About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the guilt that has come along with being a working mom. First, thank you to everyone who wrote in with their advice and words of encouragement. You really know how to make a mom feel like she's not a walking disaster.
Second, and more importantly, here's a look at some of that advice, in the hopes that it will help the other working moms out there, too.
"I'm a single mom, and I've been working full time and raising two kids for what seems like forever — one is 21, and one is turning 16 now. While I still struggle with the guilt, I do know what has helped me is prioritizing – for me, my house may not always be tidy and my laundry far too often is not done (Yesterday I fixed the dragging hem on my slacks with a stapler!) but I do my best at my twin jobs of work and parenting, and that's more important to me than a perfectly kept house or even a home cooked meal on the table every night (yes, we sometimes end up with take out Chinese food in front of a rerun of 'Modern Family')."
Penny Paul, director of business development and marketing at Genova Burns
"I went back to full time work when my twin sons were 6 weeks old … Today, my sons are seniors in college and sometimes my husband — but mostly me — will still ask them: 'Do you mind that I am always working?' And without missing a beat, they reply — often separately — that both their parents are always around and they can't remember a time we weren't there for them. Boy, how I wish I hadn't wasted all those years feeling guilty — just love them and that is all they really need."
Amy Delman, Amy Delman Public Relations
"Start by making a plan for where you spend your time and what things can change the balance — Jack Welch calls it 'operating principals.' You need to start there, then build the processes around them. These principals should encompass your whole life — work and personal. Be deliberate in this, not passive. For example, you agree to leave the office at a certain time each night (you can work after your little one is sleeping), but will forego that rule only when there is a networking event or your deadline cannot be met by working at home. Outside of those two items, you need to hold yourself accountable. There is no prescriptive way to balance our lives, but with good understanding of what you want from it and planning on how to achieve it, you can get to a place that works for you and your family."
Sonia Boudreau, founder, Integrated Executive Coaching
"I can't speak from personal experience, but one thing my mom always said to me was 'Do you remember making clothing out of paper bags? Playing Candyland? Making a fort out of the couch cushions?' I always replied with a resounding 'Yes!' She then would say to me, 'Do you remember how dirty the floor was? The dishes in the sink? Or the laundry overflowing in the hamper?' I would always reply 'No.' Mom would just smile and say, 'I rest my case!'
Danielle Mack, researcher, NJBIZ
Each Sunday evening I prep snacks for the week. I put them in containers or Ziplock bags so each day I just open the cabinet and grab the premade packs for their lunch boxes. It's less expansive than buying prepackaged packs, and I don't need to think about it each day. We are also big on schedules. We sat down and decided the timeframe of each task together. Toothbrushing 7 - 7:05. It keeps us paced. Probably helps me more than them!
"One thing I would say is just be real about your feelings and say 'I love you' every day to your son, husband and yourself!!"