1. Take time for yourself. You’re not doing your family any favors if you’re exhausted or irritable. Ask your partner or babysitter to come in for a few hours every now and then and do something that you find relaxing, like having coffee with a friend or taking a yoga class.
2. Quality trumps quantity. When you’re with your kids and family, really try to be there – no Blackberry, phone, computer or going over your to-do list in your head. When you’re working, focus on the task at hand instead of getting distracted by feeling guilty that you’re not with your kids.
3. Focus on the positives. Being a working mom is challenging – you have to juggle so much and it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re not quite doing a great job in all areas of your life. Focus on the positives! You’re providing for your family financially, you’re setting a great example for your kids, and you’re staying engaged socially and intellectually.
4. Give yourself a break. There might be a few super-working moms out there who get their work done, spend time with their kids and family, have a clean house, fresh dinner on the table every night, and find time for exercise and personal hobbies – but I don’t know any. Give yourself a break! If ordering takeout reduces some of your what’s-for-dinner stress, it’s worth it.
5. Give up looking for work-life balance. There simply isn’t such a thing. Some days your kids and family will have more of your time and energy, other days it will be your work, your business, your interests, or yourself (don’t forget the last one!)
Co-founder and CEO of WorkItMom.com, an online community for working moms.