Working mother? The truth is, very few mothers are not working! Whether inside or outside the home, mothers are workers—hard workers who deserve a standing ovation for the important work they do in raising children and running homes.

In this article, the term working mother refers to the mom working outside the home. According to the 2000 U.S. census, there were 6.5 million single mothers working in America. Today, 60 percent of married women with young children work outside the home, a phenomenon that crosses all cultures and income levels. With the decision to work comes a potentially heavy price of personal, social, familial, and physical pain and/or strain—especially if the life of the working mother is not in balance.

Here are 12 tested tips to help all moms restore—or maintain—balance in their busy lives:

Tip 1: Take pleasure in your work. Working for eight hours doing an unpleasant activity will add stress to your entire life. Remember, eight hours is one third of your day, so work where you are happy—even if it means making less money! This will help balance your mood.

Tip 2: Live within your means. If you’re frugal and budget-wise, you won’t be forced to work in unpleasant situations to meet unnecessary financial demands. This way, even though you may “have” to work, you can still choose your job and your hours. Remember: If your income exceeds your outgo, your upkeep will be your downfall!

Tip 3: Train all family members to do their home chores. Delegating the work at home keeps you from working full-time at the office—and at home! This will guard you from the stress of overwork. Just because you are Mom doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

Tip 4: Develop a financial plan for the future, and then follow it. Having a financial plan provides confidence and security. It also helps you maintain independence by avoiding the unhealthy relationships borrowing from others can cause.

Tip 5: Establish an exercise routine and be consistent. Regular exercise is the key to heart health, mental health, and overall stamina. It also guards you from being overwhelmed with work and helps you have a positive mental outlook as well as a fit, trim body, which are important to women of all ages. As cardiologist Dr. Royce Bailey says: If you don’t exercise, you’ll rust out before you wear out!

Tip 6: Evaluate your progress regularly. Set goals and priorities and review them regularly. If you are on track, cut yourself some slack and give yourself some sort of reward. If you’re veering off course, determine what corrections need to be made. This keeps dissatisfaction with life in check and your joy and optimism scales in balance.

Tip 7: Join the “Stress-Busters” Club. Stress can cause physical, mental, and emotional illness. If you are affected in any of these areas you limit your usefulness to yourself, your family, or your job. Identify ways to relieve your stress, and commit to engaging in relaxation on a regular basis.

Tip 8: Avoid “reactive” chores. Do household duties because you’ve planned to (proactive), not because the house has gotten “too dirty” (reactive). With the exception of emergencies, the family should commit to who will do what chores and when.

Tip 9: Maintain your social life. Having a strong social network is important for physical and mental health. Having social ties apart from your family and work will give you balance in your interactions.

Tip 10: Eat nutritiously every day. Refined, processed foods are stripped of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and most nutrients, all of which give your body what it needs to work physically and mentally. If you’re not eating right, it makes it harder for you to work right, act right, or think right! This may be your problem if you constantly feel tired and depleted.

Tip 11: Tell yourself it’s time for bed! Research shows that proper sleep increases learning, promotes optimal healing and recovery, and reduces anxiety and the risk for depression. An added bonus: The benefits of exercise are optimized if you get adequate rest.

Tip 12: Develop an active spiritual life. A vibrant, personal relationship with God is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge, and life. A popular saying goes, “Know God—Know peace! No God—No peace!

Institute these 12 tips into your busy life, and you’ll be a much more efficient, much less stressed, working mom—both at the office and at home!


About the Author

Karen Allen RN, Ph.D, FAAN

Karen Allen is chair of the nursing department at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich. She joined the faculty in 1998. Allen is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Treatment Improvement Protocols (TIPS), the president of the National Nurses Society on Addictions and a member of the Advisory Council: National Coordinating Center Office for Addiction Technology Transfer Centers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *