When you're a working mom, the juggle is real. You're constantly trying to balance mom life and work life and then you need to overcome the working mom guilt that likes to hang around all the time. As a working mom of four kiddos, I've learned a few things over the years that I want to share with you in this post when it comes to not just surviving working mom life, but thriving in it. I've broken them down into four pillars. If you adopt these into your daily life, you will be able to handle anything life throws at you, any stressor, any guilt, any surprise (welcomed or not), ANYTHING with calm, ease, and balance. Yes, it can be done. Read on, mama.
Now, when it comes to mindset, I want to start with this: having a positive mindset doesn’t mean you need to be positive all the time. You are allowed to have bad days. Life ebbs and flows. If you were winning every single day, that would start to not really feel like winning. That would start to just feel like life. So, for anyone who believes having a positive mindset must mean I’m positive all the time, it’s just not true. What is true is that you recognize in situations that might be hard, there’s a silver lining, there’s a reason, there is something there that you can draw from to bring you to a better headspace. And a simple way to do this is to simple replace the words have to with the words get to.
For example: I have to work tonight because I was busy taking care of my sick kid during the day vs. I get to work tonight because I was able to be there for my kid when he needed me most.
Do you see the difference here?
The more you practice doing this, the more habitual this is going to feel and the more habitual it feels, kind of like what I said with winning, the more it’s just going to feel like life to you and you’ll be going through it with a mindset that will help you tremendously, even through the challenging times.
OK, self care. Let’s talk about it. First, I want to ask—what does self care mean to you? What I often hear from moms is that self care is a mani-pedi or a massage or a vacation, and don’t get me wrong, those things absolutely count as self care. Yes, a good mani-pedi for me or massage or a vacation checks off self care in my book any given day. But, self care can also be a lot of other things. Self care can be journaling or creative writing or blogging. It can be exercising or taking a nap. It can be organizing your closet. It can be working on your side hustle. Self care looks different to different people on different days in different seasons, maybe even at different times of day. And self care probably looks different to you on different days or even at different times of day. Basically, self care is whatever makes you feel whole again. I would highly encourage you to think of all the things that make you feel good, make you feel fulfilled. Is it reading? Is it decluttering and organizing your closet? Is it journaling or creative writing? Is it going for a run or a hike? Is it meditating? The important thing is that after you do it, you feel refreshed.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. If you are not filling your cup with some form of self care every single day, it’s going to start to evaporate. It’s going to get all dried up and like a flower. It’s going to start to lose petals and lose drive and lose motivation to want to keep going. As moms, we are all by nature helpful people, we can often forget to take care of ourselves and just focus on others around us who need support. And the bottom line is if you don’t feel good, you can’t do good. If you’re not at optimal capacity, how can you give optimal service to those around you? Every airline is not wrong when they say—”put your oxygen mask on first”….so you can in turn help those around you. Take care of you so you can best take care of others, especially when a crisis or problem happens in your life.
Pillar #3: Self Awareness
You may think you know yourself well enough, but what I think is:
A) there is always more to learn
B) you are always evolving and changing, so don’t stop learning!
The easiest and simplest way to learn about yourself is to just stop and notice. As moms, our brains are often so cluttered, maybe even hoarder status, with a lot of dates to remember, tasks to complete, events to attend, lists to check off. That mental load is HEAVY. Clearing some space to just stop and be present helps us get centered, get grounded, and notice what’s happening internally.
How we’re responding to things.
How we’re reacting to things.
Patterns that are coming up in regular behaviors.
One big reason when I created the Word To Your Mother: A Mama’s Guide to Journal Today and Slay Tomorrow was to ensure moms gave themselves those few minutes of reflection a day to notice those things. So, even for moms (like me btw) who aren’t necessarily avid journalers or great meditators, we can still gain the benefits of taking a few minutes a day to dig into that space and create more self awareness.
Another way to really learn more about yourself is to take an assessment and there are so many options out there to choose from. There’s the DISC, the Enneagram, the Love Languages, the Languages of Appreciation, just to name a few. Many of these are free just by googling and will spit out results to you almost instantaneously.
So, what’s the big deal with knowing who you are, like who you really are as a person? Well, the more you know about you, the better you can communicate, the deeper your relationships will be, the more resilient you’ll be able to be when it comes to handling whatever stressors life throws at you. If you know you, you know the best way to handle things without ruffling your feathers. Think about it. You likely know many people in your life this well. Their behaviors are often predictable for you and by knowing that you’ll often choose how or when or what you share with them to make the situation more comfortable or beneficial. Get to know yourself and I promise you, you will be able to live a happier life no matter what happens.
Communication is , in my honest opinion, the most important foundational skill you can have in life. Good communication will bring you almost everything you want in life, from a healthy relationship with your partner to a good deal on a new car to maybe even some better cooperation from your toddler, although I wouldn’t necessarily put money on that one. I have an amazing formula that has helped hundreds of mamas I’ve worked with, getting them what they need more effectively, more efficiently without the frustration, stress, and fighting that comes along when you’re feeling resentful or alone or like the weight of this mom life is on your shoulders. It's called the AYY mami method. I LOVE this because it’s super simple—just 3 steps, and like I said, it works!
The A stands for Ask. Literally, that’s it. Ask for what you need. And to break this down even further, ask specifically for what you need. Don’t be vague. Don’t be indirect. Just ask point blank for the exact thing you need. For example, if you’re feeling like you don’t get enough help around the house, ask for that support. But don’t just say, “Hey, will you help me clean up the house?” Say, “Hey will you vacuum the floors or will you wash the dishes or will you fold the laundry?” Be specific and ask for what you need.
The first Y is for why. Why do you need what you’re asking for? Tell the person that. Tell them the reason so they really understand how helpful this request will be for you. For example, "I am finding it so hard to keep up with the laundry and household chores. I’m feeling really overwhelmed".
The last Y stands for you, and I don’t mean you, reader. I mean you, the person you’re talking to. When you’re communicating a request to anyone, you should always ask yourself, what’s in it for you (and again, I mean them). What’s in it for them? Are they going to get extreme satisfaction folding that laundry because they LOVE laundry? Probably not. So, what can you do to make this request one they wouldn’t want to refuse. Can you offer something in return? Can you sweeten the deal? For example, “You can watch sports while you fold that laundry and have full control of the remote. I will not argue with you about watching Real Housewives of Anywhere—promise.” Or “If you help me with this, I’ll help you with that.” You get what I’m saying, right?
Ok, so we have hit our 4 pillars that will help us through that juggle of working mom life. I am just scratching the surface with these pillars in this post, and there is a lot more on this that we dive into in my Time MOMagement program. If you know me, you know I focus a lot on time management, but here’s the thing, mama, the best way to be productive, the best way to slay the day, the best way to get shit done, is to feel good doing it. If you don’t feel good, you can’t do good. So focusing on these areas and really elevating our mood, our systems, our demeanor, our aura, our environment, our relationships, our physical and mental health, our understanding, our knowledge, all of this—is absolutely crucial if we want to be the best version of ourselves and ultimately live our best life. If you want to learn more and dive even deeper into concepts like these and learn how to slay the day and feel damn good doing it, mama, I would love to have you join Time MOMagement.