It’s no secret that being a working mom has its challenges. Amidst our many responsibilities, it’s easy to forget to make time for ourselves, let alone our finances. Though it can be difficult, making time for these two very important things is possible. It’s all about organizing, prioritizing, and, ultimately, just rolling with the punches.
No two journeys in motherhood are exactly the same. That’s why there will never be a cookie-cutter solution to “balancing” it all. Instead, we can glean from the stories and advice of other working moms who are making things happen every day. In the post, I’ll share some of the best tips for managing it all without leaving you or your finances out.
Tips to stay organized in your life & finances
As a working mom, organization is key. Being organized allows you to be more productive because you aren’t wasting time looking for the things that you need to actually do work. More importantly, organization helps to reduce stress--an all too familiar word for moms.
The chaos caused by clutter can induce anxiety and stress that can be debilitating. So your ultimate goal should be to create an environment where you can work and live with ease. This doesn’t just mean that your workspace and home are tidy. Organization also means that you are intentional about your time as well.
But, before you get overwhelmed with the thought of Marie Kondo-level organizing, I assure you that it’s much simpler. Integrating these small changes in your day can make a world of difference and ultimately, open up more time and space for you.
Create a schedule
Budgeting your time is like budgeting your money: you must have a plan for it. Creating a schedule or plan for your time allows you to stay organized while allowing you to prioritize and focus on what’s really important.
Time blocking is a very popular and effective way to organize your day. This is an approach to scheduling where you dedicate blocks of time to accomplishing a specific task or group of tasks. For example, you may dedicate an hour of your day specifically to reading and responding to emails. Likewise, you may block off 30-minutes to take a walk.
Having a plan for your time allows you to be proactive in managing your day and reduces the stress of fighting fire, or being reactive.
Dedicate 30 mins one day per week for planning the upcoming week. Sunday afternoons often work best for me, but choose a day that works best for you. Review upcoming events, meetings, and activities and make a plan to navigate--whether through time blocking or otherwise. Write it down in a physical planner or use any of the free options available on your mobile device.
Things come up and things change, so spend ten minutes of your morning reviewing your schedule for the day and making necessary adjustments.
Prepare ahead of time
Now that you’re armed with a plan, the next thing that you need to do is to prepare. This means that you do as much upfront work as possible before your week starts so that you aren’t scrambling to get things done later on.
A great example of this is meal planning and prepping. Meal planning and prepping is when you create a menu of meals ahead of time and do the basic prep work--cutting, seasoning, even some cooking--days prior. You then store everything until it’s time for those items to be cooked.
Not only is this a great way to alleviate stress during the week, but it’s also a great way to get your kids involved. They can do small, safe tasks that will reduce your workload and also teach them a new skill and responsibility.
Preparing ahead of time isn’t just for your food. You can also prepare your clothes for the week and even pack your workout bag ahead of time to make your days go much smoother.
Prioritize what’s important
Despite what your kids, boss, clients, or perhaps even your spouse may think, everything isn’t an emergency. Instead, there are priorities and everything else. When devising your schedule and getting organized with your time, it’s critical that you know what’s a priority and what’s not.
If you’re not sure how to prioritize, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is someone’s life or health in danger if it isn’t done now?
- Can it be rescheduled for a more convenient time?
- Is there a significant cost associated with not completing it now?
These questions can quickly put things into perspective. You will find that things are more pertinent than others and, therefore, should be prioritized on your schedule. Now, this doesn’t excuse you from getting other, less critical, tasks done. However, it will give you more clarity on where to focus your time and energy to be most effective.
Automate where you can
The fact is that you don’t have to do everything. As technology has progressed, opportunities for automation have become more prevalent. Soon, driving will even be one less thing on your list of daily tasks.
You can already use automation to your advantage for your household chores like vacuuming and even washing dishes. But did you know that you can also automate your finances? Here are a few things that you can put on autopilot when it comes to managing your money.
We’ve all had that moment where we’ve forgotten to pay a bill. Before you get behind on your bills, put them on autopay. Automating your bill payments allows you to put them out of sight and out of mind. They’ll get paid on time and, except for the occasional check to ensure nothing has changed, you don’t have to worry about them. This is great for your peace of mind and credit score!
If you want to ensure that you reach your saving goals, automating your transfers is the best thing that you can do. This simply means that you automatically have a specific amount transferred into your savings account(s) when you get paid or on a monthly basis.
You can set up automatic transfers through your bank or you can even have your employer directly deposit the funds when you get paid. Either way, automating this part of your finances is one less thing that you can worry about.
Investing is one of the best ways to build wealth. So to have your wealth-building on autopilot is certainly something that you don’t want to pass up on! The easiest way to automate your investing is by ensuring that you are putting money into your retirement account. This can be automated with your employer, who will simply take the money directly from your paycheck and deposit it into your retirement account.
Despite the fact that you can automate your finances, you’ll still need to make time to review your budget on a consistent basis. So make sure that you add your budget meeting as a part of your weekly schedule and priorities.
Are you a single mom? Check out our tips on how to create a winning single mom budget.
What every working mom should know
Even with all of the planning, preparing, and automation, life will still happen. Things won’t go as planned and at times it may seem overwhelming. Here’s what you should remember when those times come.
You’re doing great
First and foremost, you’re doing great. As a working mom, no one in the world has a harder job than you, so show yourself some grace. You’re doing the best that you can and that’s all that you can do.
It’s ok to take care of you
Pause from taking care of everyone and everything else and give yourself some love. It’s completely ok to take time for yourself. The world won’t end and you deserve it.
Consider these small ways to practice self-care.
- Guided meditation
- Going outside for a walk
- Breathing exercises
- Opening a window
- Turning off your phone
- Taking a nap
You don’t have to do it all (It’s ok to ask for help)
Always remember that Superwoman is a fictional character. It’s impossible for us to do everything and it’s completely ok to ask for help. Be okay with asking for what you need and accepting the help that comes.
Enjoy every moment
Though it may be a challenge, being a mom is one of the greatest privileges in life. In the midst of your busyness, don’t forget to savor the moment and enjoy the small things. Work will always be around, but your children won’t. Take a moment to enjoy the laughs, the tears, the hugs, and the conversations.
Final advice for working moms
There’s no job harder than what you’re doing. Not only are you helping to shatter glass ceilings and build impactful businesses, but you’re shaping the world’s future. It’s a tall task, but you’re certainly up for the challenge. Life won’t be perfect, but hopefully these tips will help it become easier.
You don’t have to navigate the working world or your finances alone. Join our community of women from around the world who are learning to manage it all, just like you.