Recently on my social media, a soon-to-be first-time mom who was a lawyer asked a Mom group I belong to how to juggle working full time with an infant at home. I ended up giving her lots of advice, so apparently, I had a lot to say about that topic. Here is how I, personally, manage juggling a heavy workload at the office (in my case I have RidgeCrest, I own a boutique, and I do freelance work on the side), and managing life with a child at home.
1. Create routines and habits so that things feel automatic and require less thought.
2. If you can afford to outsource, absolutely do it. Pay someone to do the yard work or to deep clean the bathrooms, or fix that light switch that doesn’t work. For some women raised traditionally this feels like a cop-out, but I’d rather take the generational guilt with a side of clean house than go to bed underneath a mountain of dirty laundry.
3. Caffeine is your friend and there is much less evidence than people think about it being bad for babies; I would not have made it through the first three months of my baby home without a giant coffee to sip on through the day.
4. Prioritize healthy eating, it gives you more energy for dealing with everything else.
5. Embrace minimalism and get rid of all the clutter you can so that things don't build up in your house, and buy with intention - for me that means that my daily objects are mini-stress relievers because things like my two coffee mugs or my Ello water bottle make me happy every time I see them throughout my day.
5. I read a bunch of stuff online about how to keep things tidy and clean and the One Touch Rule has transformed my life, literally.
6. Make lists. I have lists in my kitchen for every type of event that takes me out of the house and what I need for each one so I don't forget an extra change of shoes or sunscreen. I LOVE that I can tell Alexa to add something to my shopping list or words my son knows without having to stop what I am doing.
7. Let go of guilt. I will never measure up to the genetically thin stay-at-home moms with their expensive joggers and handsome, wealthy husbands, and sure, my mom may have told me as I was getting divorced that she “couldn’t imagine working and missing those moments with her child” like I am somehow magically supposed to have money without working, but it’s all good. My situation is mine, my story is mine, and it has given me strength and experience that is unique to me. I can use my challenges to help show empathy and uplift others who go through similar things - and I will know not to say “your problem is portion control.”
8. Buy a Roomba!
9. On the nights you can, give yourself ten minutes to meditate. And don't feel bad about missing a day.
10. Multitask by listening to music or a book on tape while you are doing other things so you feel like you are getting more personal time for yourself by including something you enjoy in your day.
FINAL NOTE: #1 for me was stop caring what other people think of you. At work, this means challenging the status quo and demanding flexibility. Fortunately, RidgeCrest is extremely supportive and flexible with their expectations, making it the perfect place to be as a single mom. But for some moms, there is still a battle to be fought on office grounds. So DON’T let anyone make you feel guilty if your competing priorities of home and work means you have to juggle. It is not your place or role to make it seem like your children don't exist for your employers. It is their place to make the changes in the office environment to support you in your needs. We need moms in the office normalizing motherhood, not hiding it. It may be a shift for your company, but it is their shift to make, and it should have happened a long time ago. They are lucky to have you and by bringing the struggles of parenthood into your office you can not only fight the status quo for other mothers, but for fathers who should have been allowed and expected to have to manage their home responsibilities the way women do while at work to begin with.
What are your tips? Believe me, I could use them!