Finding balance as a working mom can feel like an impossible goal. But, there is a flow to being a working mom, and over time, the flow can feel a lot like balance. Here are some tips for riding the waves of being a working mother:
- Know your priorities. One problem working moms face is that there is always something you could be doing, but not enough time and energy to do it all. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed or believing that you are a failure. Having a clear-cut list of priorities can help stop the emotional floodgates when you feel them about to surge. Remind yourself, “My priorities are_____.” For example, “I aim to first love God, my spouse and my children. The house may be a mess right now but my family knows they are loved.”
- Cut out the guilt. Mommy guilt is a real beast. Especially for Christian moms, who may have heard some version of, “The ideal Christian mother stays home with their children all day.” Mommy guilt truly destroys when a mom believes that God Himself is condemning her need to work, which of course, He is not. So, don’t give in to guilt. If you are tempted to give in to false guilt, instead carry on loving your family and save your emotional energy for that.
- Be flexible. For some of you, flexibility comes naturally. For many of you, though, flexibility goes against your DNA. If this is you, create a plan that includes being flexible. You have probably heard of Murphy’s Law, which means that things will go wrong, and probably will at the worst time possible. It’s just another way of saying we live in a fallen world, such as, your Kindergartner getting sick on the day of your job interview. Because we live in a world with sin and brokenness, allow for some margin in your day. Plan for traffic to take a little longer, have a back-up baby sitter, or two or three, already background checked, and plan for downtime in your days and weeks. Margin takes much of the stress out of interruptions and makes the need for flexibility easier to accommodate.
- Pray. There is a verse, Psalm 90:17, “Establish the works of our hands.” And, Psalm 139 reminds us that God has numbered our days. When the days seem too full and you feel overwhelmed, tap into God’s plan for your day through prayer. He can order your days for you and make the work of your hands effective. Better yet, make prayer a priority so your days are shaped through prayer, and watch God order your life in more manageable ways.
- Delegate and work with your spouse as a team. There is a reason God designed the family to include a mother and father. If you are fortunate to have both functioning, do not pigeon hole one another into traditional male-female roles, unless they work for your family. Most couples today where both work need to play to each other’s strengths to maximize their marriages. It’s OK if your husband does most of the cooking, for example, if he enjoys cooking more than you.
- Prioritize self-care. It is not selfish to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom. It is not selfish to take time to develop a personal interest or spend time with a friend. For most working moms, finding time for self-care means leaning on their community for help. If you live away from your family and don’t have a community yet, you may have to get creative or hire help. But, you must take care of your soul. If you think what you are doing to care for yourself is selfish, it probably isn’t. Selfish people rarely sit around and tell themselves they are being selfish.
What tips would you add to this list? What works for you? Please do share, and help other moms out there.