Tips to Avoid Last-Minute Crises for Working Moms

Working moms rarely have downtime. Our schedules always have last-minute crises, such as taking care of a sick child or having an unexpected snow day. We shouldn’t push self-care to the side or let unpredictable schedules mess with our career growth. Here are seven suggestions to keep you on track:

1. Start Your Day Earlier

Early risers enjoy fresher coffee at cafes, emptier gyms, and fewer traffic delays. Try waking up at least a half-hour earlier than usual to use that morning time for yourself. You could spend that time exercising, journaling, meditating, or networking. Consider it as a brief moment of quiet time just for you and your needs.

2. Develop a More Realistic Schedule

Your to-do list and schedules should not be overwhelming with twenty items that are never finished at the end of the day. Decide on your most important goals for that day and put them at the top followed by easier-to-accomplish tasks. Then, try whenever possible to plan those items around your children’s schedules, such as taking one day of leave to cover multiple doctor or dentist checkups. As you develop your list, also consider how you can include daily, weekly, or monthly goals in your activities.

3. Group Smaller Tasks

There are always a couple daily chores we forget to do because they take three seconds, but the dog has to go for a walk or the kids are hungry. If possible, try to find a window of time when — maybe 20 or 30 minutes a day — for the many small tasks that take a moment to complete. It could be watering plants, taking the meat out of the fridge, and organizing one shelf.

4. Delegate and Collaborate

As women, it is easy to find yourself taking on all the household responsibilities and trying to be a super mom. But, realistically, no one can do it all on their own. Find ways to do chores together with your children that help you help them. For instance, make a fun poster for them to check off every time they put away their toys. Even at work, there are opportunities to delegate and collaborate with others that can free you up to focus on more important tasks. It also is an excellent way to become a mentor and empower your team.

5. Create Home Calendars

Sometimes your kids forget to tell you they have to wear a costume to school that day, or there is a bake sale and they need you to bring in cookies. Often, schools and teachers will send notifications or have online calendars that alter parents to upcoming events. Create a home calendar for the month specifically for all the bake sales, crazy hair days, and more that can sneak up on you. It will help you be able to plan a bit more ahead of time and take the pressure off.

6. Build Local Networks

We spend a lot of time developing our professional networks, but connecting with other parents is equally as important. You never know who the other moms know that can lead to your next client or dream job. Plus, it is a community of tips and supports to lean on when you feel overwhelmed and alone. Learn more about local networking here or check our IAW’s local chapters to find a community of professional women right in your backyard.

Want more tips for working moms? IAW member, Jen Messer, is the host and producer of the podcast Working Mama. She is a full-time working mom who helps women master their careers without the mom guilt or missing out. Recently, she spoke with Megan Bozzuto, President of IAW, on Unlimited HERizons on navigating mid-life crises which you can listen to here.

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