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Whether moms who work outside of the home, moms who do outside work at home, or moms whose work involves being a wife, mom, and homemaker, all moms seem to share a universal concern – how to get it all done. Every single mom I asked, and myself as a young mom, too, all asked how in the world they can ever juggle it all.
Every single seasoned mother I asked answered the question the same way: you can’t, which leads me to my first point.
- You need to shift your perspective to realizing that you can’t get it all done. You can’t do everything you did before you were a mom. There is no way to possibly keep your house the way it was before you had children. There is no way to make the nightly gourmet meals you made before you had children. There is no way to go all the places you used to go, to keep the schedule you used to keep, to complete the same tasks at the same time and in the same way as you used to while working outside of the home as well. Just like your body is forever changed, your life is forever changed, too. Recognizing these limitations allows you the freedom to not fulfill the weighty expectations you put on yourself. As one seasoned mom said, “You need to let go of the things that used to be important to you, because the struggle is trying to continue holding these things up as the most important things to you when you are already putting your children there. Both cannot occupy the same space.” Read that quote again. Your child or children now occupy the most important space in your heart, so the things from your former life simply cannot fit there anymore, so don’t try to make them. It just won’t work. This realization, this shift in perspective, is perhaps the most freeing thing you will read throughout this series.
For those of who read yesterday’s post, you probably noticed that the number one suggestion from today was also nearly the same as the number one suggestion from yesterday. There is a reason for that. All moms need to realize first and foremost that we can’t possibly do it all.
- A close second, is letting go of the mommy guilt. Moms, especially new moms, often feel torn between being wanting to be at home and wanting to be at work, too. Don’t feel guilty about your desire to get out of the house and work, to bring in a paycheck, and to strive to reach goals that are outside of the four walls of your home. If you are working but wish you could stay home, let go of the guilt you feel, too. I tell my kids all the time that life is full of having to do things you would rather not do. I would say the same thing to you, although you already know this, I’m sure. If your income, your benefit package, or some other reason is keeping you in the workplace, embrace it as what your life requires of you at this time. Similar to a shift in perspective is an acceptance of the road you are on today. It may be different in the future, but for today, embrace your work life when you are there, and embrace your home life while you are there.
- Develop an action plan that results in efficiency. This could include everything from developing a routine, making lists, menu planning, keeping your time wasters in check, making the most of your time on the weekends, and setting up a cleaning schedule. If it is a struggle to get dinner on the table after a day at work, make it the night before, make it the morning of, prepare the majority of the meals on the weekend, or become best friends with your crock pot, but find a way to take the pressure off a time that is commonly a challenge among working moms. Make the most of running errands either on the way to or from work or on your lunch break. Choose doctors, dentists, and other necessary appointments and needed errands that are in the vicinity of your commute. Of course if you work, but inside your home in a work at home position, obviously some of these don’t apply. Maybe this is a topic to be explored further at a later time. I do have a bit experience in this and know others who do, too.
- Establish an efficient “command center.” This is the place where the kids keep their backpacks and school items, you and your spouse keep what you need for work, and everything that will be needed in the morning. Prepare lunches the night before, too.
- Create a master calendar with the entire family’s schedule on it. I love the Cozi app for this. My husband and I both have it on our phones, you can also access it from a computer, and everyone is color coded, which makes it easy. You can set a reminder for whenever you want it, and it is all free unless you decide to upgrade. We do fine with the free version.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Everyone can and should work together. Kids can make their own lunches, help with cleaning, gather supplies, and so much more. You will just need to put in the time in training them, and then after awhile they can handle these things on their own. Delegating is important in any family, but it is especially important if you work.
- Maximize the time you do have with your family. You’ve heard it’s about quality as well as quantity, and this is so true. See to it that you have time when your undivided attention is given to your children. They will look forward to that time, and so will you.
- As with the stay at home mom, accept that your house will never be “done.” In addition, you will never be able to meet the expectations of everyone, your to-do list will never get completely done, and having your own quiet time and beautiful place are also essential, too. You can read about this in greater detail, here.
The added responsibility of having a job while also having a family can be so much to deal with at times, but it doesn’t have to. Being proactive in how to manage everything can greatly help. The main thing is to let go of the guilt and embrace your limitations (many of the same limitations that all moms face), develop routines and efficient ways of doing things both inside and outside of the home, delegate tasks to others, and fill your own tank as well as the tanks of your children when you are home.
Just as with the veteran stay at home moms, the veteran working moms want you to know that you, too, have permission to be human and to accept that having a job creates additional demands that will never all be met at once. Pick and choose an area of focus, be mindful of where you are and where you are going, and find contentment in the path under your feet.
You can find hope in the first post in the series, What in the World Have I Gotten Myself Into?! here
You can find An Action Plan for the Overwhelmed Mom here
You can find An Action Plan for the Mom Who is Stuck at Home here
You can find An Action Plan for Connecting With Other Moms here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Dealing With the Never-Ending Responsibilities of a Mom here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Getting It All Done as a Stay at Home Mom here.
Come back tomorrow for A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who is Afraid She is Doing it All Wrong