Calling All Working Moms!

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For an upcoming story, we’d like to compile a collection of tips from moms about how to make life easier and less stressful when you work outside the home. We’re looking for tips along the lines of: how to make the most of your lunch hour/workday, the ways you manage to fit in volunteering at your child’s school, smart multitasking strategies, things you get your spouse/friends to do for you, and ways to stop feeling guilty. Tell us in the comments section and your quote could appear in a future issue of Parents. Thanks for your help!

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  1. by Suzanne Nangoy

    On June 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I usually use my lunch hour to workout or having lunch with my husband/friends, these keep me refreshed for the day and ready for my ’2nd shift’ as a mom after work.

  2. by Kim B.

    On June 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    I think the term “working mom” is redundant – weather you work outside the home in addition to motherhood or whether you stay at home full time like I do. :)

  3. by Tracey M

    On June 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I use my lunch hour to run all sorts of errands from birthday gift shopping to picking up the drycleaning and getting things in the mail.
    The one thing I could not live without is my handy dandy Mom Organizer…..a great book to keep track of everything. My whole life is written in that book….

  4. by T with Honey

    On June 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    My husband and I share day care duty. I will drop Princess off in the morning and he picks her up at night. This way we both get to know her teachers, class mates and see some of the other parents.

  5. by chyk

    On June 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    We have a set menu for dinner. Monday is veggie patties, Tuesday is homemade pizza, and so on and so forth. That way I always know what is happening for dinner, and if my husband gets home before I get home from carpooling, he knows exactly what to throw into the oven.

  6. by Melissa

    On June 12, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I am fortunate enough to work close to my son’s school which enables me to volunteer during my lunch hour. I work in the media center shelving books or doing whatever I can during that time.

  7. by Stephanie

    On June 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    One day a week, I drop the kids at daycare early and go grocery shopping. The store is not crowded and I shop off a list, so it is quick. I run the groceries home and get to my office on time.

  8. by Angela V.

    On June 12, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I squash the guilt by reminding myself I HAVE to work-I’m a divorced single mom-and I know that I am providing for my daughter as best I can.

  9. by Lucretia O.

    On June 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I do all of my grocery shopping online. It only takes about a half hour at the computer -and I can do it late at night after I put the baby to bed or during my lunch break. The website is really easy to use and the cost is very minimal (usually about 7 dollars for delivery). Plus if you are a frequent shopper they cut the delivery charge once in a while as a bonus. The groceries are delivered right to your door whenever you want and are carried right into your kitchen! Doing this allows me to spend the three hours I used to spend on Saturday or Sunday shopping with my family instead!

  10. by Suzanne Bastien

    On June 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    When I get home from work and picking up my little girls from the babysitters, I put them in my room and talk to them while I am packing their bags for the next day. This is one less thing I have to think about when it’s time to do baths, read stories and put them down at night.
    As a single mom of six kids, it’s all about scheduling. The two girls under two are in bed by 8pm, the rest of the kids are in bed by 9pm. It gives me my relaxing time in the evening, and I don’t have to worry about packing up anything for the next day.

  11. by Denise

    On June 12, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    I always get things ready the night before. I have a sippy cup of milk in the fridge, his daycare bag along with my work bag and purse by the door, clothes set out and ready, and my lunch is packed before going to bed. Having as much ready ahead of time makes the hectic morning rush a little more manageable and less stressful for our son.
    We also keep two up-to-date calendars of all our family events, appointments, work meetings, etc. One goes with me at all times and the other stays posted in the kitchen. Several times a week I compare the two and update as needed. This makes sure the whole family is aware of what is going on, and I have a calendar with me so I can make any appointments that are needed while I am at a drs. office or on the phone while I am at work.

  12. by Tara

    On June 12, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I went back to work when our daughter was 17 months old and 5 months later, my husband deployed to Iraq for 14 months so I learned the ins and outs of multitasking and how to be a single mom VERY quickly. I worked in a school so I didn’t have the luxury of running errands during my lunchtime but I did check emails and catch up on the news via the internet during my lunch. After work (I was lucky enough to get out at 3:15) was when I ran my errands and went to the gym. Often times I’d pick up a week’s worth of dinner at a local place called “The Butler’s Pantry” that made frozen casserole style dishes that would last us a week. I would pick my daughter up at around 5:30, we’d eat and I would do dishes and clean the kitchen while she finished eating. After her bath and bed, I would catch up on my blogs or sew. I am often surprised when I look back at how much I was able to get done!

  13. by Amy

    On June 12, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Early morning gym calls- 5 am- let me have alone time and at least 1 cup of coffee before my boys wake up. Then it is off to school for the boys and for me- as I teach Middle School. My husband helps out with trips to Costco for grocery shopping and easy, prepared meals on his home from work. Most importantly- it takes a village to raise a child. My neighborhood friends- both working and stay at home moms- keep me sane!

  14. by Heather

    On June 12, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I have lunch with my husband most days. It gives us time to talk as grown-ups and catch up without having to chase our daughter around and be exhausted.

  15. by Jess

    On June 12, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Hire help – the yard guy and cleaning girl are like family :)

  16. by Jessica

    On June 13, 2008 at 12:24 am

    I am lucky to work at a company that gives us 4 hours a month to volunteer. I use those 4 hours every month in my daughter’s class. Also every night at bedtime my daughter and I play 5 questions. She gets to ask me 5 questions about anything that’s on her mind and I ask 5 questions usually about her day. This way I don’t feel like I am missing out on too much.

  17. by Tanya

    On June 13, 2008 at 3:19 am

    I combine my two work breaks so that I have a fifty minute lunch period. To make the most of my break, I drive to a local curves gym and fit in a thirty minute workout.

  18. by vea lynne

    On June 13, 2008 at 3:23 am

    I take college classes at night and work in the day. I do homework during my lunch breaks. It’s the only time I can really concentrate on school.

  19. by Becky

    On June 13, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I make all of our lunches at night. I also do my exercising at 5:15AM – it was tough at first, but definitely worth it. I always feel great when I get home – ready to start my day.

  20. by Shani

    On June 14, 2008 at 1:43 am

    In no particular order:
    Walk to work, thereby multitasking commuting and exercise.
    Hire someone/s to clean your house.
    I am fortunate enough to work near enough to my son’s school that I can sometimes spend my lunch hour with him. Other lunch hours are devoted to exercise or work on the MBA I am pursuing, so that I don’t need to take additional time away from my children.
    Oh, and sometimes I work through lunch, so that I can volunteer at my son’s school once a month or so.
    I maintain a web-based calendar, so I can access it from either work or home.
    The higher the quality of the time I spend with my children, the less guilt I feel. This means really talking with, listening to, playing with them when we are together. No multitasking then! Though we do go on errands together, and do chores like gardening. The more we can do together, the better! Even if it sometimes takes a little longer than doing it alone would.

  21. by Cathy C.

    On June 14, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I run three miles each day during my lunch break. I leave just enought time to de-sweat and get all girly again for the remainder of my day. It is not an ideal situation, but, heck, it helped me get back to my goal fitness levels. I long for my evening workouts, but this will have to do for now. Oh, and don’t worry…I don’t skip eating lunch ever.

  22. by Amy - LIParentSource.com

    On June 15, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Outsource whatever you can. I use a dry cleaners that includes free delivery/pickup, as well as someone that comes in to clean the house every other week. My babysitter helps out with laundry and vacuuming. In very busy weeks I’ve also used Peapod or other grocery delivery services. There’s no shame in asking for help or paying people to help you if it assists you in keeping your sanity and giving you some more time with your kids. My husband and I also keep a web-based calendar that we both have access to to ensure that at least one of us is home each night.

  23. by Stacey

    On June 17, 2008 at 6:16 am

    It’s so hard to say no when my kids ask for another (and another) book at night so I began doing my nightly exercise routine in my daughter’s room as she is picking books and on the nights when I am really “with it,” I try to count my reps while reading. Mom’s have to multi-task!

  24. by Debra M.

    On June 18, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Soon after I went back to work, my husband and I put in place “his night/her night”. Monday and Wednesday are my husband’s nights, and Tuesday and Thursday are my nights. On my nights, my husband is in charge of getting my son ready for bed (dinner, changing, book, sleep) and stays home for the rest of night while the baby sleeps. I do the same routine on his nights. That way I know I have two nights a week where I can run errands, have dinner with a friend or do something else I enjoy. I don’t always go out on my nights, but it’s nice to know I have the option if I need to get things done.

  25. by Kristi

    On November 4, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    TOY ORGANIZATION AND STORAGE THAT WORKS
    I have discovered a great time saving and effective way to stop toy clutter. The product is called Toy Tamers and can be found at http://www.kidskluttertamers.com
    What is unique about this product is that its a vinyl & mesh bag that zips closed, easy for the kids to carry, has an i.d holder and the handle can unsnap so I can attach the Toy Tamer to other toys or to the stroller. It’s easy for the kids to use and I can just zip and throw in the tox box or hang from pegs. Highly recommend the product… it’s transformed our playroom and the kids actually keep their millions of parts together!