There’s no denying that working moms are masters of multitasking. But, between changing diapers, setting play dates and juggling conference calls, today’s career women struggle to meet unrealistic expectations for work-life balance. Not only do they carpool, cook dinner, and create Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. They also spend countless hours in the office climbing the corporate ladder.
“Expectations are implicit through social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, as well as TV shows, movies, advertisements, and billboards,” said Lorena Arguello, a marriage and family therapist in Claremont, California. California. “Unfortunately, we instantly compare each other’s ability to have it all. Yet we only see what the mother chooses to post, not the everyday ups and downs.
We recently spoke with working moms from all walks of life—authors, executives, and accountants—about their favorite tips for finding that elusive work-life balance. Here are their key points…
“Before, I felt so guilty because I wasn’t available to help out at a pizza party or to pick up my kids. They take the bus. But someone said to me, ‘Listen, we need each other’. Some mothers organize a trip to the UN because they have worked there for 20 years. Other moms create magical gala entrees because they have more time to create at home. Love your fellow mom is really my number one rule.” – Kristen Dollard, 41, Brand Director at Yoga Diary, mother of Avery, 10, and Luke, 5
“I dislike those friends who exhaust me with their negative energy. Brutally honest, I know. But you only have a limited number of hours and minutes each day. Who you choose to surround yourself with really matters. Choose the positive!” – Robyn O’Brien, 45, The New York Times bestselling author of The sick truth, mum to Lexi, 17, Colin, 16, John, 14 and Tory, 12
“I set the boundary to focus on family and work separately. My inbox is never empty, but I make sure my computer and iPad are away so I’m not tempted to look at them. Once Will falls asleep, I go back to the emails to deal with anything that’s happened since I left or to jump on things for the next day, but I cap that at 90 minutes max. hard to disconnect from work, but it keeps me sane.” – Jillian Roscoe, 38, Senior Vice President Talent at ID Public Relations, mother of Will, 9 months
Get help at home
“Don’t drown in chores. You have to seek help from your husband, babysitters and even children to keep up with household chores. You balance a lot, but chores are something anyone can do!” – Colleen Keilers, 36, digital marketing manager for The mom project, mother of Gerald, 4, Noah, 3 and Maddock, 11 months
“Delivery apps! Google Express and Amazon Prime Now are my two main ones. That’s key, especially if I’m out of town. I’ll cook before I go, but I like to keep the fridge stocked. My eldest is so picky that I can always count on delivery of roast chicken and chicken fillets, especially if I’m away for more than two days.” – Mimi Dakar Berry, 40, vice president and creative director of Sonya Dakar Skincare, mother to Jacob, 5, and Eli, 3
To make choices
“As a working mother of two young boys, it sometimes feels like there’s a birthday party every weekend. I’ve put two systems in place to keep it fun. “First, I buy presents in bulk. Second, I alternate birthdays with my husband. If he has work to do, I’ll take the kids to the party and vice versa.” – Desi Bartlett, 45, celebrity trainer and founder of Life Shaped Mothers, mother of Cruz, 8, and Rocket, 3
“I try to work late at night to make up for lost time in the future. My schedule is not your usual 9am-5pm schedule so I can work around that and plan accordingly. I live with a planner that contains everything from what’s on hold at work to my shopping list. It helps keep me sane!” – Melina Harvey-Read, 33, senior accountant for The mom project, mother of Lucas, 6, and Louis, 4
Schedule reading dates
“My favorite way to balance it all out is to have lunch outside with the kids during the week. It refreshes me because it’s a break from work where I can see my sons. We talk about what they did that morning or what park we’ll go to before dinner. They go back to a babysitter after lunch, but I let her breathe while I hang out with them.” – Nicolette Martin, 34, HR coordinator, mum to Christopher, 4, and Vincent, 1
Experts agree: Arguello suggested taking a break to find your own happy place.
“Balance is something we always strive for and it can really seem elusive,” she said. “Factors can include self-care, children, spouse, friends, and work. Taking care of ourselves is what makes us a better mother, wife, friend, and employee.”
Article by Dana Zepeda on The Mom Project.
work-life balance, working mother, positive parenting