The working mom’s survival guide: 7 tips for work-life balance

January 20, 2014 4:21 PM by

Whether you're getting ready for baby for the first time or it's your third pregnancy, one of your chief concerns in the coming months will be figuring out how you're going to manage a work-life balance now that you're a new mom. Juggling a successful career and the responsibilities of motherhood isn't always easy, but the good news is that there's plenty of help for pregnant women looking for solutions. In addition to looking to your family and friends for help and delving into online resources, consider this list of tips for working moms. They'll help you manage stress, take care of tasks and be a great mother to your baby.

1. Banish guilt
Many new moms feel guilty when they have to return to work after a pregnancy. It's understandable that you'd feel bad about leaving your child each day, but you have to remember that you're doing it for a reason. Working not only helps you feel accomplished and builds your self-esteem, but it ensures that your family can afford not only the necessities, but extra things that will enrich your child's life, like vacations, classes and birthday parties. Leave guilt at the door, and reach out to a support group if you need to talk to others who are in your shoes.

2. Develop a routine
Nothing's more important than coming up with a routine for your family to follow each day. From waking up, to bathing, to eating breakfast, to heading to daycare or school, make sure your mornings go smoothly to get off on the right foot. Have a set schedule of afternoon activities, too, whether it's picking your child up from daycare or school, heading to after-school activities like sports or music practice, or hitting the gym yourself. Then have a clear-cut dinner and bedtime routine – and remember to relax afterward!

3. Find good childcare
Childcare is important, and you'll want to find the best option for your baby. This could be one of your family members or that of your partner's, or a friend or neighbor who's willing to lend a hand. You might want to hire a care provider to come to your home, or enroll your child in a trusted daycare center. Do your research, have interviews and make sure that you and your child are getting what you need. Ask people you know for recommendations if you need a place to start.

4. Ask about a flexible schedule
These days, more people are getting the option to work from home, and employers are becoming much more accepting of flexible schedules. Ask your boss about options, whether it's working longer hours four days a week so you can have the fifth off, working from home every once in a while or working solely from your home office. In many cases, your needs can be met. Just make sure you have a good setup at your house that's conducive to productivity – you'll probably still need childcare even if you're working from home.

5. Get organized
From your schedule to your home, organization is key. Invest in a life planner where you can jot down everything that needs to get done, from defrosting tonight's dinner to bringing your child to swimming class. Then, create a central command center in your home. A wall calendar will show everyone what's happening and when, and you should also have a folder to put important documents in nearby. Your keys and other daily necessities should also have a place in this area for easy access.

6. Make time for your family
Even when you've got a lot going on at work, it's essential to carve out plenty of bonding time for your family. This includes romantic nights with your partner, from dinners out to date nights in. You should also plan activities with your child, like going on an outing or even something simple like family game night or pizza and a movie night. This will give you all something to look forward to each week and ensure that you're spending quality time with everyone.

7. Don't forget about "me" time
Stress won't help anyone, but if you're constantly trying to get everyone else's needs taken care of before your own, it's easy to build it up. Remember to take time outs every now and then to focus on things that make you happy. It could be reading a chapter or two of a book before bed every night, indulging in a weekly manicure or pedicure or having a glass of wine after work. No matter what you do, make sure that you get enough peace so you can recharge and de-stress. This will give you the strength to give it your all at work and make strides when it comes to being a great mom.

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