As a working mom, the journey is often a unique blend of joy, challenges, and relentless multitasking. From my experiences as an active-duty Army member to building a six-figure product and e-commerce business, the dual role of motherhood and a full-time career comes with unspoken realities that many of us never hear about. Here are five “no one ever told me” truths about being a working mom:
1. The Invisible Load: Juggling Mountains
No one ever told me about the invisible load that comes with being a working mom. While my partner and I both had professional responsibilities, the expectation often fell heavily on my shoulders to care for our babies. Whether it was carrying them during conference calls or finding innovative ways to work with them close by, the weight of childcare was disproportionately placed on me. It’s a juggling act that many working moms silently navigate, trying to meet professional demands while nurturing the little ones.
2. Silent Struggles and Unseen Solutions
Sometimes, the struggles of balancing work and family seem insurmountable. No one ever told me that despite the best communication with my partner, there would be moments of feeling stuck. It’s in these moments that the unspoken solutions emerge. I learned to embrace baby carriers, transform my standing desk into a makeshift workspace with a baby strapped to my back, and yes, even resort to the ingenious idea of a box filled with captivating toys. The unspoken truth is that finding unconventional solutions becomes a skill, born out of necessity and the drive to get the job done.
3. Coping with Limited Work Time: Embracing Fragmentation
With the constant interruptions that come with caring for a baby, no one ever told me that I would become adept at working in short, scattered bursts. I learned to embrace the idea of fragmented work, where 30-minute intervals became precious windows of productivity. Each interruption became an opportunity to master the art of focus and efficiency. This reality reshaped my approach to tasks, allowing me to chunk out work strategically and stay grounded amidst the chaos.
4. The Untold Toll on Mental Health
Transitioning into an office environment, I faced an unspoken expectation to hire help, despite managing alone for so long. The financial burden of securing a nanny took a toll on my mental health. No one ever told me that the emotional and financial pressures of securing childcare could be overwhelming. In response, I turned to holistic practices like yoga, gardening, and meditation to find solace. Nurturing my mental well-being became a crucial aspect of navigating the demands of both work and motherhood.
5. Building a Support Network: Real and Virtual Bonds
In the realm of working motherhood, no one ever told me how essential it is to build a support network. Whether connecting with friends in real life or fostering virtual bonds through platforms like Marco Polo, having a community makes all the difference. Sharing experiences, seeking advice, and simply knowing that you’re not alone in the journey can provide the emotional sustenance needed to thrive.
In essence, being a working mom is about more than just meeting deadlines and achieving professional milestones. It’s a delicate dance of finding creative solutions, coping with the unexpected, and building a robust support network. The unspoken truths of this journey reveal a resilience that defines the spirit of working moms everywhere.
With that being said, I never like to be one to vent without finding a solution. If you resonate with this piece, here are some solutions that I’ve implemented into my own life to save my sanity and help promote wellbeing in the best way I can with what I have.
10 Solutions for Navigating the Working Mom Life
1. Embrace the Power of Multitasking:
Instead of viewing chores as burdensome tasks, integrate them into your daily routine. For instance, use bath time as an opportunity to clean the bathroom. This not only ensures a tidy space but also maximizes productivity by overlapping responsibilities.
2. Turn Dinner into Quality Family Time:
Make the process of cooking dinner an enjoyable family experience. Turn on some music, invite the kids to dance, and transform a routine task into a lively occasion. This not only adds joy to daily chores but also allows for bonding moments with your children.
3. Create Special Moments After Dinner:
Carve out dedicated time after dinner for concentrated family activities. Whether it’s engaging in their favorite games, reading together, or pursuing creative projects, this hour becomes a cherished space for quality interaction.
4. Establish Structured Bedtimes:
Implementing strict bedtimes provides a sense of routine for both you and your children. While it ensures they get sufficient rest, it also carves out valuable time for your personal well-being. Consider allowing quiet, solo activities for older children, granting you moments of relaxation or work catch-up.
5. Invest in Home Help:
Consider allocating a portion of your budget to invest in home help. Whether it’s hiring a part-time cleaner or outsourcing certain tasks, this frees up precious time that can be redirected towards quality family moments, self-care, or professional responsibilities. Recognizing the value of your time and well-being is an investment in the overall harmony of your work and family life.
6. Bedtime Routine for Self-Care:
While maintaining strict bedtimes for the children, utilize the post-bedtime window for self-care. Whether it’s practicing yoga, catching up on work, or simply enjoying a moment of quiet, this intentional time for yourself becomes a crucial element in balancing the demands of a full-time job and motherhood.
7. Encourage Independent Play:
Foster a sense of independence in your children during quiet hours. For example, allow your oldest to color or read quietly in her room until she gets tired. This not only promotes self-sufficiency but also provides you with moments to focus on your own activities.
8. Plan Early Mornings Mindfully:
Prepare for early wake-ups by ensuring a restful evening routine. Create a calming pre-bedtime environment, avoiding stimulating activities, and allowing yourself the time to unwind. This thoughtful approach sets the tone for a mindful start to the day.
9. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity:
In a world filled with demands, prioritize the quality of time spent with your children over the quantity. By concentrating on meaningful interactions during dedicated moments, you create lasting memories and nurture a strong bond without feeling overwhelmed.
10. Delegate Responsibilities:
Recognize that you don’t have to do everything alone. Delegate age-appropriate responsibilities to your children, instilling a sense of contribution and shared responsibilities within the family. This not only lightens your load but also teaches valuable life skills.
Navigating the intricate dance of being a working mom requires a blend of creative solutions, intentional moments, and a recognition of the importance of self-care. These strategies not only help manage the demands but also create a nurturing environment where both your professional and family life can flourish.