The Working Mom Survival Guide – 11 Steps To Better Work-Life Balance

5. Catch your breath.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, breathe in through your nose to the count of four, exhale through your mouth for a count of four, and so on, for four sets.

“Do this simple exercise in the car, in your office, or in the bathroom stall at work if you have to,” says Karol Ward, a licensed clinical social worker in New York City. “It helps you think clearly and regain your equilibrium.”

“I breathe if I’m anxious before phone calls or meetings, or before talking to my kids or my husband when I’m tired. It changes everything,” adds Diana Fletcher, a life coach and author of Happy on Purpose.

6. Eat well.
A diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, paired with healthy sources of lean protein like chicken and fish provides the variety of nutrients you need to cope with stress and the energy you need to multitask.

Instead of resorting to take-out (again), use the weekends to plan menus, shop, batch-cook, and prep healthy meals and snacks for the week.

To create even more time, “Once a week, make a crock-pot meal,” suggests Cristin Frank, a mom of two.

The night before, portion out ingredients so you can toss them into the slow cooker in the morning.

You’ll only have one pot to clean at the end of the night. Bonus!

7. Don’t be the clean queen.
Full-time working women do more than 33 hours of domestic chores weekly, while their male counterparts do about 16, according a study published in Women Don’t Ask, by Linda Babcock, professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

To end the dreaded second shift, let some of the housework slide or ask your spouse and your kids for help. Doing chores actually helps build a child’s sense of competence. If your standards are exacting, lower them.

So what if the sheets don’t get changed as often or your husband misses a spot when he’s dusting the furniture?

Working mom survival guide

8. Take notes.
Use a day planner to write down appointments, reminders, bright ideas and your daily to-do list.

“It allows your mind to rest because you know you won’t forget anything important,” says Renee Metzler, a life organizational coach and fellow mom in the trenches.

9. Create a day-is-done ritual.
Create a self-imposed boundary between work and home that’s designed to bring closure to the end of your work day.

One example: Take a shower at home after work and imagine your problems of the day disappearing down the drain, says John Brubaker, a work-life balance consultant.

After that, you’ll feel more ready to give your family your full attention.

10. Determine your stress triggers.
Is it having too much to do? Having to work on the weekends?

“Once you understand the root cause of your stress, you can take positive steps to cope by avoiding thoughts, behaviors and activities that increase your anxiety,” says Soroya Bacchus, Ph.D., a board-certified psychiatrist in Los Angeles.

One temper-taming tactic: “Try to stack more labor-intensive assignments and those that require others’ input early in the week and taper down so that by Friday you can essentially focus on housekeeping tasks,” says Ellen Schack, a work/life balance expert at

“This strategy can help you avoid weekend workloads and other infringements on what should be your personal time.”

11. Finally, savor the good times.
“Something always comes up at work or at home, but when everything seems to be running smoothly, whether it’s the fact that my kids aren’t driving me crazy or that everyone is doing their jobs in my office, I stop for a second and enjoy it,” says Irene Krasniansky, a mom of two and an operations manager.

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