A working mother’s work is never really done. Like, ever. There’s always something to do, a checklist to check, a chore to be done, a meeting to be had — it can be exhausting and overwhelming.
Add to it the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ever-changing office or work from home landscape, and school closures or quarantines, and you’re left with one stressed out and exhausted mom. Or, at least I am. It’s me. I’m that mom. (And my husband is that dad too, as we’re in this working parent game together.)
I love being a mom, wife, and the life my husband and I created. I also love my job and am proud of my education and career. Being a mother comes first, always. Family first.
But all the secondary (and tertiary) responsibilities matter, too. And because of that, the juggling and balancing seem never to end.
So, what better time to try to get my sh*it together than right now, at the beginning of the new year? While it may be cliché, there is something to be said about a fresh start. So, if nothing else, at least these are worth a valiant effort.
Here are my top new year’s resolutions for working moms.
There are days, weeks, and even months where this feels seemingly impossible. But it’s not. It IS possible, and it is so important. So, for 2022, I’m going to really try to practice consciously disconnecting from work after working hours. Instead of making this a big sweeping goal, I want it to be a bit more manageable, at least in the beginning. So, three nights a week after 5 pm, I’ll be doing my best not to check emails and keep my mind off of work and on to our nightly routines — dinner, bath, cuddle time — you know the deal.
Similar to disconnecting, being present when my daughter is home is one of my biggest struggles lately, with working from home and being or constantly feeling “on.” My phone is always within an arm’s reach, and to be honest, it’s not always for work either. I’ve grown so accustomed to mindlessly scrolling social, replying to texts as they come in, and checking emails over and over again, that sometimes I catch myself reaching for my phone during playtime with my daughter. In 30 seconds, it can go from “Oh, that’s adorable, let mommy take a picture!” to scrolling down a feed of other people and their moments in time instead of focusing on my own. That’s when I knew it was something I needed to work on. I’m going to work on actively leaving my phone in the other room, using the mantra “I am here now” when I find my mind wandering to my to-do list instead of playtime, and really try to soak in the moments. For me, 2022 will be all about quality time — more important than quantity.
Less Screen Time
I have a feeling this one will resonate. It’s also directly linked with my vow to be more present.
I desperately need to spend less time on my phone. It’s quite literally the first thing I look at in the morning (even if it’s just to check the ungodly time my daughter has decided to wake up for the day), the last thing I look at in the evening, and on average, I can clock upwards of 8 hours a day. THAT IS NOT GOOD. Granted, much of that time qualifies as actual work — calls, emails, managing social channels, but definitely not all of it. Or enough of it. So, I’ve set timers on all my social apps to limit my personal scrolling to an hour per day. Same thing with emails, too. This will help me keep track of and be more mindful of how I use my phone.
Despite what society tells us, we can NOT do it all. Or at least we can’t do it all well. Realizing that we all have limitations and there are only so many hours in a day. Then, we can prioritize. My daughter and my husband come first. My career and job are second, and everything else falls in line with that. Tasks like cleaning our home and grocery shopping that would usually take up a significant amount of my free time and attention can, even if only occasionally, be outsourced to delivery and cleaning service. Though costly, to me — it’s worth it to help take things off my plate and make sure my plate has more of the “good stuff.”
Give Myself Grace
Disconnecting, spending less time on my phone, outsourcing some household tasks, and working on being more present and mindful are all lofty, worthwhile goals that I know I can achieve to some level. But this one? This one is hard.
As moms, we are so accustomed to questioning everything we do. Feeling guilt over decisions, operating on less-than-ideal sleep, falling asleep feeling like we didn’t do enough, or worse — that we aren’t enough. Will we ever be enough?
For 2022, I want to make a concerted effort to remind myself daily that I am enough. We are enough. We are enough even on our worst, busiest, most exhausting days. We’re enough even when things fall short or don’t go as planned.
So as a final resolution — let’s remind each other of that. Unsolicited. Be supportive of our fellow working mom friends and colleagues, celebrate their achievements, lend a listening ear, or offer to help if you can. It’s 2022, and we’re all in this together.