Working moms can feel like they need to do everything that a stay-at-home mom does, or that a co-worker without children does; it is an irrational and valid feeling that comes with straddling personal and professional roles. A way to get off the fence is to figure out what is important to you within your personal and professional roles (“big rocks”) and to focus on them without applying guilt that you aren’t doing more.
Working moms can breastfeed their children, can attend the first day of school, can help with homework and still have time for the park; all while building their careers and living up to their professional potential. Key areas to managing your daily schedule and that of your family are: planning and flexibility.
Planning does not mean sitting down with a piece of paper, a planner, or a computer to write out everything that you have to do today, scheduling when it will happen and who needs to be there; it means thinking through your day first thing in the morning or the night before, so that you know what needs to happen and how you are going to get it done. Not to say if you are of a mind to make a task list that it won’t help, it will; it just isn’t always necessary.
Flexibility does not mean standing on your head while sending an email and putting dishes away with your feet; it means being able to shuffle what needs to happen today when chaos hits. Children are vortices of chaos, introducing swirling exclamations for your time. “I can’t find my shoe! What happened to my homework? Mom, where’s my lunch box? The baby’s stinky!”
Having a plan and being flexible in the face of chaos will help you manage your time and that of your family.
Daily Time Management Tips:
- Pick out your outfit and your child’s(-ren’s) outfit the night before
- Prepare lunches and have them in the refrigerator the night before
- Get a coffee maker with a timer so that you can have fresh coffee in the morning waiting for you
- Set your attaché or briefcase, and backpacks by the door
- Make a list before you go to the store – for groceries, clothes, gifts, any purchase
- Always carry a few snacks with you to tide the kids over should you be running late
Plan a little time for the unexpected – give yourself a buffer so an extra fifteen minutes spent finding homework the dog didn’t eat doesn’t make you late to work
Remember that with a little planning and flexibility you can accomplish what is important to you as a mother and as a professional.