Gone are the days when becoming a mom means having to leave your job to stay home with the kiddos. In 2015, seven in ten moms with children younger than 18 were in the labor force in some capacity.
In 2019 America, there’s a lot for working moms to be thankful for. There’s a growing contingent of workplaces that are allowing flexible work options such as working from home, adjusted hours, and even offices that don’t mind you bringing the baby with you. And through the free market and advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to do things like get groceries delivered or find child care and cleaning services.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy for moms to balance work and life. Here’s how some moms in the AFF community are rocking work and motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas!
Mary McPherson – Director of Development, America’s Future Foundation
Excelling at both career and motherhood can feel impossible at times but can be incredibly rewarding if you make the most of your most precious resource: time. Time blocking for both personal and professional realms has been a lifesaver for me. When I am at work, I plan my most important activities during times of day that I feel most focused and alert and then fill in meetings around that. Thoughtful planning and efficient use of time help ensure I’m not bringing home work projects or work stress with me. The reverse is also true for my personal life – the better I use my time at home the better things tend to go during my work day. When I am at home with my daughter in the evenings, I leave my cell phone in another room and try to give her my undivided attention until bedtime. Making sure my kiddo feels emotionally connected to me by getting that undivided attention is what sets us both up for success in the other parts of our lives.
Heather Pfitzenmaier – Vice President, Network of enlightened Women, and AFF-Detroit Chapter Leader
Find an organization that has a leadership and culture that truly supports you and all that comes with having a family. Outsource. Hiring a cleaning service was one of the best decisions I made when trying to find work and family life balance. Leftovers are your friend, especially when you hate cooking, like I do. Get the most out of your day. Check out Laura Vanderkam’s books and practical tips on how to find time in your day – my favorite tips from her include make very short to-do lists and find activities that add to your energy. And of course, laugh, don’t cry over spilled milk, and go places with your kids.
Ericka Andersen – Digital Marketing Director, Independent Women’s Forum, and 2018 Buckley Award Winner
My best advice for moms who work full time outside the home is this: be where you are. It is incredibly me tough to leave my kids at childcare when I go to work, but once I’m in my work space, I focus on the task at hand. Being productive in the here and now means I’m able to truly be in the moment with my kids when the work day is done. I do not often do any work on the weekends, and I try to fully focus on them in the evenings. I used to try and do more multi-tasking, until I realized how silly it was to try and squeeze in a few extra minutes of work when I could be squeezing in way more valuable time with them. My kids are only three and one, so some of the most special, adorable times of their lives are *right now*, and I don’t want to miss any of those things. It may be cliche to say, but my most important job is being a mom, and I want to succeed in that more than I want to succeed anywhere else. By prioritizing what matters, everything else ultimately falls into place.
Michelle Cordero – Digital Content Manager, The Heritage Foundation
My advice on motherhood? Secure your support network. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered “is this normal?” Sometimes the questions are about my kids, sometimes it’s about my own sanity, but I must ask myself “is this normal” at least once a week. The relationships I’ve made with fellow moms, the new relationship I have with my own mother now that I am a mother myself, and the Facebook groups that I belong to are invaluable to say the least. Motherhood is an adventure. Everyday is different. Some days are smooth sailing and others are a freaking tsunami. Having someone to float along with you and answer questions or just listen is so important. P.S. Buy all of the wet wipes. They will save your life.
Meg Tuszynski – Assistant Director and Research Assistant Professor, O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University, and AFF-Dallas Chapter Leader
As an economist, I’m really interested in efficiency. As a mom, I’m constantly trying to find ways to be more efficient with my time, so I can maximize the time I get to spend with my little guy. When I’m at work, for example, I work like wildfire so I can avoid having take-home-work cutting into my Theo time!
Katie Vernuccio – Mom to almost 3 under 5, and Senior Program Advisor at State Policy Network
I’ve always been a passionate advocate for free markets and individual rights, but it takes on a deeper and personal meaning as a mom because I want to celebrate the differences and choices we have as mothers at home and work. I love cultivating the individual personalities in my kids as well and hope to inspire them to be creative and independent thinkers. My only practical tip that can apply to pretty much any mom in any season (and, in the spirit of supporting innovative companies and services) is to outsource, outsource, outsource – order it, have it delivered, hire someone (within reason and a budget) to make your life easier. If we really want “balance”, then let go of all the little things and find ways to simplify, create better routines, and focus on the things that matter most. This is a hard thing as an Enneagram 3 to wrap my mind around when I like to have control over #allthethings. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there, the moms in waiting, the moms in action, and to those missing their moms.
Kristine Goffos – Director of Marketing, America’s Future Foundation
I think the best thing you can do as a working mom is to remain positive throughout the chaos. Getting into a routine with a baby is hard, and then once you do get it all figured out and everything’s running smoothly, it’s time for a nap transition or teething or someone gets sick, and everything gets turned upside down. But being able to keep a smile on your face makes it all a little easier. Even if things aren’t exactly like you’d like them to be, keeping a positive attitude will make those around you happier too: your baby, your coworkers, your family. And their happiness in turn makes you feel better–even if you didn’t get that last to-do checked off at work or there are more dishes in the sink than you can keep up with.
Annie Patnaude – State Director, Americans for Prosperity-Michigan, and AFF-Lansing Chapter Leader
At five kids and one on the way, people ask me all the time “how do you do it?” Most of the time I just do – it is a bit like spinning plates in the air. You get better at it with practice (just like anything else). It’s not easy but you have to give up the small stuff, allow yourself the grace to fail, and make time for yourself so you are full enough to pour from your pitcher.