By Suzy Fielders

I have learned a lot about juggling life as a working mom over the past six years. I am not only a working mom, but a single mom. I have a six year old daughter, Sarah, and as you can imagine I have to do a lot of balancing and tight scheduling since it is just me running the household. From 2008 to 2010 I also went back to school in the evenings to earn my Master’s Degree. I hope some of the advice I will share today will help those of you starting back to work for the first time as a mom. For those of you who have done it for years, please share your tips as well!

A working mom has to juggle two worlds – a career and motherhood. Both of these are full time jobs, yet for most women today it is a necessity. How can the challenges of these two worlds be made easier? Below are three easy approaches that will help simplify a working mom’s life and reduce stress.

1. Finding Short Cuts  One of my favorite tips is finding short cuts, but making sure to not “cut corners” in these short cuts. A mother is naturally a multi-tasker and this skill can help make the two worlds more manageable. Find ways to incorporate tasks together when appropriate. If a child does their homework while waiting before an extracurricular activity, like dance or soccer, then there will be no wasted time. By combining tasks a mother will feel and be more productive. Just make sure to know your limits in order to not get overextended.

Another short cut is cooking larger meals on weekends and saving some in the fridge so that on week nights when work and school are bogging everyone down dinner can quickly be heated up, but still be something healthy. Also, a working mom’s “best friend” is having a doctor’s office that has extended or weekend hours – for both sick and well visits.

Finally, the ultimate working mom short cut is using a lunch break to run errands; believe it or not a lot can be accomplished in that short time frame. This is a time during normal business hours so get the things done that cannot wait until the weekend or can be done much faster without the kids.

2. Be organized! The quicker a calendar appointment or household item can be found, the better the chances are for less chaos and more time for the important things. Take a weekend to sort through the family calendar and find out a system that works best for everyone, whether it be color coding, separate calendars, or even a personalized tack board where all appointments & schedules are posted. Don’t stop the organization at just the calendar though. The easier it is to find items at home and work, the more likely it will be to increase productivity and waste less time. Even a completely “messy” person can slowly sort through their house and office to get organized… just take it one step at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.

3. Mommy Time Always set aside at least an hour or two every day for time for yourself, or “mommy time”. This time can be for anything from working out, to reading or just watching a favorite TV show. Having a little time every day to yourself can help in not getting to overwhelmed or overworked. Don’t fret if you want to exercise at the gym or take a Pilates class but have no one to watch the kids, as many gyms offer childcare and it is usually free with certain memberships.

These are just three of many methods out there to make a working mom’s life a little easier and make for more free time to have family fun! Please add your own ideas by commenting below!