working mom

Part 3: Tips for Working Moms 

Here we are at the final part of the series on tips for working moms. We have talked already about mindset, prioritizing, and removing distractions in part 1 which you can find here. In part 2, we discussed practical tasks that can make family time run more smoothly. You can find that article here. In this final post, we will discuss essential things that should be included in your schedule to make you a happy healthy mom. We will also talk about why they are so important. Sometimes as working moms we feel like we need to spend 100% of our time outside of work with our kids. We can feel like time out for ourselves or with our significant other will only decrease our quality time with our kids even more. The thing is, if we don't nurture our relationship with our spouses and ourselves, we may have increased time with our kids but far less quality.

If you spend more time with your kids but don't take anytime for yourself, your kids get a crankier, more exhausted you. It's better to take some time out so you can be your best self. The following tips are things that need to be included in your monthly calendar to be your happiest self.

1. Spend Time with Your Partner

This is important for so many reasons. Firstly, it's important to let your partner know that they are still an essential part of your life even though you have kids.  They need to feel important and wanted as well.  Spending quality time with your partner can help you relax.  Take a break from talking about kids and stresses and bills and just enjoy each other's company.  This helps you promote a healthy relationship between the two of you.  This is important not only for yourselves, but it is also important to model healthy relationships for your children.

Secondly, alone time with your partner helps you get on the same page as far as the kids.  Know what their current favorite thing is, or what they are having trouble with in school.  You want to discuss how you are handling different situations with your kids so can have consistent behavior.

Lastly, you need to have intimate time with your partner.  This is essential to a healthy, happy relationship.  Sometimes you might feel exhausted from your day and just not be in the mood.  Do it anyway.  You will get in the mood.  A lot of the time, it's one of those things where you can fake it til you make it.  It brings you closer to your partner and can reduce stress, the very thing that was preventing you from getting in the mood in the first place.

Try to plan at least a couple date nights during the month, have a few evenings to chat about family stuff, and be intimate as much as possible.

2. Fit in Some "Me Time"

The unhappiest, most depressed moms are the ones who feel like they are constantly giving.  They give to their job, their children, their spouses, their family, their community.  They lose themselves by taking on the happiness and well being of everyone else.  They put themselves last.

This is an absolutely terrible idea.  In order to be the best mom you can be, you should be happy and fulfilled.  People can tell when you are faking it, especially kids.  By fitting in a little me time, you can renew your whole energy. It doesn't have to be a weekend away at the spa to be effective.  It just has to be something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

I love dance; it is my passion.  When I am not pregnant I rehearse and perform with a dance company.  This is my time to do something just for me.  We rehearse one day a week, a few weeks a month and perform a few times a year.  This is something I need in my life to be my happiest self. Sometimes I feel bad leaving Tyler behind with grandma when I leave to rehearse, but I always feel reinvigorated after rehearsal.  I'm excited to see him and he's excited to see me.

You might take some time out during the week for a group fitness class and enjoy the community of other women.  Maybe its a mani/pedi at the nail salon. Maybe a monthly brunch with your girlfriends.  Whatever it is that makes you happy and feel like yourself, make time for it.  It can only make you a better mom.  Your kids will thank you for it later!!

3. Plan Specific Family Time Activities

I know you love your kids.  I love mine too.  But sometimes after a long day, I cannot keep up with the sporadic switching from activity to activity and game to game.  I want to spend time with Tyler, but I'm tired.  Especially now at 38 weeks pregnant, going from puzzles to Legos to Mashems to puppets to everything else all in one evening just makes my head hurt thinking about it.

One or 2 nights a week plan specific family time activities.  Tell your kids ahead of time, so its something to look forward to.  for example you can have an Star Wars movie night.  Make popcorn and get them in their favorite Darth Vader jammies. Enjoy the movie together as a family. You get to spend time together and it feels like its an event for the kids.

You can plan a family game night.  Play Candy land and have the different candies from the game.  If you land on that area of the board you get the candy.  You can make or buy gingerbread men and decorate them together.  You might play Candy Land all the time, but this makes it a special event.

Little things you can do to make an ordinary event a little more special will be greatly appreciated by your kids.

I really hope you enjoyed this series of tips for working moms.  I know I enjoyed putting the articles together.  We can't be perfect all the time.  Some months things come up and we might miss a date night, or my me time might get short changed. We might let mom guilt slip in once in a while or we might accidentally double book a date.  But if we make an effort to work on these 9 tips, we will be happier, healthier, better, more loving moms.

In light of the upcoming birth of baby Hailey, on Friday, we will be talking about the transition from one to two kids.  Since I do not yet have experience with this, I have compiled interviews from a few bloggers and we will be hearing their advice on how to get through this change.  I will see you then.

Cheers,

Emily

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Part 2: Tips for Working Moms

It's time for part 2 of our 3 part series of tips for working moms. If you missed part one, you can find it here.  Last time we discussed tips relating to mindset. We lost the guilt, found jobs that fit our priorities, and minimized distractions. Our next three tips involve things you can do to maximize your enjoyment of your time with your family. These are not new ideas, but you may not have previously considered how these habits will help improve family time.

1. Prep for your family's day the night before

This can be a hard habit to get into. At the end of a long day of work and family time, you just want to relax. However, a little prep in the evening can make for a far more enjoyable morning.

If you are not a morning person, getting yourself ready in the morning can be a struggle. Add kids and it only gets more hectic and chaotic. You are on a time table and a lot of things need to happen before you head out the door. Many of these things can be done or at least prepped the night before.

For school aged kids, have them pack their backpack the night before immediately upon finishing their homework. There is no reason it needs to stay out and this means they can just grab and go in the morning. Have them also set out their clothes for the next day. This makes for less of a struggle the next morning when they have to get dressed. If you pack lunch for them, try to pack it the night before so again, it is something you can grab and go.

For kids in daycare, you can make sure their bag is packed and their clothes are laid out the night before. Also have your own bag packed and clothes laid out the night before. This makes mornings run far more smoothly. You can't completely avoid hiccups, but you can minimize them.

How does this maximize family time? It makes you less stressed in the morning. Your kids get to see you happier and relaxed when you start your day together. When you are away from the house for most of the day, you don't want the time you do spend  together to be rushed and stressed. This includes the morning. With all this prep work done the night before, you may even have time to sit and have breakfast together. What a great way to motivate you through your day after having already had some quality family time in the morning!

2. Create a Family Calendar

I won't go over the practical steps to actually create such a calendar as I already have a whole post about it here. Instead, I will talk about why it's so important for working moms and dads.

Having everyone on the same page is essential for busy families. Calendars should be updated immediately upon notification of new events. This helps prevent conflicts and over scheduling. Prioritize family activities, make sure your kids know that their activities are important to you.

For our family, I work days and my husband works nights and weekends. Therefore, on any evening my husband happens to be off, we try to maximize our time together. Sometimes this has to be time to get things done around the house, but we try to make sure we have family time as well. For his weekend days off, we try to ensure we do some family activity like a trip to the park or the zoo.

Try not to double book, if possible. If your kids have an event make a point of not scheduling something for yourself. One of the most important parts of being a working mom is making sure your kids know that they come first. Emergencies happen, but if you generally make it to their events, it's easier to accept the one or two times when that's not possible.

3. Stay Connected During the Day

It's hard to focus when we are preoccupied with other things.  If we are at work and thinking about what we are missing at home, we will be less efficient and less happy.  Missing the kids can be a major distraction.

Some days I can easily get through my work day and then I'm ready for family time when I get home.  Other days I miss my peanut during the day and wish I could just be home seeing what he is up to. If I dwell on that all day, I'll never get my work done. I am a big proponent of recharging your battery. One way to do it is a quick chat with the kids.

On the days where I miss the little guy, a quick FaceTime call can really turn the day around. A few minutes chat with T and hearing about his day can really fill my cup. It also helps him feel like he has seen me more during the day. If your kids are in school, get a quick update on how the school day was in the afternoon. These few minutes of break time can allow you to focus better and actually get more done during your day.

I hope you find these tips helpful. These are concrete things you can do to help ensure that family time is enjoyable. They are little practical tips that can reduce your stress when you are around your family. In the last part of the series, we will discuss ways to maintain good relationships with your family and yourself. You can look forward to seeing that post on Tuesday.

In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!!

Cheers,

Emily

P.S. You can find Part 3 of this series here.

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Part 1: Tips For Working Moms

Being a working mom is hard. Being a stay at home mom is hard too.  However, since I am not a stay at home mom, I don't really have as much insight into that lifestyle.  I do however, have experience as a working mom and I have learned a lot about how to stress less and enjoy both work and family.  The following will be a 3 part series of tips for working moms.  These tips are key for enjoying being a working mom and finding balance in your life.  Here are the first 3 tips to help ease the stress of being a working mom.  These 3 relate to your time at work.

1. Stop Feeling Guilty

It is so easy to feel guilty about being away from your home and your kids.  When your kids are young, you have guilt about missing out on their new discoveries and their activities each day.  As they get older you fell guilt about not being able to go on every class trip or having to send them to an after school program.  The thing is, this guilt does nothing for you, or your kids.  In order to combat this guilt, here is a quick project you can do that can help you again and again.  Take out your phone and in the notes section make a list of all the benefits to your family that you provide by being a working mom.  I'll start you out:

  1. You are helping provide for your family financially
  2. You are providing an example of a strong, hardworking woman
  3. You are able to have balance with adult time and kids time
  4. You are able to appreciate your time with your kids that much more
  5. Daughters of working moms are more likely to obtain more education and get higher paying jobs
  6. Sons of working moms are more likely to help around the house and be attentive to their children
  7. You are less likely to lose your identity due to your children

You can feel free to continue this list with the financial, practical and emotional benefits of being a working mom. Whenever you are feeling guilty about being at work and missing time with the kids, you can pull out your list and really read it.  Remind yourself of how important it is that you are a working mom and what benefits you are providing to your family.

2. Find a job/company that matches your priorities

When you first graduate and start looking for a job, you might jump at the first company willing to hire you.  You may accept longer hours or a longer commute or any other countless minor inconveniences that are simply not as important when you are young and single.  My first full time job was in NJ while I lived in the Bronx, NY.  The commute was ridiculous, but I liked the job, my co workers, and my pay.

However, as I approached getting married and starting a family I knew my priorities would be changing, so I started looking for a new job.  I found a position still in my field but much closer to home.  Instead of spending 2.5-3 hours of my day commuting, I now commute 20-30 minutes a day.  In fact, I work so close to home that I go home for lunch most days.  My current company also has more days off and summer Fridays.  They prioritize family and allow me to take time off to do things with the kids without feeling guilty about missing a day of work.

Every company and every field of work is different.  Not every job will have the benefits my job does and my job has its drawbacks as well.  There are a few occasions where I can be called out to work after hours or on weekends.  This is rare, but it does happen.  You should find a job that works best for you and your family.

3. Limit distractions at home and at work

When you are in the office, it is easy to get distracted from your work.  You want to catch up on the latest gossip or discuss the last episode of the Walking Dead.  Sometimes you might get distracted by social media.  It is important to limit these distractions as much as possible.  Now I'm not saying you need to be anti-social and never bond with your co-workers, but pick and choose when you will do it.

Say a quick good morning to everyone when you come in and then get down to business.  Chat with your co-workers at lunch or after you have completed a major task as a quick break.  Set a timer on your phone to vibrate after a few minutes to remind yourself to get back to work.  An important part of maintaining work life balance is ensuring that you can complete your work during the work day.  This allows you to maximize your time with your family at home.

My boss works on weekends and late nights a lot.  He's single and lives by himself.  While he does have a heavy workload, some of it he does to himself.  He will regularly sit and chat with people about the amount of work he has to do, or run to the store for coffee when we have a coffee maker here.  If getting your work done during the work day is a priority, then you need to limit your distractions so that you can do just that.

Limiting distractions is also important at home.  When spending time with your kids, you want to give them your undivided attention.  Checking a quick email or social media account is not the end of the world, but try to limit this as much as possible to when the kids are asleep.

I will acknowledge that this is not always possible.  For example, I generally try to do my grad school homework after bedtime, but when it's finals time, sometimes I need a little extra study time.  This might cut into family time a bit.  It happens.  Let's just try to ensure that it doesn't become a habit.

An important task for working moms is to make sure our kids know that they are our priority.  Work is for work and home is for family.  When we are at home, family is the priority and work is the distraction.  We should never allow our kids to feel like its the other way around.

I hope that you found these tips helpful.  The next set of tips will be coming on Friday and they will revolve around practical things you can do to  maximize your enjoyment of family time.  I will see you then!

Cheers,

Emily

P.S. You can find Part 2 of this Series here.

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5 Steps to Start Your Day Right

We've all had days where we wish we never got out of bed. You get dressed and then spill coffee on your shirt right as you are heading out the door. Or you leave home without the diaper bag. Or anything else that sets you up on the wrong foot. Here are 5 steps to help you start your day right and be able to overcome obstacles.

Get a good night's sleep. It may seem like I do a lot, and I do. Between work, grad school, teaching dance, blogging, my non-profit and family life, I have a lot on my plate. But I always try to get between 7-7.5 hours of sleep each night. That means going to bed by 10:30 to be up at 6.

There's no way around it. Getting a good night's sleep provides you with energy for the day, helps keep your mind clear, and even helps prevent the munchies. When you are well rested, you don't need snacks to keep you up! This is key for a productive day. A good night's sleep is never a waste of time!

Make your to do list. If you read last Friday's post, you know that I am a big proponent of to do lists and I showed you just how I make mine. Whether you do it in the morning or the night before, having a to do list ensures that you know what you need to get done that day.

It helps keep you focused and feel less stressed. You can even split the process. Do the brain dump the night before and then choose your 3 to dos in the morning when you are clear headed.

Exercise in the morning. Does that sound like torture? It shouldn't. Find an exercise you love and do it. I like a mix of weights and cardio. It makes me feel strong and helps me work up a sweat.

Exercise should make you feel energized when you are done, not exhausted. This sets you up for burning extra calories throughout your day, helps clear your mind, helps you fall asleep better at night, reduces your hunger and is great for your figure. You really can't beat that.

Even at 32 weeks pregnant, I'm working out daily. I've modified my workouts of course, but I work out and feel empowered for my day.

Eat a healthy breakfast. I’m not telling you what time your first meal of the day is, but whenever it is, it should be healthy. Some healthy proteins and fats can set you on the right track. Maybe even some oatmeal, or a green smoothie, or how about egg and avocado on whole wheat toast! There are plenty of options that taste good and are good for you.

Spend some time each morning playing with your kids. I get up at 6 am have my workout, shower and get dressed. Then it's time for breakfast with Tyler. He gets up around 7 am so we have a good 1.5 hours before I have to leave at 8:30 am.

Now part of that time is making and eating breakfast and doing my hair possibly. However, I make it a point to have some time where we just play together. Then when I head off to work, knowing that we already had some quality time together no matter what the rest of the day has in store does wonders for me.

Things may change when #2 comes and later when Tyler starts school, but for the past 3 years we have played together every morning and it's a great way to start my day.

What to you do to get yourself on the right track in the morning? Share your tips in the comments!!

Cheers,

Emily

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Make Dinner Fast and Easy

Make Dinner Fast and Easy

As a busy mom who works full time, sometimes its hard to motivate yourself to cook a full meal or even cook in the first place after a full day of work.  We need go to ways to make dinner fast and easy. Sometimes dads are able to pitch in. Sadly, in my house that is not the case. My husbands culinary skills are not the most robust. He can boil water and make a mean grilled cheese though...

The Liebster Award

I am very excited and honored to have received a Liebster Award, which recognizes new bloggers. The award is given to new bloggers from other bloggers with less than 200 followers. It’s a fabulous way to show encouragement and support to the blogging community. I began creating my blog in August, and I'm just starting to promote and talk about its contents because well, I am a busy mom! I was nominated by Eileen who writes an awesome food and family blog called everydayeileen.com! Eileen has great recipes some of which I have pinned myself, and her story is truly inspiring! I highly advise you all to please check out her blog site everydayeileen.com and like her on social media! She is awesome! The rules, or guidelines, if you will, for the nominees of a Liebster Award are:

Post your award to your blog. Answer the questions that were given by the person nominating you. Nominate a small group of other new bloggers you’ve discovered. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer. Thank the blogger who nominated you, and link back to their blog.

1 What three pieces of advice would you offer to other new bloggers?

My 3 pieces of advice would be:

1) Just start! you can worry about making your site pretty and adding cool features little my little. The important thing is to get your content out there.

2) Be consistent. It's hard, but regular posts keep people interested and lets new viewers know that this is something you are actively working on. It makes them more likely to subscribe. Even if your post just says I don't have time for a post, you are showing that you are active and aware that a post was due.

3) Have a good mix of fun and content! People come to the internet for info, so you need to provide useful content. But every post doesn't have to be strictly informative. Share fun stories and show that while you have great info, you are a person too!!

2 How did you come up with the idea or theme of your blog?

As a busy mom, it just made sense to share what I have learned about balancing life, family, work, and everything else. I don't know if I'm an expert, but I have definitely learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way.  I have always been super busy/involved, so some of these tips come from my pre-mom life, but all of it is useful now!!

3 What is something you would like to do with your blog that you have not done yet?

Eventually, I would like to have guest posts to expose my audience to other talented bloggers.  I hope to also have the opportunity to post on other blogs down the line.

4 Where would you like to see your blog in one year?

In a year, I hope to have a healthy following and have shared lots of useful advice with my audience.  I am also working on 2 books that I hope to promote here and elsewhere!!

5 What is the average length of time you spend on preparing a blog post?

Generally, about an hour or two including adding pics, and tags and headlines, etc..

6 How much time during the day do you spend on your blog?

I try to post about 2 times a week.  I also send out a weekly newsletter which can take up to an hour to put together. On the rest of the days, I just come on to check comments and messages.

7 Has has social media helped you with growing your blog, and if so, what is your favorite form of social media?

Somewhat, I am still working on that end.  My favorite form is Facebook. Twitter is too fleeting.  You post something and its pushed down the feed in seconds.  I also really like Pinterest for sharing posts.

8 Describe yourself using three words!

silly, smart, ambitious

9 What has been your biggest blogging challenge?

At this point, I'd say getting exposure.  This early on, finding topics to post about is easy.  The difficulty is getting these posts in front of the targeted audience, busy moms.  Some moms feel they are too busy to sit and read blogs, so I try to keep my posts short but informative with a healthy dose of humor!

10 How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?

I motivate myself with the knowledge that I have something important and useful to share. Even if each post only helps one person, that one person is better off.  I recently had someone tell me that they loved one of my posts and they would be using the info.  Hearing positive feedback in definitely motivating as well!!

So, drumroll please!!! Here are my nominees for the Liebster Award, I really ask that you all check out these websites! These bloggers are providing some great information and I am really impressed with their content, and when you do check out their sites, share the love by subscribing to their blogs or liking their Facebook page, Twitter, etc…

Tassika, www.tassika.com - a motivating blog by a strong and talented woman and author

Katie, www.katiejoyphotographyny.com - a fantastic blog about family and photography.

Here are my questions for you all!

1 Please tell us about yourself and your blog?

2 What inspired you to create your blog?

3 What three pieces of advice would you offer to other new bloggers? (That was such a great question, I had to pass it on.)

4 What is something you would like to do with your blog that you have not done yet?

5 Where would you like to see your blog in one year?

6 Who are some of your favorite bloggers and why?

7 What are your current top 5 favorite things?

8 Describe yourself using three words!

9 What has been your biggest blogging challenge?

10 How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?

Congrats to the new nominees! These are some great sites everyone should go check out. And once again, thanks to Eileen www.everydayeileen.com !

I am looking forward to following these bloggers and can’t wait to see what they will be posting about next!!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers