When I was 4 months postpartum I remember driving home from work late at night and calling my best friend. I opened up to her about how I was struggling to find a good mom work life balance. The challenge of balancing pumping, breastfeeding, being my best self at work, the long list of household chores, and finding time for quality family time was overwhelming. She was the first person that finally helped me feel heard. I could tell she knew exactly how I was feeling and could actually give me some advice that could be really helpful.
Now as a mother of two children I feel that mom work life balance is even more important to keep my sanity. I have tried so many more tools and techniques to find that balance. If you are feeling overwhelmed and struggling to find balance in your life, consider applying some of these key tips.
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need to Find a Good Work Life Balance as a Mom?
If you don’t have a mom work life balance you can quickly find yourself in a state of burnout either at home, at work, or both. The constant exhaustion, sub par effort, and emotional distancing will take a toll on your work, home life, and self esteem.
Many women experience this and feel forced to make a permanent change by stepping away from the workplace. This was true for over 1 million women during the COVID 19 Pandemic. From February 2020-January 2022 these women made the choice to leave the workplace because the pressures of working from home with little to no childcare and balancing motherhood was just too much.
So as life gets back to normal how do we find balance to avoid burnout. Building a good mom work life balance starts with these 10 tips. There are many more things you can do to find balance, but these are just a starting point of things that have worked in my personal life as a nurse, entrepreneur, and mom of two.
10 Tips to Building Great Balance in your Life
Setting healthy boundaries allows you to be in control of where you spend your time and energy. For many women they could easily find themselves working all day or thinking about their family while at work. By setting boundaries at home and at work will give you the much needed reprieved from the stresses of both jobs.
As a nurse one of my favorite parts of my job is my ability to hand off my work load at the end of my shift. I give report to the oncoming nurse and they are now responsible for the care of those patients. Although I still thought about my patients I no longer felt the burden of their care. As I now pursue more entrepreneurial career goals I have had to set more clear boundaries at home and at work to separate the two.
At home I have made a rule that my phone will stay plugged in on the counter with the ringer on so that I can hear if someone needs to get ahold of me. I do this so I can be more present with my children when I am with them. I also set aside some time after I put my children to bed to check my emails and do any last minute task for work. I only allow myself to spend 30-60 minutes on these tasks in the evening. This boundaries allow me to have a more healthy balance of my work and family life.
Build Healthy Routines
Routines are what keep me functioning at a more productive version of myself. I have both morning and nightime routines to help me either jumpstart my productivity or wind down for bed. I try to keep my routines simple and short. This way the routine isn’t too overwhelming and is easily accomplished.
Example Nighttime Routine:
- Phones & tablets plugged in and out of bedroom 1 hour prior to bedtime
- 10 mins of stretching, yoga, or meditation
- wash face, moisturize, and brush teeth
- pray & play for the next day
- Read a book in bed
Schedule Dates With Spouse and Children
After having one child I quickly realized it was much harder to go on a date with my husband. Where I use to be able to just have a spontaneous date now, now required finding a babysitter that usually needed advanced notice. In order for our relationship to continue to stay strong through parenthood we needed to prioritize our relationship with regular scheduled dates.
When our second child was born I now realized how much I missed having one on one time with each of my kids. My poor oldest child now had to share all of her attention with her little brother, and the youngest didn’t know what undivided attention from mom even looked like. I decided I wanted to build a tradition that would continue as my children grew. My husband and I started planning one on one dates with our kids. Most dates are very simple but allow us to set aside an hour or two once a week with one child so each of us can give our children individual one on one attention.
- going to the museum, park, library, or zoo
- walk, hike, or bike ride
- lunch or dinner date
- movie night, baking cookies, or crafts at home
Prioritize Most Important Tasks
It’s easy to end up with a long daily to do list. If you want to achieve any semblance of sanity, you will learn to set a few priority actions for the day and not stress about getting the whole list complete. When I am with my children I find it almost impossible to get my to do list complete.
When I become too focused with getting my to do list complete I see poor behaviors come out in my children and myself. I tend to get short tempered, yell more frequently, and become overwhelmed easily. They often have difficulty listening to me, follow instructions, or playing well with each other. Both their behaviors and mine are due to neither of us are getting what we want. I want to get things done and my children simply want to connect with me. By being realistic and just setting a few key priorities for the day I am more likely to feel accomplished by the end of the day rather than frustrated.
Divvy Up or Outsource Household Chores
Household chores can become overwhelming when you are working as well. The unending laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, doctors appointments, and children’s activities can be way too much for one person to handle. Running a household is a full time job on it’s own.
One thing our family strives to do is divvy up our responsibilities so it doesn’t all rest on my shoulders as a parent. My husband likes grocery shopping and is much better at finding deals. He took on the responsibility to put together our weekly meals and do all the grocery shopping. He makes dinner 3 nights a week and I take the other nights. Knowing that I don’t have to worry about it takes a huge burden off my todo list every week.
We also like to outsource some of our regular tasks. Instead of sending our children to daycare we have an in home nanny. She cares for our children, provides meals, and cleans our house a few days a week. This allows us to spend more time present with our children at home instead of having to find time to pack lunches and clean our house as frequently. We are also saving money by having someone come to our home and provide additional services versus sending our children to a daycare.
- Grocery Delivery Services
- Lawn care service or hire a neighborhood teenager
- Hire a handyman to get some home projects completed that don’t have time to get to
- organize school pickup with other moms so you take turns picking up the kids
- Meal Prep or Meal delivery service
Prioritize Self Care
Often as mothers we forget ourselves or put ourselves last. However, to be the best mom, wife, and working mom we have to prioritize our own self care. Self care doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming it just has to fill us up. So sit down and make a list of things that help you feel better.
This is my personal self care list:
- Face mask & bath
- Girls night without kids
Once you make your list take the time to schedule in those activities in your weekly schedule.
Quality Reliable Care Providers
Every parent needs 1-2 quality babysitters or daycare options to help you when you need some much needed child free time. We all love our kids but if you can’t trust someone else to care for your children from time to time you will burn out. Especially, if you are also trying to manage a full time job as well.
I also think it is beneficial for our children to learn that other adults can be safe and get an opportunity to interact with other children. It can be hard to find a reliable child care option without breaking the bank. Use your creativity and try to stick within your budget.
My children have fallen in love with some of our caregivers and vice versa. The relationships and memories they have built have been so worth the investment.
Cut Back on Social Media
Many moms worry about how much screen time their children get, but do we ever stop to think about the effect of screens on ourselves. Instagram, tik tok, twitter, and facebook are just some of the social media apps that we often turn to as we decompress or unwind from our day. Are they actually helping us destress or are they increasing the stress, anxiety, and mom guilt that we feel.
Not a lot of research has been done on the effects of social media on mothers, but some research supports that it can cause us to feel inadequate about our parenting when comparing yourself to other mothers. Instead of escaping from the world it could be increasing our stress and anxiety
I personally stepped away from all my social media accounts. I deleted them all from my phone and can only access them on my computer. Because of this I only get on these accounts when I have a specific purpose. I have found that I am more present with my children, I feel more confident as my role as a mother, and have invested more time on in person relationships that actually bring me more joy.
Surround Yourself with Positive Support Network
It takes a village to not only raise a child but to support a family. As a working mom you need a solid village of support around you. Everyone’s village will look a little different. Building your village starts with taking a look around you and assessing who you know and if you can rely on them.
- Do you have family members close by you can rely on (parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins)?
- Which of your friends do you have a relationship with that you could call on them in need?
- Which community groups or social groups have members or services that you could connect with (neighbors, church, support group, etc)?
- Paid assistance (nanny, babysitter, support staff, etc)?
Once you have assessed who is someone you can count on as part of your village you can begin to fill in the gaps. Reconnect with family members, build new friendships, join a community group, or get to know a new babysitter. Building up that network takes some time and effort, but the support you receive will give you more time and energy back into your everyday life.
Get Up Before Your Kids
One of my biggest mom work life balance tips is getting up before my children. I use to stay up late after my kids were in bed with the idea that I would get so much done. In reality I was so tired I usually just spent hours mindlessly scrolling social media or watching TV.
After making some changes I now go to bed around 9-10 pm and get up an hour or two before my children. I am usually more energized and can fit in a morning workout, self care time, a little work, or even check some things off my to do list. It isn’t always easy, but I’m now getting more done while getting more sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
Being a working mom is not easy and finding mom work life balance can be part of that challenge. Using these 10 tips has improved my personal mom work life balance. I no longer feel like my heading is barely above water. I am starting to find real joy in my work and family life. Finding balance is a constant lifelong pursuit, but making slight adjustments when things get out of balance can get you back on track.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.