Most working moms will tell you that motherhood has made them stronger, more efficient and better at their job. But that doesn’t mean the #momboss life is easy! Balancing baby and business can be strategically, emotionally and sometimes even physically challenging. According to a recent Pew study, 60% of mothers say it is difficult to maintain a balance between the demands of their career and the demands of raising a family.
And yet, children raised by moms who worked outside of the home have been found to be more successful in their own careers. Which means your working mom status not only benefits you, but your kids too.
In case you need a little extra inspiration, we mined some of the most experienced #mombosses at WeWork, a supportive community for entrepreneurs — many of whom also happen to be mothers (including Well Rounded’s working mom team!) Here’s 14 of their best hacks, tricks and shortcuts you can apply to your own working mom juggle.
1. Prioritize. I decide each night what the two most important work items are for the next day. That way, even when the unpredictability of family life derails the work agenda, I’ve had a productive day by making sure to meet my two goals. — Sofia Dickens, founder of EQTainment
2. Try to be fully present in whatever you’re working on. When I’m in a meeting, then I am 100% focused on the topic at hand, and when I am home, I try to be 100% engaged in that. This approach has helped me balance personal and work around the clock, while still being efficient at the task at hand. — Karly Giaramita, VP, Strategic Events at WeWork
3. Preparation goes a long way. Every night I lay out my outfit for the next day (including accessories and shoes – which take the longest) and pre-pack my child’s lunch. I’m up, showered, and dressed before my son. Having these things ready allows me to breeze into work on time and focused. — Cynthia Nimmo, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Funding Network
4. Don’t obsessively check your email. I don’t check email until the morning. As Timothy Ferris so poignantly put it, email is someone else’s to-do list, not your own. — Sofia Dickens, founder of EQTainment
5. Talk to your family about your work. I’ve made an effort to share with my daughter how passionate I am about my work. I want her to see work as an exciting and challenging adventure and that she, too, can create her own firm, if she wants, that focuses on a topic that’s important to her. — Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC
6. Seperate home life from office life, at least in front of your kids. When my daughter was six she asked me to play “family”, where she played me and I pretended to be her daughter. She promptly sat down at the dining room table, opened my laptop and said, “Oh, hi honey. No, I can’t play with you now. I’m working and it’s very important. Let’s play later.” That moment spurred me to stop working at home and move my “world headquarters” to a WeWork office. While it’s still tempting to take care of work when I’m at home, I’ve trained myself to separate home from the office. It feels great. –– Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC
7. Stop multitasking. Multitasking is a myth, and for me has resulted in a scattered feeling and poorer quality results. Instead, I “single task.” I set my timer for 45 minutes and work on a single project, avoiding my emails. Also, I’m a big believer in checklists. I use Trello and an old fashion notebook to keep track of my tasks for the day. This helps me keep my priorities in mind and I love writing those checks in the box when I’ve accomplished a task. — Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC
8. Pick your networking commitments carefully. I am pretty social and like networking and connecting people regardless of my mom status. But, it is harder to network, especially at evening events when you want to get home to snuggle with your babies. I pick my events carefully and try and make a few memorable connections at an event instead of lots of ones that I can’t remember a week later. I don’t say yes to everything. I will often replace an in person meeting with a phone call, unless it is an important first meeting. — Jill Bigelow, founder of Mama Strut
9. Encourage and partake in workplace flexibility. Being the CEO means I’m in charge of creating the work structure I think is most effective, and supports the highest degree of productivity. For us, this includes offering two work-from-home days/week, and late starts or early departures to allow for easier childcare pickup. — Cynthia Nimmo, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Funding Network
10. Talk to other moms in your workplace. I’m fortunate that WeWork has such a great network of working moms among both employees and members. Everyone is so supportive and friendly, always willing to have coffee and chat. I’ve found that taking advantage of every opportunity to sit and talk with other moms has helped me in every step of the way. Being around others who walked in similar shoes is comforting. — Karly Giaramita, VP, Strategic Events at WeWork
11. Create lists! It’s easy to get pulled or sidetracked with projects that pop up, so keeping a list helps to remind me of what’s important. — Karly Giaramita, VP, Strategic Events at WeWork
12. Share the parenting load with other moms, even the ones that aren’t working. The media fuels the myth about working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, and it’s disparaging. Find a way to take turns even if you aren’t around during school days. I drive kids to my son’s soccer games on the weekends; drop off snacks (early) on special school days; and take vacation days to drive to field trips when I can. — Cynthia Nimmo, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Funding Network
13. Pick one thing a week you can habitually do for your kids, and stick to it. I set aside Tuesday afternoons and pick up my daughter from school. Having that quality time with her has been amazing for our relationship and I’m more than happy to make up the time after she goes to bed. — Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC
14. Accept that you don’t always need to get it all done. Cross the hardest things off your list first. Do them now, not tomorrow! Be a good delegator and have trusted team members and consultants that can relieve some of your work. I don’t get it all done, I make lists and prioritize so I can both grow my business and still participate in some leisure and family activities. — Jill Bigelow, founder of Mama Strut
Photo courtesy of Fashion Mamas.