3 Practical Tips for Working Moms, From the Quora Question of the Week

Going back to work after having a child is a difficult decision to make, especially when it entails leaving your children at home to be cared for by someone else. In a perfect world, everyone would work together to prepare meals, clean the house, and stay on schedule, and working women would find that blissful work-life balance. For most, though, this isn't the reality. Regardless of whether you work inside or outside the home, being a working mother is difficult. It's inevitable that priorities, finances, and sleep schedules will shift when we juggle work and children. We turned to the Quora community to see what practical tips its members have to share with other working moms.

Originally posted on Quora by Women in the Workplace.

What are practical tips for working moms?

1. You can't have it all. As Sasha Latypove, co-founder of iCardiac Technologies and Serial Entrepreneur, shares, "Out of the three things -- sanity, clean house, and well-behaved children -- only two are possible at the same time. Choose wisely."

Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to attain perfection or trying to meet the standards that society expects of working mothers (or mothers, in general). There is no such thing. Do what works for you and your family and stick to that. 

2. Be present. Victoria Shaw, founder of A Tiny Coalition, advises women to "[w]ork when you are at work, be with your kids when you are with your kids." Your children will know when you're not paying attention to them and may become jealous of your time spent on the phone or in front of the computer. Likewise, your employer and colleagues will also be able to recognize when you've "checked out" and are not in the mindset to get the job done. Stay present in whatever mode you're in at any given time and you won't feel so overwhelmed, guilty, or resentful about work or raising a family.

3. Know when to work on work-life balance. Anne-Marijke Podt, international developer, traveler, and mom, says that the best advice she received about managing work and a family is, "Work on a great work-life balance ... but not every day."

For Podt, because she has a long commute to and from work, her expectations of meeting her children in time for dinner was becoming increasingly more difficult and exhausting. So, instead of trying to rush home in time every day, she found a happy medium that worked for her: some days she would leave work early and had time to play with her daughter, while other days she put in longer hours without having to rush home and stress herself out. In doing so, she changed her expectation that she would achieve "work-life balance" every day, and appreciated her time with and without her daughter.

There is no use in wishing you were elsewhere because, as the saying goes, "The grass is always greener on the other side." Therefore, make the most of your time while you're working, because it will make the time with your children/family mean that much more, and vice versa. Consider the time with your children as "play time" or "mommy time" so that you are able to really appreciate the fact that you can also utilize your adult skills in a professional setting instead of always being in mommy-mode. Lastly, take a step back and realize that the world is not going to end if you don't have it all together every second of every day. Figure out what works for right now because that's the only way to manage work, family, and life itself in this ever-changing world.

Tell Us What You Think

What tips do you have to share with other working mothers? Talk to our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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