Work and family are both very important, but it can be hard to balance both. As every mom knows, being a parent is a full-time job on its own! If you feel overwhelmed, try these 6 tricks to lighten your workload.
1. Figure out your goals.
With all the little things, you have to do each day, sometimes it’s easy to lose track of the big picture. Remind yourself by writing down your career and parenting goals.
First, write down long-term goals, covering the next few years. Then, read them to yourself. Does it sound possible to reach all of them? If not, keep crossing out the least important goals until your list looks realistic.
Next, break the long-term goals down into short-term goals. Short-term goals should cover the next few months. For example, let’s say you wrote “help my children get good grades” as one of your long-term goals. A related short-term goal might be, “check my children’s homework every night for the rest of the school year.”
2. Adopt a routine.
Sticking to a schedule can help your kids and you, too. Children do better when they know what to expect. Once you get them into the same morning and evening routines, getting ready for school and bed will be easier.
At work, sticking to a schedule can help you stop putting off the tasks you need to finish and avoid distractions.
3. Delegate work.
No matter how hard you push yourself, there are only 24 hours in a day. At work, you need to be realistic about which deadlines you can meet and which you need help with.
At home, try having a family meeting and splitting up chores so you aren’t doing more than your fair share of the work. You may want to tie your children’s allowances to the number of chores they finish each week.
4. Consider hiring help.
This doesn’t have to cost a lot! You may be able to hire one of the neighborhood teenagers as a part-time babysitter and housekeeper. Ask around to see if there are any responsible high school kids looking for a job.
While many girls are interested in this type of work, boys can also be a great choice. If you have sons at home, they might relate better to a boy babysitter.
5. Learn to say “no.”
As a working mom, your job and family can make many demands on you. These can include taking overtime, working on weekends, volunteering at your children’s school, going to PTA meetings, or whipping something up for the class bake sale. You need to accept that you can’t do all of them.
When you know you have enough on your plate, be polite but firm in turning down more requests. Doing a few things well is better than wearing yourself out trying to do everything.
6. Let go of the guilt.
When you’re at work, you may feel guilty that you aren’t spending time with your kids. When you’re at home, you may feel guilty that you aren’t working. Even if you’re doing the best you can, it’s normal to feel guilty sometimes. But, dwelling on these negative feelings won’t help anyone.
Focus on positive feelings instead, like the pride you feel in your family. Chances are, you are your own toughest critic!
Life is always changing, so balancing work and family duties will be an on-going process.
Sarabeth Rivera is a blogger at CreditDonkey, where families can compare credit cards and benefits. As a mother herself, she hopes sharing these tips will help you be better able to help everyone, including yourself balance work and family.