Decades ago, it was thought that women had a choice: stay at home and take care of the house, kids, and her husband or have a job.
But over the years as women flourished in the workforce and forged important, meaningful careers, they started to realize they didn’t have to give either one up: they could have both.
As every working mother knows, it can be very daunting trying to balance spreadsheets and soccer practices and it seems that everyone knows the best way to go about “having it all.” Unfortunately, sometimes the people giving the advice on balancing motherhood and career woman didn’t always have the hands-on knowledge or practicality of doing both.
But for one working mother, Michelle Slatalla, who is a columnist for The New York Times, she felt sharing her experiences of being a working mom could possibly help other women who need advice but don’t know where to turn.
Here are her 10 secrets to balancing work and motherhood:
Do Work At Home, Home At Work
You only have a certain amount of time in a day to accomplish all of the tasks and responsibilities that need to be done. Most of the time, you can do these anywhere thanks to today’s technology. Pay your bills on your lunch break at the office and check work e-mails waiting in line at the grocery store or for your kids to come to the dinner table.
I like to sit at the kitchen table and work on a laptop next to a child of mine doing algebra. While A does worksheets (and I write my newspaper column), she is being mothered by me. Also, I can change gears fast to Google the “quadratic equation” if A gets stuck. Child aces her math class, and I meet my deadline. Score two points for the working mom.
Make Your Home Office A Command Center
Instead of cornering yourself off from the rest of your house to get some work done, find a location in the center of your home that provides some privacy while reminding everyone you are “a presence to be reckoned with.” From this spot, you should be able to make a quick snack for your child while waiting for your reports to print and keep them from sneaking the candy at the same time.
Ignore Parental Fear-Mongering Posts Or Books
I don’t want to catch you reading anything with a title like Either I Should Be Drinking More or Less Chardonnay Out of Sippy Cups at Work and Home. Instead, stick to the classics that remind us, with great wit, what we like about this business of being an adult with a complex life. For example, Shirley Jackson’s Raising Demons will help you decide whether it’s more fulfilling to spend the weekend doing housework or playing cards with the neighbors. (Hint: Think mixed nuts and drinks over a few rounds of bridge.)
Getting Out The Door Unscathed By 8:30 Is The Goal
Slatalla’s advice is “stop trying to organize everything.” Your only goals are to leave the house looking good while keeping your child from throwing a tantrum over what’s for lunch. Pick out your outfit and have her pick out what she’d like in her lunchbox the night before. Slatalla adds if your child hates getting dressed in the morning, “If that means you put her to bed in her school clothes to avoid a 7 a.m. tantrum, I think you’re a genius.”