These are some of my survival tips...
Please know that I am in no way an expert at finding balance as a working mother. Every day is a struggle. And I want you to know that you are not alone in the struggle.
First, I have to prioritize my time. And in my life it goes:
God first. This is the goal, but trust me, I forget all the time and sometimes kids and life consume my thoughts.
Marriage second. My husband and I are life partners, business partners, and best friends. He is my better half and deserves my attention.
Kids third. Time is moving so quickly and I want to spend as much time with them as I can.
Then comes work.
Ok, so how do I juggle six kids, a marriage and a full time job?
Excellent childcare. I cannot do my job without excellent childcare. I credit my professional position to the first nanny we hired. She was with us for 7 years and she was the perfect compliment to our growing family.
To find a good caretaker tell everyone you are looking. Ask around. The best caretakers I have ever found were referrals from other people. And the best question to find a good caretaker is ask them how long they were with the previous family. If they say less than a year, probably ok. If they say more than 3 years, you have found a unicorn.
Learn to say No. This took years of experience. Because I used to say YES to everything, because I truly wanted to do it, but I can't be in multiple places at once and I have to revisit priorities. Also, I stick to the general rule, "Keep your home a sanctuary of peace (minus kids whining)."
We don't do outside activities. My kids right now are not doing any sports, lessons or activities. In the summer they do swimming and in the fall they do basketball. That's it. I used to feel guilty that I didn't more activities, but the activities throw our home into a tailspin. So for now we don't do them.
I truly believe the best thing for the future of my child's well-being is spending quality time with each one of them. And how I am feeling is equally important.
Outsource. Outsource. Outsource. Except sex with your husband and time with your kids. That means cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, driving, etc. while keeping your priorities in mind. The last six months we have been without additional help, so I've been doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, driving, etc and I'm a mental health mess. I'm on the brink of exhaustion and so is my spouse, which in turn hurts everything else around us. If you can afford the additional help I believe it is money well spent. And by the end of this week we should have help employed that will assist with laundry, cooking and cleaning. Thanks be to God!
Focus on efficiency. When I'm at work, I focus solely on work. When I'm with my kids, I am with my kids and I try to limit distractions. I schedule meetings with my husband. We travel together for work, if possible. And we always gather to say the rosary prayer every night at 7:30pm.
I sacrifice time with friends. This one hurts. I miss my friends a lot. And I recognize this is one area I have to sacrifice my time as a working mother. The good news is I have made great friends in my industry, and we try to do walking lunches or meet for coffee.
I would love to hear how you manage...
Please share with the group so we can all be better working mothers!