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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tips for Working Moms

By Rachel H

On our last giveaway survey, we asked subscribers what types of blogs they would like to see more of on TSP. We had quite a few requests for tips for the working mom. I reached out to a few Smarty Moms I know who have a knack for balancing work and home life. I think these tips are terrific even for stay-at-home moms. We all need a few extra hours in our day, and these are some great ideas on how to make that happen …

April B – April has a son Tyler, who just turned three last week. Her Smarty tips are:
1. Keep a regular date with your husband. This could be dinner out or even a lunch together during the week once in a while. It’s important to spend that time together as adults, not just as “mommy and daddy”.
2. You need to take good care of yourself so that you are equipped to take care of others. Get plenty of rest, eat well and make time to exercise. It’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep sometimes, especially with an infant, but the benefits of getting enough rest cannot be overrated. I try to pack my lunch and bring it to work. It not only saves a significant amount of money, but also helps me to maintain a healthier diet than I would if I was set free downtown to eat whatever I wanted every day! I exercise not only for mental and physical health but also to set a good example for my son.
3. Have fun! When at home, put down the computer mouse and use those hands to push a Fisher Price bubble-blowing mower or a tricycle!

Julee N – Julee has two sons, ages 4 and 19 months and is the mom in the middle in our picture above!
1. Get to know the other mothers at work. There’s no better support group. I don’t think I could have made it through the last almost four years without other moms to listen when I’m stressed about sick kids or to give advice when I’m facing a new challenge.
2. Use your paid time off. Back before I had kids, I never used all the time I had available to me. Now I use my vacation, sick, and child education time offered by my company. Unfortunately, I usually have to use the sick time when someone is actually sick. But, I take vacation and child education leave to get more time with my kids or to get caught up on other personal obligations.
3. Put everything on the calendar. I have found that I can’t rely on my memory for anything anymore! I put all my personal appointments, birthdays, parties, and kid’s activities, along with my work meetings and tasks in my Outlook calendar at work. (Unfortunately this doesn’t work so well when you put the appointment on the wrong day, which I did recently.)
4. Plan meals ahead, make them ahead when possible, and learn to love leftovers. We plan meals for the week when we shop, and either cook meals for the week on Sundays or cook quick meals that make enough for leftovers. Fortunately, my husband enjoys cooking, so he usually cooks dinner while I take care of the kids when we first get home.
5. Let the non-essentials go and focus on spending time with your kids. There are so many things that I want to do that I never get done, but given that I’m away from my boys for nine hours a day, I make sure that the focus is on them when we’re together. Someday my house will be cleaner, someday I’ll plant the flowers I want to plant, and someday I’ll get organized again… But I know that when that day comes, I’ll be missing these sweet, wild, adorable little guys who keep me so busy and wear me out so much!

Megan B – Megan wrote a post for us a few months ago on being a new mom and she also gave a great tip on balancing work and home life.
“Goodness knows I am learning each day through trial and error how to make this work. The CEO of Pepsi was once quoted (I’ll paraphrase here) that the balance between work and home is more of a rhythm. You can never be the best at work and the best at home at the same moment in time. However, you can give your best to work when you are there and then your best to your family when at home. Her thoughts about this rhythm rather than a giant balancing act have really helped me strive to give my best at what I am doing in that moment. It helps to put things into a bite size reality rather than an impossible task.”

Kristie T – Kristie was featured as a Smarty Mom in February. She is the mother of six-year-old triplets.
The #1 rule I follow – don’t sweat the small stuff! Do I wish my house was cleaner? Yes! A lot has changed for me since I had kids. I used to try to get the house sparkling clean even if someone was just going to drop something by. Now, I have resigned myself to the fact that our house cannot be ‘clean’ all of the time. It is just not that important in the grand scheme of things. It does make me feel much better when I take about 10 minutes to de-clutter before I leave the house or after the kids go to bed.
Online grocery shopping - if you have a lunch hour and a computer…you can get your grocery shopping done in about 10 minutes. Even if you can’t do this on your lunch hour, you can get online after the kids go to bed and schedule your pickup for the next day.
Plan ahead – I try to get everything ready for the next morning before I go to bed. I line up the back packs, write checks for various school items/functions, sign papers, etc. so that if something unexpected happens the next morning at least everything is ready to go.
Online bill-pay or automatic withdrawal – I have almost every bill that we need to pay set-up online. All of our statements are sent to us electronically so we have less mail to open up and keep track of every month. I have an Excel sheet that I fill out for each bill as I receive the statement via email. It is so convenient and saves time!

Paige B – Paige has two daughters, ages 6 and 2 1/2. She shared with us her top five tips for working moms.
1. Dream Dinners
2. Swiffer's dusters & my cleaning "bucket"
3. Woman who vacuums & mops weekly for me
4. Washing, cleaning, grocery store, etc., during the week so weekends are for my family
5. Multi-tasking
6. Helpful husband

Thank you to our working moms for such great information! If you have more ideas to add, please comment below.
Also, don't forget to sign yourselves up for the fabulous FREE family portrait session with Andrea Halsey Photography. This promotion ends at Noon on Friday, July 17 and the winner will be announced on July 19. You must be a Triad Smarty Pants newsletter subscriber to enter. Just click here to register. Good luck!


Cameron said...

The meal planning always seems to be most difficult for me. I need to give the online grocery shopping a try, as well as Dream Dinners.
Thank you for all of this insight!

R.J.M. said...

One tip that my father always taught me was to leave work at work and not bring any of the stress or troubles home with you.

There was an old tale about a man who had a worry tree in his front yard and each day when he would come home from work he would touch a leaf on the worry tree and that is where he would leave his work problems before he even walked in the door to the house.
I think about this every time I pull up in our driveway!

Julee N said...

I took Kristie's advice and tried online grocery shopping. It was great! In 30 minutes, I picked up cleaning, picked up groceries, and stopped by the toy store to buy a birthday present. I only had to get my son out of the car once. Thanks for the tip, Kristie!

Ellen said...

WOW! These are terrific! Thank you, TSP, and all you working moms who contributed.

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