Hi! I am a working mom, and I have been walking the tight rope of sanity for just over 10 years. If you have it down to an art, you are my hero. If you are constantly wondering if anything is going right, you are my people. I love my kids with all my heart, and I also love my job and my purpose outside my home. The days can be chaotic, but it is so special when we are able to chat on the drive home or come together at dinner to talk about our adventures from the day. I truly cherish my time and my life as a working mom, and I promise you, I do NOT have it all together!
To preserve the little sanity I have simply from being a mom and trying to keep tiny humans alive who are experts at temper tantrums on a dime and also about a dime, I have discovered a few things that keep our family going strong, or at least going decent, while also juggling work-life and responsibilities.
Hero Level- Wake up early enough to have some time for yourself before all the little and loud voices start filling the halls. If you are able to get showered, get ready, and/or get breakfast prepared in peace, you will be in a better place to help your little people problem solve morning issues, find missing water bottles, and/or participate in the dreaded Mask Scavenger Hunt.
Me Level- Waking up before my kids is my dream but also not my reality. I can stay up late any day of the week, but waking up early is just truly painful. Breakfast for us is simple and quick. We love Mr. Jimmy Dean and all his yummy microwavable morning items, and we are also big fans of cereal and protein bars when eating in the car is our best morning option. A new favorite routine we have is our Friday Morning Yum Stop! If we’ve had a great week getting ready and out of the house on time, we skip home breakfast and pick up something from one of our favorite breakfast places on the way to school.
Here are some other tips for a smooth morning:
- Have lunches already made and ready to go OR have lunch items that are easy for kids to assemble and throw together themselves OR buy lunch from the school cafeteria.
- Pick clothes out the night before OR get kids dressed while they are still have asleep and less opinionated OR have a backup set of clothes in the car that you know they will wear in case you have to throw them in the car with no pants or socks (why are those always such an issue??!!)
- Brush teeth after breakfast and before getting dressed to avoid toothpaste on clothes OR brush teeth right after waking up when kids are still sleepy and less likely to put up a fight OR brush teeth right before leaving explaining that their friends don’t want to talk to someone with stinky breath while holding spot remover to clean up toothpaste dribbles on the way out the door.
- Have backpacks, snacks, water bottles, and masks ready the night before OR have everything in an easy to find place with checklist for kids to visually mark off as they gather it all OR have extras in the car remembering to at least grab the backpack!
Hero Level- Kids are RAVENOUS afterschool, and if I’m real honest, so am I! Since you are also working on getting dinner thawed out and ready to start cooking, have options that are ready and easily accessible that you do not have to give permission to eat. However, do be sure to set a limit so they do not end up skipping dinner due to eating 3 cheese sticks, 2 bags of Goldfish, and an ice pop washed down with a juice box (all organic, of course). Have a routine set that gives kids a little bit of down time before getting out homework or getting ready for the next day. Remember, they have been hard at “work” all day just like you!
Me Level- Since we have a lengthy drive home, I encourage my kiddos to complete their homework in the car, or I let them play on their tablets as their down time before getting everything out when we get home. Thawing out dinner is a level of preparedness that I have yet to master. However, I have mastered the art of various dinners that can be made with pasta and tomato sauce. I have stopped fighting the “I’m only making one thing for dinner fight.” I now make one main thing we will all eat with a few different side options that meet everyone’s picky palettes. Can we just all sit down together and eat in peace, please?!
Here are some other tips for a peaceful unwinding afterschool:
- Gather school folders and put up backpacks in the same place right when walking in the door (this is also a good time for checking where shoes have been kicked off).
- Have one chore for each kid to complete as their ticket to some free-time.
- Have dinner plans ready to go BEFORE heading home. If you know you don’t have anything to make, give yourself a break and pick something up on the way home! Once you get there, you will not want to go back out.
- Have kids take showers and get on PJs while you are making dinner to maximize time after dinner for clean-up, playing a family game, reading books, or spending time together.
- To help you reach Hero Level for morning routines, pick out clothes, make lunches, and get backpacks ready for the next day.
A few keys to living the working mom life AND keeping your sanity are as follows:
- Find your tribe! Friends will and want to help you- be it picking your kids up from school for you, carpooling kids to afterschool activities, or even letting you have some contact solution so that you don’t have to take your kids into the store on the way home for just one item that turns into twenty plus snacks for the car plus screaming kids because they didn’t like the snack they picked out. Find your people, love your people, help your people!
- Put EVERYTHING on your calendar but also know you might not get to do EVERYTHING and that’s ok!
- Have routines while also being keenly aware that kids love a good game of throwing a giant wrench into your routine just to see your reaction- surprise them by keeping your cool and being flexible.
- Live in a judgement-free zone! We are all doing our best at this thing we call life.
- Schedule time for YOU! Most of your time is going to your kids and your profession. Put something on the calendar, at least monthly, that is just for YOU!
Above all the tips, tricks, routines, and idea, know that you are doing an AMAZING job at being a mom! Your kids see your passion, your love, your commitment, and your talents at working and at Mom-ing. They love you and they respect you more than they could ever put into words.