, and nothing is more organized than a schedule. There are many ways this can be accomplished so you have to choose the right one for your family. Depending on your family’s need your schedule can be by the hour, day, week or month.
For kids, I mean! Kids are never too young to engage in chores. In fact the earlier they learn responsibilities and independence, the better. Implementing a chores list can eliminate some of the cleaning you have to do while also teaching your kids important life skills.
Making meals ahead of time and freezing them makes weekday mealtimes much easier. You can just pop them in the oven and help your kids with homework while it cooks!
Set Out Clothes
Picking out your child’s clothes the night before makes the morning less stressful. It would be even better if you can pick out the entire week’s worth of clothes! While your at it, pick out your own clothes as well. I find it much less stressful in the morning when all the outfits are lined up and ready to go.
There is no shame in ordering out. Sometimes eliminating the stress of cooking can allow for greater quality time with your kids. Plus, many places offer great midweek specials. For instance, some pizza places offer 2 for 1 specials so you can have one pizza that night and freeze one for another night!
Create a Learning Center/Space
By creating a learning space at home, your kids will know exactly where they need to go to complete homework and projects. They also know where all their supplies will be and where they should be placed when it is time to clean up. A learning space can be anything from an individual desk in your child’s bedroom to a small table in the living room. Either way, your child needs to feel they have a clean and clutter-free work environment!
To help make each morning and afternoon run more smoothly, create checklists for your kids. For the younger kids, it can be a picture checklist and for older kids it can be written. As each responsibility is completed, the child can check it off. Here are some things you can put on the checklist:
- Clean up after breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Brush your teeth
- Make your bed
- Complete your homework
- Put clothes away
- Pick out clothes for the next day
- Pack the lunchbox
- Put homework back in the backpack
Accept, Seek and/or Ask for Help
As moms, we often find this hard to do. When we ask for help, it is almost as if we have failed in some way. Well, I am here to say that is ABSOLUTELY NOT true! Besides asking your parents or siblings to help out, you can also look into these options:
- Mommy Helper: Many teenagers are looking for community service hours. Sometimes it is helpful just to have someone play with the kids when you are cleaning and/or cooking dinner.
- Babysitting swap with other moms: This is a great way for moms to work together to keep each other sane. One day watch your friend’s kids then the following week she can watch your kids!
- Parents’ Night Out: Many local play places offer affordable parent night out options. This can give you a few hours to relax, clean, go out to dinner, shop or get that much needed mani/pedi.
- Hire a Cleaning Service: This can be expensive, but if you can work it into your budget for even just a once a month cleaning, this can really alleviate some stress.
I hope you have found this survival guide helpful! The school year always arrives with such anticipation and a level of nervousness, but as moms, we always make it through!