Even if you have a fantastic husband or partner, for biological, anatomical, and emotional reasons, more of the childcare responsibilities tend to fall your way as the mother. So, if you are also working outside of the home, it is easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you are working “double shifts.” Here are a few ways to maintain your sanity when working outside the home by day and inside the home by night:
Learn to Laugh
You WILL go to work with boogers on your shoulder, slobber in your hair and marshmallow cereal stuck to the back of your blazer. You will be dressed and heading out the door, ready to load your baby in the car seat when you start to feel some wetness leaking out of his diaper onto your freshly dry cleaned pants. My personal favorite is the painfully awkward moments with your co-workers when you are cleaning the parts to your breast pump in the company lunchroom or have to explain that you need a couple of 17-minute “breaks” to tend to your motherly duties. It may not be funny to you now, but eventually you will look back at this time in your life and laugh. Just roll with it, smile, and try to keep a long-term perspective!
Remember Murphy’s Law (“anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”).
When you are a parent, Murphy is basically a member of the family. You will go to work with mismatched earrings (if you remember to wear any jewelry at all), forget to put on deodorant, a belt, or realize you that only have mascara on one eye. You will double check that everyone in the household has brushed their teeth, but then forget about your own. Your child will only vomit at inopportune times – in the car, on an airplane, or in shopping centers. They will get an unexplained rash or contract a severe stomach bug and need to be quarantined on the day of your big presentation, meeting, etc. I find it best to be on the defense at all times. Make sure that your co-workers can access the things that you are working on, make sure you know how to contact your office manager after (or before) hours if necessary, and ALWAYS have a spare. At work I have a spare toothbrush, perfume, deodorant, stain stick, lipstick, and plenty of snacks. Also, have some form of a napkin/wipe within arm’s reach at all times.
Be mindful of your finances
Money and financial matters are always in the top three topics that couples fight about. Adding an extra person (or people) to the family can drastically change your financial picture and introduce some new challenges to the budget. See Patrick Amey’s article, “What are We Doing?” for some simple ways to keep your finances in check.
I am a firm believer that exercise makes you a better person. When you exercise, you have more patience, capacity, focus, and are in an all-around better mood. When I don’t exercise, it shows – I can become downright hostile. Squeeze in some exercise whenever you can. Even if it is just a walk around the block, a sprint up the stairs, or some push-ups under your desk – it will help. There are several DVDs now offering 30-, 20-, and even 10-minute workout sessions. Get a pedometer and challenge yourself to reach 10,000 steps a day.
Give yourself a break
When you are a working mom, you tend to feel like you are mediocre at everything. You are always trying to keep multiple balls in the air and plates spinning, so you feel like nothing you do gets 100% of your focus. There will always be something to feel guilty about – not spending enough time with your family, not spending enough time with your clients, or not doing enough networking. Just do the best you can – no one can do it all (at once).
Embrace dry shampoo
It is just not reasonable, feasible, or necessary to wash your hair every morning. Save yourself the extra 15 minutes and sleep in, get some more snuggles or play time before you leave for work, read the newspaper, or whatever floats your boat. Trust me on this one.
For more information, visit our website at www.makinglifecount.com or contact Jamie Bosse at 913-345-1881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.