Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual. There are no customer service numbers to call when your son has a nightmare and no replacement parts for your daughter’s first broken heart. Motherhood does provide a lifetime guarantee of unconditional love, on the job training and advice (and lots of it).
Whether you own a business or work for one, balancing a job and a family can be demanding. So, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for and from working moms. Luckily, I didn’t have to look beyond the walls of Intuit for inspiration. It’s the People is one of Intuit’s core values and many of Intuit’s working moms were eager to contribute tips to this list. And some are based on my own experience with three boys – two young sons and a husband.
Enjoy, and please share your own working mom tips in the comments section below.
Take time to make time – That calendar tool you use at work is even more popular at home based on the moms I spoke to. One mom uses Google calendar to color code activities. Family events get one color; she then assigns individual colors for her three kids’ activities. It’s a quick way to see who is doing what and when.
Shop with sanity – If you’re like me, you’ve hauled your munchkins to the supermarket, only to have them start crying just as you push the cart inside the store. Look for ways to make shopping fun. To entertain the kids, I often play “I Spy” or ask them to help me shop. My son loves to weigh fruits and vegetables and put them in the cart. He learns about counting and feels like he’s contributing. But I still get the last word on what goes through the checkout line.
The Ma-Ma Sisterhood – Moms’ groups and professional associations are great resources for establishing friendships and seeking advice. A remote Intuit employee says participating in a local professional association provides her the opportunity to broaden her network and learn new valuable skills.
Give yourself a time out – OK, I don’t mean go to your room without dessert. This is about carving out time for you. Enjoy date night with your spouse. Exercise. Garden. Grab your friends for a day at the spa. Do whatever it takes to rejuvenate the mind and the body.
Expect the unexpected – Moms were quick to suggest planning ahead. Make sure to always stock the diaper bag with essentials like diapers (duh!) and an extra change of clothes. If you find yourself shuttling kids between ballet class and soccer practice and everywhere in between, keep water and snacks handy in the car. And if it’s tough to get home in time to prepare dinner, embrace the Crockpot. Dinner will be ready for you when you get home.
Your presence is your present – Kids crave your time and attention. Find time to volunteer at school events or after-school activities. One mom volunteers in the morning to avoid nasty commute hours. She spends quality time with her kids and misses the traffic, making it a win-win.
Become a techno-mom – Transitioning back to work, whether after a maternity leave or re-entering the work force, can be difficult. If you can, set up time to do a video chat with your kids once a day for a week or two and then less frequently as everyone adjusts. I also used FaceTime while on a recent business trip. My kids loved seeing my hotel and New York City taxi cabs. Plus, it made bedtime a little easier for all of us.
And finally, leave the dishes. When I get home, I have to tackle dinner, homework and baths for my two boys. And when there is free time, I’d much rather play a good game of hide-and-seek or read a story with my children. Thedishes can wait until later. Time with your kids and the memories you create cannot.
Happy Mother’s Day!