I hear this question a lot in the many mom groups that I am in. As a working mom myself, I want to share some information that may help answer this question.
First of all, let me start by clarifying the term “working mom” to ensure we are all on the same page.
For this conversation, working mom means wage-earning mom. That is all.
I’ve been a working mom now for the past 22 years, and let me tell ya, the struggle is real! A lot has changed since my first child was a baby. So much so that it honestly feels like a completely different world now than back then when cell phones were not smart, there was no social media, and the internet was not easily accessible, so communication was limited. The only delivery services that existed were mail and pizza.
Working full time and being a mom and wife (in many cases), at the same time, was seemingly more problematic, as it required additional time to get many things done that are practically “instant” in today’s world. However, the lack of social media and technology in general also had its advantages. I was always more focused on whatever I was doing at the moment, and didn’t constantly feel like my mind was in a thousand places at once. It made it easier to enjoy everything that I did at home and work.
But, enough with the nostalgia, let’s fast-forward to today…
Today, women make up more than half of the workforce in America, and many of us are the primary breadwinners for our families. The balancing act between work life and home life can often be too much for any mom to handle.
And that is perfectly understandable.
But what can you do to stop the constant tilting, and feel less overwhelmed and stressed?
Well, I have about 100 different tips that I could give you, but I will stick to what works best for me in hopes that it can help you out!
Mom, you can’t do for others if you don’t take care of yourself first!
The most important step to taking control of your life and reducing stress is making sure you take time every day to take care of yourself first. Make this a non-negotiable daily activity!
I know you believe you don’t have enough time, but if you don’t make time now, there will be less time later. Find 30 minutes of every day, even if you have to get up 30 minutes earlier for work than usual, or do it in the shower; you need to move. Get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes every day.
Not only does this help your heart stay healthy, but it also helps you mentally. I find that yoga and meditation also help me get my thoughts together and prepare myself for the day ahead.
Meal prep is a must!
Spend some time on the weekend planning meals for the following week. Decide what you’re going to eat on what day. You can even get the kids’ input so there is no fighting when it’s time to cook and decide who will cook it (if there are other options than yourself).
Make your grocery list for the week based on what you’ve chosen and what you need, and make sure you only have to take one grocery trip for the week. You will save so much time doing this, trust me!
Use a family calendar, on the fridge, wall, or an app will do, to keep a running list of things that you need as well as what meals you’re planning for each day. You can also include who will be responsible for the cooking and cleanup of each meal.
And of course, don’t forget to include your lunch for work each day. I’m working from home now, but when I was working in the office (pre-pandemic) I would use Sundays to fix my lunch for the week. What could stay in the fridge until the day I planned to eat it did, and the rest was frozen. Done and done!
Speaking of grocery shopping – girl, you don’t even have to physically do it yourself!
This one is truly one I would’ve enjoyed in my younger mom years for sure! With technology today, you can easily do your grocery shopping online using your favorite grocery store’s app or an app like Instacart.
Want to save time and gas? Order your groceries and have them delivered to you. Even if you are at work, you can set your order and schedule your delivery for when you get home.
Don’t want to pay for delivery fees? Most grocery stores now will allow you to order what you want online using their app, and then park in a specified location in the store parking lot where they will bring it to you!
You can also use a service such as HelloFresh or BlueApron to pick your meals for the week and have all of the ingredients delivered straight to you! This has become one of my personal favs because I’m not much of a cook, so having the ability to select new and different meals every week and having all of the ingredients and instructions on how to cook it delivered to me, has been a lifesaver.
Mom, when in a pinch, schedule a hot dinner to be delivered when you need it!
We’ve all had those days where we took out the meat to unthaw in the morning only to find out close to quitting time that we have to work late and won’t make it home in time to cook.
There’s a solution for this! If no one else can cover the cooking for you, pull up one of many different food delivery apps, such as DoorDash or GrubHub. Select a restaurant that everyone will be happy with, choose some dinners for each of you, and then schedule it for delivery at any time that will work best for you! You can feed the kids from work, or you can schedule it to wait on you.
Imagine getting home from a long day and knowing you don’t have to worry about dinner at all because it’s already on the way to you!
Save time and ease your stress on non-grocery shopping every week by shopping online – Amazon is my favorite!
I haven’t stepped foot in a Walmart in about two years now at least, and when I did, it was to get one thing that I needed at that moment. Instead, our family uses Amazon for everything that could otherwise be bought at a store such as Walmart!
The convenience of knowing that when you realize you need something, all you have to do is click on an app, order it, and have it delivered in the next day or two (with Prime), is like a magical wonderland for this mom!
Personally, I’m an introvert, so I don’t really like being around a bunch of people, especially those I don’t know, so I have always really disliked going shopping. I don’t particularly enjoy shopping for clothes either, but that’s something I will still do in person for the most part since trying on is a must for me.
If you don’t like Amazon, hey, I can’t think of a single retailer that doesn’t provide online ordering and delivery. Heck, you can even order for delivery or curbside pickup from Walmart if you want.
As Elsa would say, Let it go!
I have so many other tips I could give to you to help make life just a little easier, but I know you aren’t here to read a book, so I will end this by telling you that nothing has to be perfect all the time.
Pick your battles with your spouse and kids; not everything is worth getting upset over. It just isn’t. What about the house, you ask? Girl, you LIVE there, don’t you? If I went into someone’s house and found it 100% immaculate, I would think something is wrong because what’s the point of having a home if you aren’t using it to live?
You don’t have to clean ALL the time! Wash and dry clothes once a week, set your schedule to do other chores once a week like vacuuming on Tuesdays, get a dishwasher if you don’t have one, and run it when you have enough dishes to fill it up. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing every day.
For that deep cleaning? Hire someone to come clean for you once or twice a month. Many folks need the work and won’t overcharge you, so if you can afford it, do it. It not only eases your stress and load, but it helps them as well.
Your kids’ rooms? All I can say is WHY?? Why does it matter if their room is clean all the time? Why does it bother you if it’s not? You aren’t sleeping in there, and you can keep the door closed. As long as they aren’t living in a room full of old food, drinks, or dead animals (they can be sneaky), they will be ok. I promise.
Let me let you in on a little secret I’ve learned having one kid already grow up and moved out, and with my middle child in her late teens. Most of them WILL eventually hit that point where they feel uncomfortable with a messy room and understand that it’s easier to live in, at least, semi-organized area. It will click. So don’t let this be something that harms you physically and mentally; don’t let it be another stressor in your life.
Just let it go.
I do all of the things I’ve listed for you here, and I have some other tricks I use too, but what it all comes down to moms, is that you don’t have to make anything that’s hard, more complicated, and you can make things that are hard, more effortless.
I have never felt more stress-free in my life than I have over the past couple of years, and once I realized what I was doing to feel so at ease and less emotionally reactive, I wrote it down and continued to do it.
Every time I am presented with something that pulls on that nerve that would frustrate or anger most people, I ask myself, “What’s the point? Is it worth it?”
How will it help me or this situation if I get angry or upset? Will it solve the problem? Will it help anyone else? If not, then deal with it calmly and let it go. It is what it is, and letting it stress you out, only hurts YOU! That’s why it’s so important to really think before you react (which I am still trying to teach my husband how to do, by the way, haha).
There is no magic easy button for getting things done. We all have our weaknesses, problems, and priorities, but whatever yours is, you’ve got this! Find what works for you and use it. Don’t let the stress of thinking that you must have everything perfect all of the time take over. You don’t. You have permission to take things at your own pace and avoid any situation in which you know will increase your anxiety and stress.