The hardest job on earth isn’t just one job. It’s having many jobs, wearing different hats and trying to do your best in every one. That’s what a working mom has to do: first, she is a mom, that person who is responsible for every aspect of her children’s life. But she also is an employee, spending her time being responsible for a job that usually takes her away from her home and children. The busyness, the constant feeling of guilt and the lack of time are pressures that occur daily in a working mom’s day.
My heart goes out to these brave women, especially the single moms. They are usually the only adult in their child’s life responsible for raising and providing for them and the stress is tremendous.
If you are a working mom, then now is the time to stop and review everything you are responsible for and see what you can remove, what you can delegate and what will work to keep you sane, healthy and able to do the best for your children:
1. Take the time to streamline your work desk and your desk at home. Update your calendar and your to-do list and see what you can change to make your life easier.
2. See if there is any service available that you can utilize that will give you more time: as a cleaning service; free babysitters provided by your church; a group of other moms who may get together and cook future meals; a trusted handyman that you could count on to help with home repairs.
3. Have a chore or responsibility designated for each evening. As examples: Monday, cook a large meal to be used as left-over’s during the week. Tuesday, wash, dry and put away clothes. Wednesday, vacuum and dust house. Thursday, take care of any home projects (like cleaning out a closet) that need to be done. Friday, reserved for nothing but children! And Saturday, set apart for fun or if you prefer, chores done so you don’t have to do them during the week. Sunday, a day of worship and rest.
4. Do all you can to take care of your health: get enough rest each night, eat healthy, stay in touch with friends and family, have some type of movement each day (walking, yoga, etc.) and have a quiet time with the Lord.
5. Keep your children as your number one priority. Block time each day for as much one on one time as you can. The best tip I can give is to read to them every day.
6. When you are at work, don’t think about what you should be doing or what you are missing at home. Give your work 100%. Then, when you are home, do the same about not thinking about work. Of course, there will be times when you must bring work home. But try to do this work after your children go to bed.
7. At home, block off time for your children and husband. DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN NOT TO BE ON YOUR CELL PHONE OR EMAIL OR TEXTING WHEN IT’S FAMILY TIME! Children feel that they are not important when we are engaged in these activities. Even when driving them to activities or school, keep off the phone and use this time to either talk to them or to listen to what they say to their siblings or friends.
8. At work, block off time for the different responsibilities you have as early morning, late morning, early afternoon and late afternoon. That way you have four sections of time to use wisely, so set up your to-do list along with these sections of time. And, before you leave for the day, write out a list of what you should do in the first 30 minutes the next morning.
9. Do not open your email throughout the day. Have a set time for email, a set time for phone calls and a set time for projects. If an email takes more time to read and handle, move it to a special folder to take care of later. You will keep your inbox cleaned up and you will feel less pressure.
10. Understand that no one can do everything! And no one can do everything well. God has seasons in our life for a purpose. While you are in the child-rearing, working season, other areas in your life will need to be put on hold. Enjoy your life at every season and don’t regret where you are. Once you have moved on to another season, you will probably miss the one you just left!
“Obey them (masters) not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Ephesians 6:6-8;10
Moms, whether you are working in the home or out, all your work should be done as to the Lord. And it is His strength that will enable you!
Guilt is a recurring emotion for working women. In fact, a recent survey from Working Mother magazine found that 57 percent of working mothers feel guilty every single day, and 31 percent feel guilty at least once a week. There is however, a danger in guilt because it is a waste of time and energy, especially if it traps you in a negative cycle of thoughts.
If you are feeling torn with leaving your children in a day care or in an after school care facility, perhaps you would do better with a part time job or completely change to being at home at this time of your life. However, if you have to work, then change your attitude! Ask your children to help you each day by getting themselves ready for school, with chores and with “helping” you get to work on time. Once your work life becomes part of the family life, it can turn into a blessing.
This week’s fit-fact? Stand up! This tip comes from Dr. Oz who warns of the consequences of America’s “sitting epidemic.”
If you’re like the average American, you spend nearly eight hours a day – more than 50 hours a week – sitting down, according to Vanderbilt University researchers. And it can cause health problems.
When you’re sitting, your body undergoes a metabolic slowdown. You use less blood sugar for energy, and you burn fewer calories. Sitting also decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which works to eliminate fats in the blood. The worst part: even regular exercise won’t protect you. Research has shown that if you spend long periods sitting, you’ll have a larger waist, greater body mass index, and higher levels of blood sugar and blood fats than someone who takes frequent breaks to stand or stretch – regardless of how often you lace up your running shoes. Ultimately, spending more time on your feet means a longer life. Here are some tips:
1. For every hour you add to your average daily TV time, you increase your risk of metabolic syndrome – a group of conditions that can predispose you to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes – by more than 25 percent. So, try walking on a treadmill or sit on an energy ball while you watch TV.
2. Try to take long phone calls (as conference calls) outside walking in a park or in your back yard.
3. And try to walk as much as you can: walk instead of driving your car, parking farther from your destination and taking the stairs.
I pray that this next week will be one where you can be a mom and a working mom with less stress and more joy!