Since making a job switch five months ago, I am finding myself more comfortable in the new commute, office, and routine. It always takes a little time to fully adjust but my little family has done well. Sure, things slip through the cracks (we still haven’t returned the school pictures from December!), but for the most part, we run smooth. (I wrote my best tips for staying organized as a working mom here.)
Being a working mom is kind of like running – it seems impossible at first, leaving you breathless and tired and cursing anyone that claims to love it. But soon you find your stride and you grow stronger and next thing you know, you enjoy the run. You look forward to it, crave it, and you start thinking of ways you can make your run better. Faster. More efficient. You might look at marathon races or joining a running club. But soon, running becomes a piece of who you are.
Being a working mom is exactly like that. So to help you find your stride for 2014, here are some New Year’s resolutions for working moms to make inside and out of the office:
To lean in. (Or to lean out.) 1 of 8
Give yourself permission to "lean in" this year. Give yourself permission to work towards that promotion or raise without guilt that you're choosing career over family. Or give yourself permission to "lean out," to say no to that extra project so you have more time with your kids. Either way, grant yourself grace to find your own work/life balance.
To not stress about the other preschoolers (or their moms). 2 of 8
So little Johnny's mom made hand-woven gift baskets for the teachers? Then she made each child organic playdough for Valentine's Day? And she attends every Mommy Lunch Date? That's awesome for her. Really, it is. But you don't have to be her and you need to resolve to remember that. Is your kid learning and safe and thriving? Then you are doing great. He'll be okay if you send preschool Valentines in sandwich baggies instead of cellophane ribbon-tied goodby bags.
To make a new fellow working mom friend. 3 of 8
The best advice I can give a working mom is to find other working moms. I don't say this because I don't highly, reverently value my stay-at-home-mom friends, but because you will need someone who truly understands your time pressures. You'll need someone that understands the emotional aspect of balancing a career and motherhood. And you'll need someone for that 8am Saturday play date. Think you have a solid support group? Then find a working mom that isn't so lucky and bring her into the fold.
To stay home when sick. 4 of 8
I'm spoiled with the luxury to work from home when I'm sick and a company with unlimited sick days. But I remember when that wasn't the case, so I say this with love and respect to your individual situation - if you are sick and can afford to stay home, then STAY HOME. Your sick butt is not so important that the rest of the office needs your flu. Harsh, but true. You'll also feel better faster, the more you rest.
To leave work at work. 5 of 8
Since I work in social media, this one is a little hard. But as a little girl, I remember wanting to tell my father about my day, not listen to him complain through dinner. So momma, leave that office rumbling at the office. When you come home, REALLY COME HOME.
To pack lunch at least 3 times per week. 6 of 8
It's easy to eat out, I know. But you will be amazed at the money, calories, and time you will save by packing lunch. Five minutes to prep a sandwich or leftovers is nothing compared to 20 minutes to get Chipotle. Plus, that turkey sandwich has about 600 calories less than your burrito bowl and will save you easily $8.00 that day.
To implement a strict Friday Movie Night. 7 of 8
Friday nights usually feel like a bust. I'm exhausted, my husband is exhausted, our kid just wants to be home after a week at daycare. We usually fall into lounge wear and throw a pizza in the oven and shrug, popping in a movie. But what if I approached it as a fun weekly ritual? Make "Friday Movie Night" something the entire family enjoys, with a pile of blankets and a bowl of popcorn. It will make you feel like you're the coolest mom, not the most tired.
To have one momma-son date per week. 8 of 8
One of the biggest (and meanest) things we working moms get thrown into our face is how we miss all that time with our children. It hurts because it's true - time is fleeting and we spend a good portion in the office. So make sure the time you have is quality, making memories he will remember forever. Resolve to make sure you go on at least one "date" per week, whether it's to get hot chocolate at Starbucks, or go on a hike, or even go to the park. I promise you will never regret it, no matter how hard it is to find time!