I’m a working mom, the specific breed of working mom with “young” kids. Two kids that still need help with EVERY thing – tying shoes, putting on jackets, going potty and pretty please eat your veggies! It can be overwhelming at times, simply because I need more hours in the day.
But I love my career and I get a ton of satisfaction from working, or I wouldn’t do it. It just means that I, like other working moms, must find ways to keep it together even if the best case scenario is chaos with a cherry on top. I have a few key tools that help me survive, but I wondered how other moms around me cope – do they have a secret sauce? I set out to do some research.
I posted on my mother’s group message board, and then asked 6 of my working mom friends. I’ll start off by mentioning the things I didn’t hear about, because it was a little surprising. We live in the mecca of digital and social media, websites and mobile apps like UrbanSitter – where you can find babysitters your nearby Facebook connections have recommended. Or consider Homejoy which makes hiring a housekeeper quick and cheap. Evernote which organizes your life. Online grocery delivery. The thousands of productivity and calendaring mobile apps. Heck, even toddler apps that 100% of the time will turn temper tantrums into peace and quiet (ummm, use sparingly.)
But the number one response was – cutting straight to the chase – A Supportive Spouse. Surprise aside I’m very happy with this answer because it means we’re living in more equal times. A working mom’s biggest deficit is personal time – time which allows us to recharge, get fit, feel better mentally, physically and emotionally. If our partner is willing to take over, take shifts so to speak, it will allow us to better mothers and employees.
- Working out – improves our mood. Run faster you won’t hear them crying!
- Flex time / Empathetic employers (kids get sick a lot, have doctors appointments, dentist appointments, school plays or the nanny cancels on you)
- Flexible child care. Work meetings run late, traffic sucks, you know the drill.
- Date night. Allows you to get away from the children AND the household stresses, an important combo.
- Learning to “let go”. There’s no way to be at 100% all of the time, to be the perfect employee, mom and wife. In the working world that’s why we specialize at some point in our careers. But you can’t specialize as a working mom – leaving any of them behind would likely cause some issues.
- Becoming a planner. Before kids, I scoffed at planning. But one mother mentioned she: planned dinners for a week, made lunches the night before, planned date nights way in advance, booked regular Skype calls with Grandparents, set late nights at work, and calendared EVERY single event in case she forget to tell hubby.
So although our number one survival tool is not very digital, techy or “Silicon Valley” at all, it just goes to show that human support and love reign supreme – and no fancy wearable or mobile app can compete with that.