Work-Life Balance Tips for Moms

Mother with baby daughter working from home

As a mom, balancing job and family can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being — sometimes leading you to work less or even quit.

The stress can leave you exhausted and burned out, getting poor sleep and skipping exercise and meals. If chronic, these can contribute to physical problems such as high blood pressure.

So how can moms like you cope with common work-life balance challenges? Try these ideas, and if they don’t meet your needs, think about how you can adapt them to your situation:

  • Problem: “I can’t turn off work when I’m home.”

    Leaving work at work can be easier said than done. So, what are some things you can do? Most phone software has a “do not disturb” feature that turns off phone rings, texts and app notifications during specific hours from everyone except a chosen few.

    Another possibility is removing communication apps from your phone, forcing yourself to log onto a computer when you’re tempted to simply “check in.” If the next day’s tasks or schedule are distracting you, take five minutes to jot down those thoughts on a sheet of paper so you clear your mind of them.
  • Problem: “I can’t attend all my kids’ events.”

    More than 1 in 4 women responding to a U.S. Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau survey said they received less than two weeks of notice about their job schedules. On top of that, about 1 in 3 women didn’t have paid leave. This lack of accommodation can force working mothers to miss out. If possible, let your employer know ahead of time a list of the most vital activities you need to attend, so that you can improve your chances of a more favorable shift. For events you must miss, ask a family member or friend to drive your children, text photos in real time or stream it with a live video app to your phone or computer.
  • Problem: “I don’t have time for exercise.”

    But you can’t really afford to sit and stay sedentary, either. Physical inactivity, even if understandable because of work-life demands, can increase the risks of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week. The benefits include relief of stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Plus, over the long run, you can lower blood pressure, keep a healthy weight and improve your stamina, among other benefits. So carry a bag packed with exercise wear in case a pocket of time opens up. You can toss on those tennis shoes and combine a work call with a walk around your building. Maybe you can talk your kids into stretching or exercising with you outside.
  • Problem: “I feel worn down.”

    Remember to take care of the basics such as getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and staying hydrated throughout the day. These small steps can ease fatigue. If you need more help, visit a health care professional who can determine if there are underlying medical reasons for your physical and mental exhaustion.
  • Problem: “I feel so guilty I can’t get it all done.”

    Give yourself some grace. Very few people can do it all, no matter the time and resources they have. Streamlining your to-do list for work and home can help focus your mind on what matters most and prioritize your time. And when you start thinking about what you can’t do, remember what you have done for your family. These positive thoughts over time can help reduce the intrusive, negative feelings you’re having.