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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 81.2% of employed mothers with children ages 6 to 17 worked full time in 2020. Being a working mother with children in school is no small feat, especially when you work full-time.
And being a working mother doesn’t mean you quit being a mom when you’re away at work. It just means you have that much more to balance. So it’s important for you to have some work-life balance strategies up your sleeve to keep things running smoothly without overwhelming yourself to the point of exhaustion.
Let’s take a look at some strategies for balancing work and home life that will help you succeed without getting burnt out.
RELATED: Ultimate List of Work-life Balance Resources for Working Moms
Work-life Balance Strategies for Success
Use Your Earned PTO
It’s easy to push yourself to the brink of overwhelm when you have a demanding job. The thing is, you’ve earned your paid time off. Don’t keep putting it off in fear of missing out on something at work or because you don’t want your boss to be short-handed. Use that PTO now.
It’s a job that you get paid for. And one of your benefits is paid time off. You’ve worked hard and you’ve earned all that time off. Don’t feel guilty for the benefits the company offered you that you earned fair and square.
Even if it’s just a day here and there, you mentally need the time away from work to remember what you enjoy in life and why you’re working in the first place.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is key to saving your sanity when you’re a working mother. And taking time away from stress and the constant hustle plays a big part in that.
Keep Your Goals & Priorities Front & Center
When you have a full-time job AND you’re a full-time mom, life can get a little hectic to say the least. It’s easy to forget why you do what you do in the first place.
Take time weekly to refresh your goals and remember your priorities. Whether it’s sitting in silence meditating on what’s most important to you, jotting down your big goals or journaling what you’re thankful for, take the time.
Being able to visually see your goals is a great reminder. Jot them down on some index cards or add them as the screen saver on your phone or laptop. Having them front and center will keep you motivated and inspired to keep going.
Make Physical Fitness a Priority
It’s important for everyone to maintain physical fitness, but when you’re a busy working mom, staying active is what will keep you going and striving.
If you’re physically unhealthy, it makes life harder. Harder to run after the kids and harder to spend time with them. You run out of energy and it can make you feel sluggish and lazy.
Remember, in order to take care of others you have to first take care of you. If you don’t focus on your fitness and health, you’ll be forced to focus on your illness.
Set Boundaries & Stick to Them
When you have a job you’re passionate about, it’s easy to take work home with you. When you truly care about what you do and the impact it has on others, you want to make sure everything is taken care of and on time.
Being a dedicated employee is a great quality, but remember that you matter too. And some things can wait. When you’re home, try to leave work at the office and focus on your family and what you want to get done around the house.
Constantly thinking about work, answering calls and checking email after hours will only burn you out and make you resent the job.
Set time boundaries around when you will check emails, work on projects or answer work related calls. When you do, make sure your boss is aware and on the same page. Don’t let your employer take advantage of your work ethic and kind heart.
Find a Flexible Job
For many, finding a job with a flexible schedule is easier said than done. It’s all about finding the right fit for you and your family needs.
Nowadays, there are many jobs that allow you to work remotely. You can find remote work doing just about anything, from data entry, healthcare billing, customer service, writing or creating web content.
If you don’t want to leave your current position, try to negotiate an extra day off or different work hours. Or ask to work from home part of the time if it’s feasible. It can’t hurt to ask. You might be surprised by your employers response.
Manage Your Mind
Your mind is an important part of who you are and how well you handle stressful situations. When life gets hectic, you need to be able to separate yourself from the situation and look at it objectively. Practicing mindfulness can help you do just that.
Managing your mind is easy as spending 5 minutes each morning meditating or quietly thinking about how you want your day to go. Or you could journal out your feelings. Seeing them on paper and reading them back to yourself can help you see things in a new light and help you evaluate how you’re feeling.
If you don’t take time to evaluate how you’re feeling and what’s going on in your life, overwhelm can set in and make it difficult to process difficult situations.
If you’re looking for some help getting started with mindfulness, check out Breathe, Mama, Breathe.
“Moms can feel as if they are sprinting through life, crashing onto the pillow at day’s end only to start again the next morning. In Breathe, Mama, Breathe, psychotherapist Shonda Moralis outlines the benefits of daily meditation and shows moms how to do it—in just five minutes!”
Breathe, Mama, Breathe is full of easy-to-follow practices that will help moms find quick, daily opportunities to reset and refocus with mindfulness.
When you stay busy, as working moms do, it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself. You get so busy caring for everyone else that you forget to take care of yourself.
Even if you’re eating 3 meals a day and showering daily, that’s not enough. You need to do things that make you feel good about yourself – something that relaxes you, frees your mind from stressors or makes you feel rejuvenated.
Practicing self-care is not always easy when you’re focused on everyone and everything but yourself. Start small and plan in 10 minutes each day to do something for yourself – just for you.
This can be reading a good romance novel or a juicy mystery, soaking in the tub or taking a few extra minutes in the shower to exfoliate or just relax. Self-care doesn’t have to look like spa days and bubble baths, but it can if you can manage it.
READ MORE: 15 Free or Cheap Self-care Ideas
Delegate When You Can
Most women have the notion that doing it yourself is easier and quicker. (I know, I’m guilty of it myself.) But that’s not always the case. And how quickly you get something done doesn’t really matter all that much if it’s causing you to neglect other important areas of your life.
If you want to maintain a healthy work-life balance, one thing you should do is let others help. You won’t be able to do it all, all the time.
It can be simple things like washing dishes, folding laundry, grocery shopping. Even the small things can make a big difference.
Just by taking away a few small tasks you will free yourself up to focus on bigger, more important tasks. And this can lead to you feeling more in control and accomplished.
A routine is similar to a schedule but without the specific time slots. You don’t necessarily have to know what you’ll be doing every second of the day.
Creating a routine just means you know what you want to accomplish and when. For instance, what needs to get done or what do you want to do each morning before you leave the house for work?
Make a list of these things and create a checklist. Once you review your checklist daily for a while, it will become habit. You will then have a routine that’s just a part of how you do things.
Creating routines like this can make life simpler by taking away all the thought work that goes into making things happen. They will occur naturally without all the stress.
How to Implement these Work-life Balance Strategies
The best thing to do when implementing anything new into your life, is to take it one step at a time. Pick one strategy to focus on first and work on it until you’ve mastered it. Then, move on to the next thing on your list.
The whole point of putting these strategies into place is to prevent overwhelm and burnout, so don’t overload yourself trying to do it all at one time.
Work-life Balance Problems and Solutions
Most work-life balance problems come from trying to do it all by yourself and not having any sort of plan or routine. By using these work-life balance strategies you will provide solutions to most of your working mom problems, which will free up some much needed time and energy for you.