Feeling stressed with balancing work and home? Take a look at these 3 working mom tips that dive deeper into your mindset for more effective changes.
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The poor kid is growing up in chaos, I thought to myself about my son.
For any working mom juggling the demands of both work and home, we’ve all felt guilty about the kind of life we’re giving our kids. My home never seemed organized, from piling loads of laundry to the mess of toys in the living room.
Meanwhile, my job still needed me to focus and concentrate, all while I barely got five hours of sleep the night before. Every day felt like a race: getting home with a crying baby in the car seat was a nightmare, and I was usually handling the early evenings solo until my husband came home.
Weekends weren’t much better, what with groceries, cooking, and “kid activities” filling up the hours. All added up, being a working mom was getting to be a lot.
How are working moms expected to stay above water?
Working mom tips to stop feeling stressed
Whenever I found myself in a bind, it was rarely because I didn’t know what to do to fix it. Instead, I felt stuck in my predicament, as if there was no way out. I accepted that being a working mom is hard and that nothing would change that.
I also never considered the way I thought about myself and my circumstances, and how my attitude kept me feeling trapped.
And as much as I would try new tactics, deep down, I really didn’t expect much to change (and sometimes didn’t really want to change).
I was tired of being an exhausted and overwhelmed mom. Typical tactics and strategies are important—and we’ll cover those in the end—but I knew I needed to change my mindset to make true, lasting changes.
This isn’t the typical advice everyone talks about, but rather a deep-dive into making true and lasting change:
1. Interrupt your mom funk
Think of a time when you felt like a rock star mom. Your home was clean, dinner was planned and prepped, and you had a lot to contribute at work.
Then, think of the times when you felt like you were in a funk. The kids were fighting, you’re barely able to tackle your to-do list, and to top it off, the car broke down.
Life ebbs and flows—we can’t control what happens, but we can control how we respond. We get into a “mom funk” because we allow ourselves to get sucked into the negative messages we tell ourselves over and over.
So, how do you interrupt your mom funk? By training yourself to respond to negative triggers with positive feelings.
Start by thinking about the things you tell yourself and later feel when times are good. Maybe you were proud of how you handled something at work or felt capable dealing with a tantrum.
Then, think about the triggers that make you feel down. What happens right before you feel bad about something?
Is it the pile of dishes in the sink, or when you pick the baby up from daycare and only have an hour to spend with her? Is it when you hop in the car and rush through traffic, or when you crash at the end of the day completely exhausted?
When they happen, don’t allow yourself to linger too long in self-pity or negative self-talk. Instead, remind yourself why you’re an amazing mom, drawing on your past experiences as well as self-affirmations on why you can totally handle this.
Dialogue with that negative self-talk and “prove” it wrong. Read resources to give you a pep talk and shake off the bad vibes, or call a friend to talk about how you feel.
You don’t have to stay stuck with the same negative self-talk that only keeps you down. Remind yourself of how awesome you are, regardless of what life throws at you.
2. Expect changes (and be willing to make them)
One of the reasons we feel like we’re running the same race over and over is because we don’t make the changes to actually get us out of it.
It feels easier to complain about our circumstances or even blame others for the way things are. But unless we decide to make changes, then nothing new will happen.
And it’s not just about making a change and seeing where it goes. When you decide to take a different route, you need to expect something to change. You can’t pay lip service to something you truly want to turn around.
What are some changes you need to make? Maybe they’re smaller, more doable changes like waking up earlier in the morning or automating your bills.
Other times, bigger changes are needed. The kind of change that might scare you, like telling your partner you want him to pitch in more, or even finding a new job.
We can’t simply say we want things to be different without expecting anything to change.
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3. Have a good life now
Some might believe our circumstances determine how we feel—that life would be much easier if we had more money, more time, or more help. And that if we don’t have these things, then the prospects of having a happy, organized life are non-existent.
But that thinking is actually backwards. We shouldn’t have to wait for circumstances to line up in order to be happy. In fact, we need to be happy first, and then we’ll likely find ourselves having more of what we want.
For instance, what do you tell yourself about being a working mom? Do you chalk up your hectic schedule as simply the way it is, with few options to consider? Maybe you feel trapped, that there’s truly no way to spend time with your kids and earn the income you want.
These stories you tell yourself about being a working mom reflect in the life you lead. You don’t have to look far to see what people think of themselves—you need only look at their lives and see exactly what they believe about themselves.
So if you feel that being a working mom means making sacrifices or always feeling stressed, then you’ll surely feel that way. But if you start telling yourself that anything is possible and you can be happy now, then your life will also follow.
Actionable quick wins
Now that you know the mindset changes you need to make, what are a few quick wins you can do right now?
Here are a few hacks you can start immediately. Again, if you want lasting change, you may need to look deeper into what you truly want as a working mom, even if it means making scary choices. But regardless of where you are at, you can still implement these tips to help streamline your day:
- Declutter. The less stuff you have, the less you need to organize.
- Outsource. Typical tasks include cleaning and gardening, but you can also outsource grocery delivery and hiring an evening sitter.
- Meal plan. Set aside a day a week to gather recipes and write a shopping list, then another day (or the same) to shop for the ingredients. More time-saving tips for working moms include a meal planning subscription like $5 Meal Plan or meal prep delivery like Thistle or Blue Apron.
- Sleep train. If your baby or toddler can sleep through the night but isn’t, consider teaching him how to self-soothe.
- Prepare beforehand. Determine the most stressful part of your day, then think of ways you can prepare for it ahead of time. If mornings are a nightmare, you might pack the kids’ lunches and prepare your clothes the night before.
- Do errands during work breaks. Your employer likely understands that life doesn’t get put on complete hold at work. Use your breaks to handle errands you might otherwise do at home, such as paying a bill or ordering items for your child’s birthday party.
Too often we see working moms as constantly stressed or stretched beyond limits. We think the world demands too much of us, or that we simply need to accept this as our predicament.
My friend, you are not stuck. You can be a working mom and still enjoy life. You can earn lots of money without feeling overwhelmed with mounting responsibilities.
It starts with maintaining a healthy dialogue with yourself, not just when you’re at a high, but even when you’re in a mom funk. You also have to decide that you can have a good life now, without waiting for circumstances to line up before feeling happy.
Actually expect a change to happen, instead of only paying lip service without keeping your word or following through. And finally, implement the simple changes I listed for quick wins to help you stay afloat or give you the motivation you need.
You can be a happy, working mom—without feeling like life is too chaotic for your kid.
Get more tips:
- Top 15 Books for Working Moms
- How to Conquer Working Mom Guilt
- The Working Mom Pep Talk: What Do You Tell Yourself to Keep Going?
- The “How Do You Do It” Working Moms Guide
- 8 Essential Tips Every Mom Needs for Work-Life Balance
Tell me in the comments: what are your best working mom tips? What are your biggest struggles with being a working mom?