Working mothers need help. We might not like to ask for it. We might not even like to admit to ourselves that we need it. But, we are not superheroes. Most of the work life balance articles you'll find on the Internet tell us the same things... don't do too much, take care of yourself first, prioritize, delegate, etc. You will see this type of advice over and over again.
It's great advice, but who can really put it into play in their lives? Most of us if we really try. And, I mean really try. Don't just decide you're going to prioritize and delegate stuff this coming Monday and by Wednesday you're 'doing it all' again. Make a real commitment to yourself to change the way you think about your work and home life and make yourself a priority.
In most cases, as women, we try to do too much. We hate to say "no", but learning to do that, without feeling guilty, is one of the keys to putting yourself first. Putting yourself first will eventually result in less stressful days, weeks, and months.
If you're a working mother who works outside the home, don't look at stay-at-home moms and feel guilty or jealous, because they get to spend more time with their kids, or do more volunteering at the school. It does help to remember that we are all working mothers, whether our job is outside of the home or not. And, believe it or not staying at home can be more work than working outside the home. Now, don't get me wrong, I now work at home and feel very blessed to be able to do so and love it, but I rarely get a break for anything... let alone to go to the bathroom by myself.
When I worked outside the home, sure I felt all the guilt of leaving my oldest child at daycare and then not being able to attend all her school functions. But, think about this, I could go out to lunch every day if I wanted to. I got to go to the bathroom without a toddler's fingers creeping under the bathroom door, or banging on the bathroom door. I could stop by a co-workers office and have an 'adult conversation.
So, the topic of working outside the home or staying at home with kids is really a mute point. It's an individual choice whether or not to work outside the home.
You also might not know it, but most of today's stay-at-home moms have some kind of part-time job to create another stream of income. It is next difficult for a family to survive on a single paycheck.
When I left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home-mom, I started this website to help generate some extra income for my family. I give a lot of free information and tips on how to get organized on this site, but I really enjoy making contact and talking with my readers. I also earn money through posting Google ads and making product recommendations. Here's a link for more info on how to go about building a home based web business of your own. And, here's a link for a free Work-at-Home-Mom (WAHM) course that explains just how to build your own web business at WAHM Masters Course.
Now, one of the things as a working mother that you'll definitely need to do is to stop feeling guilty. If you really don't like your job, please do consider making the change to something you love. If you love your job, definitely don't feel guilty about it. What you earn is helping your family have a better standard of living and being able to do the things they want to do.
One of the suggestions that you will see in work life balance articles is to hire someone to clean your house, if you can afford it, then by all means do so. If you can't, or are like me and can't find someone to clean good enough, then delegate to your kids and give them some chores. Believe it or not, kids can be taught to do chores to your specifications. If none of this works, then prioritize and put yourself first letting some of the housework go. Don't try to do it all on your day off. You need that time to recoup from the work week and remember that doing the housework is not solely your responsibility. Your husband and the kids can help.
Single working mothers have even less help. But, think about this, if you're a single mom that shares custody with your ex, try to enjoy that time away from parenting when your ex has you kid(s) for their visitation. Even if you had a contentious divorce and you miss your child terribly during their visitation, please try to look at this time away as a break and relax and do something good for yourself for a change. I know it's hard to do this, and I've been there, but you'll be such a better mom when your kids return if you take this time to take care of yourself.
So, whether you are raising your kids alone or with a husband, try to learn to prioritize and make time for yourself. Identify the things that are most important to you. Spending time with your kids is surely more important than doing the dishes.
If anyone expects you to get dinner on the table five nights a week, when you're a working mother that puts in forty plus hours a week outside your home, they are expecting too much of you. Give yourself a break and order pizza one night. Spend a little time on one of your days off preparing meals ahead of time, if you enjoy that sort of thing. You can also keep lots of nourishing fresh fruits and vegetables in the fridge, chopped and ready to go for salads.
Finally, create a network of friends or family members that will help. Trying to do too much by yourself creates stress that is bad for your health. Talk to other working mothers to vent your frustrations and ask for tips on how they handle it all. Just remember to do the things that you enjoy, every day. It's not selfish. It's good for the family.