Motherhood and Employment: A Dozen Ways to Find Balance

How women balance work and home life

It seems that no matter how young or old a mother is when she has a baby, if she does not have the option to stay at home, and many mothers do not, the dilemma of balancing work and motherhood arises.

Some mothers opt to return to work because they have established careers that they feel they must continue in order to meet competency standards within their professions. One example of this is nursing. For those who step out of the hospital scene for just three years new, updated equipment or state-of-the-art online documentation has been implemented. If one doubles the wait to return, about the age that her child will attend school full time, the changes that occur in her field have broadened, requiring additional training, or in some cases, a refresher course before being rehired.

Other women do not have a choice to stay home or work, and it may not be a ‘career’ they are returning to, but the very livelihood that will make a difference between having a home and being homeless. Many of these women are part of a two income family struggling to make ends meet at minimum wage jobs and the state of our current economy does not offer them the luxury of being a stay-at-home-mom, or SAHM. Other hardworking mothers are single parents and sole providers for the food and shelter their family will have.



What a Working Mom Does:

However many hours a woman works outside of her home she will put in a long day. This is because, no matter if she has additional home help and distributes the household duties or not, she is typically the one organizing the activities within the household. This includes: housecleaning, extracurricular activities, social obligations and entertaining, shopping, cooking, and medical appointments.

Add a pet or two to the mix and there is even more stress on the woman to handle additional responsibilities. This doesn’t include the tasks of churchgoing and school activities. And, if a parent is being fully involved in raising her child, school activities mean: homework, teacher conferences, school concerts and plays and field trips.

It certainly sounds like a full load and no room to breathe for ‘mommy time’. How does one stay sane with the strain of trying to do it all? Here are some suggestions, although most women I know would rather do it themselves then to call on others to help out.


Three suggestions for balancing work and home life

1. Seek contentment in your decisions. Don’t allow feelings of guilt to influence the need to work or allow the behavior of children at home to influence you negatively.

2. Have a back-up plan for a sick child so you are not leaving your job and threatening the security of your employment with the company. Be willing to pay for competent childcare.

3. Wherever you are being there in the moment is an important stress reliever. Leave work at work and give your children full attention when arriving home; likewise, at work-keep family matters out of your mind and work place until you are back home. Your employer deserves undivided attention as well.


Enjoy each family moment

Happy households find a balance of work and play.
Happy households find a balance of work and play. | Source

Working MOM's Helpful Hint # 4

4. Find time for yourself. This is probably the number one item that gets sacrificed when it comes to working motherhood. I understand the difficulty in finding time when there does not seem to be even five minutes to spare…or that five minutes is a matter of an extra moment to sleep. But, you can’t get water if the well runs dry, and too many women allow themselves to be run dry. How do you find that time? An early awakening is the most beneficial, I’ve found. Set your alarm thirty to sixty minutes ahead of the rest of the household and do what you want to do for yourself: soak in the tub, read a chapter or two, meditate, take an early morning walk through the neighborhood, sit on the deck with a cup of coffee undisturbed, drive to the gym and work out, do something different each morning…

But, the most important thing is to NOT use this to throw the laundry in, do the dishes, etc. If you begin and end your day doing housework, and you sandwich the kids, husband’s and bosses needs in between all of that, you are not taking care of yourself in the best way that will allow you to stay healthy. Remember the advice from the airline stewardesses: put your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else with theirs

Employed Mothers Helpful Hints # 5-6-7

5. Make a coffee date with your partner once a week-you deserve to maintain your relationship. Barter with neighbors or relatives to exchange time and give you a date in order to catch up with what is happening during the week. If you absolutely cannot break away from the kids or the house, have your date within the confines of the house, without interruption from the kids.

6. Have (older) children help out-each member of the household must feel important and part of a contributing member of the family. Older children can do more complex chores and sit for younger siblings; younger ones can do very simple chores that will build feelings of self-esteem. We do our children a disservice by doing everything for them.

7. Spread the responsibilities between you and your partner-no one likes a martyr. If you do not ask, your husband/partner will not know what you expect. As close as the two of you are, and as obvious as you see some things that need to be completed, (i.e. folding laundry just out of the dryer), men rarely look at things with the eyes of a woman. If you do not communicate your needs in a calm, clear manner your husband will not read your

How to balance Work and Motherhood: Hints # 8-9-10

8. Keep the criticism to a minimum-one of the observations I’ve made is that women complain that their husbands do not help, but when they do, they cannot stand how their husbands do the job. Ladies-please relax and become flexible and less controlling in the household. There truly is more ways than your way to fold clothes, dress junior or cook breakfast. It’s a team-not a dictatorship.

9. Alternate between you and your partner for appointments. All appointments: medical, dental, school conferences, taking a sick day if the sitter is not available during your child’s illness, can be swapped between you and your husband so that you are not the one who is doing it all. In some cases, i.e. your husband’s job has a higher income, or demands for his participation, this is not practical, but look at each situation to see how you can free up more time for yourself.

10. Keep the kids on a routine and follow it for morning and bedtime-a household goes smoother with a routine and dependability on getting out the door, (or to bed), within the time frame you’ve designated. With very young kids this may free you up for some downtime before hitting the sack.


Finding balance as a working mom: helpful hints # 11 and #12

11. Have girlfriend time-it doesn’t have to be anything more than an undisturbed phone call, but we all need to find someone to relax and unwind with. Make it a priority even if it is a two hour lunch once a month. It will refresh you and rebuild your stamina until the next round.

12. Stay healthy-through exercise, (a walk around the block with the dog counts), eating healthy food, getting a restful sleep, reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake, and practicing relaxation. Even better than making this a solo job: involve the whole family. You will be healthier, happier, and able to cope with situations more easily. Besides, you may find exercising as a family unit a great way to get to know each other!


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Comments 26 comments

cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan

Great tips, I know that I do some and NEED to do some. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder to other working moms too!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for reading,Cara. You, Christa, and all the other working moms out there was whom I had in mind. Follow the healthy ones-go to bed! Hahaha


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Super tips! I tried to "balance" motherhood and a career outside of the home for over a decade. Its certainly not easy, but you have some excellent advice on striking a balance. Best, Steph


algarveview profile image

algarveview 4 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

Hello, Denise, very true. It's really hard to balance everything. I've been trying to do it for almost four years now and it's really hard. Nonetheless I wouldn't quit my job if I could, because I really like it, so I have to keep doing everything... Great tips, will try to remember some, since I keep making some martyr mistakes... Thanks for sharing... Very good! Voted up.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Steph-thanks for sharing you experience with the 'balancing act'. Don't forget to BREATHE!

Hello algarveview-It is very hard to balance it all. I think all working moms need wives at home to do those extra things that occupy the many minutes of our time and attention! Thanks for commenting and the vote.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Helpful ideas for the working Mother. This day in time most women have to work to make ends meet. Thank you for sharing..Cheers


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Ruby-thanks for stopping by. You're right...sad, isn't it, because the family doesn't have that option anymore. :(


Sonya L Morley profile image

Sonya L Morley 4 years ago from Edinburgh

I will be returning to work soon after a two year break, so I appreciate your suggestions. Great hub!


donnaisabella profile image

donnaisabella 4 years ago from Fort Myers

Great tips. I am a stay at home mom, but boy, are my hands full! I worked full time for thirteen years throughout the time I had my first three children of whom the youngest is now 8. I have a 16 month old and I am glad that I can stay at home with her, but I am taking this time to work write on hubpages (hoping to make money), do ministry to the community and I am back in school. That is a lot because it is almost as if, I cannot stay without doing so much! I sure have a harder time balancing now than I ever did before because then I had home help as I could pay people to do it, now I do not, but I always remind and encourage myself that I can do this, I can manage and will get through and I am not doing too badly. My baby is clingy and I have to do almost everything with her on my lap or back... Thanks for writing this.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Sonya-thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found some usefulness in the suggestions.

Hello donnaisabella-being a stay at home mom with a full schedule such as yours is no different than doing the work-home balancing act. Best wishes to you and your goals...you can do it! Please let me know at times how you are doing with meeting your goals. Thanks for reading.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Right on, Denise Handlon! Working and being a mother is more common today than ever... and yet it's like having two very demanding full time jobs! Your advice is great. All the successful working parents I know exhibit those behaviors... and many of the struggling ones could really take a tip or two from your Hub!


renaissancemom profile image

renaissancemom 4 years ago from United States

great tips! thanks!!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Simone-thanks for your input on the subject, I appreciate it. :)

Thanks for reading, renaissancemom. :)


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago

Great tips here Denise! I really wish I had known some of this when I was younger.. I learnt them much later and it has helped me enjoy life to the full. Have a great day! God Bless!


twoseven profile image

twoseven 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Fantastic advice! I really appreciate the tone and the recognition that everyone has a different situation, and that the right solution for any given person will be individual to that person. I've been mostly part time and have been working on many of the things you suggest - particularly finding guilt-free time to myself! Thank you for this balanced and thoughtful hub.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Sofs-you are such a wise woman that I wonder if this was not something you've known all along, however, culturally, as women, we think we must go along with what is the cookie cutter stamp of approval. (?) Perhaps it is with maturity that we are able to let go of other's expectations of ourselves and think of what is best for our individual situation. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Hello twoseven-so nice to meet you. I'm glad that you are moving towards that guilt-free mommy time. Kudos to you. Thanks for your comments.


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Thanks for this hub. I think many of us know intellectually that we should do these things, but often just never get around to it! Always good to have a reminder and rationale.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

I agree, Laura-thanks for reading and commenting. :)


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

Very good tips here and so important for women to remember to take time for themselves. I think that is probably the #1 thing women need to learn.

Voted up and Google+


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Danette, for the sharing. I agree and I know you and I have discussed that issue. :)


ziyena profile image

ziyena 4 years ago from Southern Colorado

Great insight on motherhood! the demands now days are so overwhelming ... Thanks for your input Voting Up


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Ziyena, thanks for reading and leaving your comments. It's been awhile since I was a young mom, but I am aware of the challenges that my daughters face. It didn't seem that complicated when I was raising my two. Thanks for the vote. :)


nmcguire7 profile image

nmcguire7 4 years ago from Los Angeles County

Excellent advice! Thanks for creating this hub. http://whenmotherscry.blogspot.com


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi nmcguire7-glad you enjoyed the hub and found the information useful. Please feel free to share. :)


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 3 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Great information for all the SAHM, Denise! Voted up and shared.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Terrye-thanks for your feedback, votes and share. It isn't an easy balance, is it? :) Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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