My only aim, as a working mother, is to leave home at 8am without tears and drama. It’s wonderful being a mom, but sometimes balancing work and home is a struggle that often makes you want to question all your life’s choices—especially if you’ve had a terribly busy day at work and all you want to do is crawl in bed. But you have to pick up your little dumpling from day care, fix dinner, con her into believing that a bath at night will give her superpowers, get her in her jammies, read Gruffalo twice and hope she knocks off so you can prepare for the next day’s meeting.
I have immense respect for supermoms but I have to admit, I’m not one of them. I’m not even trying to be one of them because I’m pretty sure if I was a supermom, my cape would be crumpled. All I want is to get through the day without feeling the need to sock someone in the nose and I've figured out some hacks that help me achieve just that.
- Be Organized: I’m not type A by nature but I’ve realized over time that good things come to those who stay organized. Chalk out a list of things you need to do over the week. Use apps, reminders or a good old note pad to make notes. Staying organized is not as challenging as it sounds. Spend half an hour over the weekend planning groceries, school lunches, play dates and weeknight dinners. Figure out when you're going to finish each task and set reminders for that.
- Create A Network With Other Moms: Try to connect with other working moms so you can create a support system. You can share problems and possible solutions. Whether we choose to work out of choice or necessity, we women need to stick together. If possible, bridge the gap and chat with a couple of stay-at-home moms to break the ice. You’ll realize while all the time you think they’re judging you, they’re actually wondering if you're judging them. Very often, they’re more than happy to help.
- The Night Before: To minimize stress in the mornings, try to pack school lunches and lay out clothes the night before. Anything that helps you save time is fine. I’ve even heard of a mom who's squeezed toothpaste on her child’s toothbrush the night before just to save those precious few seconds in the morning.
- Check In With Your Kids: Assign a part of the day to talk to your kids. Ask them how their day was, if they’ve made a new friend or if they resolved their fight with the bestie. Do it casually and breezily so it doesn’t become a thing. You can even slip in age-appropriate “good touch, bad touch” conversations. Quite often, as working moms, we’re petrified that our children will grow up disconnected from us. Keep communication open by starting early. Make it a habit to talk about your day and ask them about theirs. You can do this during bath time or while eating breakfast or dinner. Create an environment wherein your child finds it comfortable to talk to you about anything.
- Work From Home: It’s fine to check work mails after your kids fall asleep and it’s just as fine to call up the school from work for clarifications about ambiguous PTA notes. There’s no need to compartmentalize in today’s day and age of smart phones and tabs. Use all tools at your disposal to make your day easier and free up some extra time for yourself.
- Chores: Have your children help out with chores. It could be as simple as folding up the kitchen towels or clearing away all their toys. They may not do it well but it’s more important to instil in them the habit of pitching in.
Remember that planning and organizing can only take you so far; you have no control over how things pan out. So be open and a little flexible. Be sure to grab some “me-time” whenever you can and don’t feel guilty about it. Whether it’s a girl’s night out or catching up on all your favorite shows, do something that you really like doing every once in a while. Remember that happy moms raise happy children.