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Working Mom Tips: Ten Things that Every Working Mom Needs

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, ...
DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, USA; by Jolanda Flubacher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Motherhood is harder than it needs to be. This is partially because of the inexcusable work/life policies in the U.S., but also because of our own outsized expectations. We are living in an age when the ideal mom is a mash-up between the helicopter mom, the corporate exec, and the earth mama — and there's just not enough high-efficiency, low-emissions biofuel to go around. –Elissa Strauss, Why I don't want 'mom friends'

Moms with young children in the United States have a lot of competing pressures. The challenge for the working mom is even more intense. The primary goals for working moms are to succeed at work and at home. Those goals are not necessarily in conflict. However, succeeding at each of them at the same time is damn hard. Part of the problem is that both work and motherhood have changed immensely. The expectations for performance at each are steep and the price of failure is high.

Working Moms No Longer Openly Feed their Children TV Dinners 

Let's be honest. Working moms who raised children in the 80's and 90's had it a bit easier in some respects. They did not have the benefit of the Family Medical Leave Act. However, they had the luxury of working in the pre-smartphone age. Working was intense, but it had a clear start time and end time. During that time, nobody expected you to respond to an email while out to dinner because doing so was impossible.

It was also acceptable, even if less than ideal, to feed your kids TV dinners. Indeed, Swanson's came to prominence because women began working in large numbers. I can honestly say that I don't know any self respecting mom who admits to allowing their kids to eat TV dinners. I'm not saying it's not happening--I see that they're still sold in stores--I'm just saying folks ain't talking about it. Instead, working moms are running themselves ragged trying to make homemade meals because they believe that doing less is unacceptable.

Working moms are expected to make organic meals, look gorgeous, and be successful

We’re expected to have the homemaking skills of Martha Stewart, the negotiating skills of Hillary Clinton, and the energy to “lean in” like Sheryl Sandberg with the success that comes with it--all wrapped in a gorgeous Halle Berry package. We are also expected to raise kids that never talk back, play the cello like Yo Yo Ma, and attend Ivy League colleges on full scholarships. We're also supposed to be romancing our husbands like we're starring in the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey.

There might be one working mom who is living that life. However, most of us are taking it one day at a time.   We are intensely devoted to our families and intensely afraid of failure. Because of this enormous pressure working moms need a game plan. I have listed ten things that I think every working mom needs in no particular order.

Stay tuned for more details about why I think these are the secrets to success!

Ten Things that Every Working Mom Needs 

1.      Mommy Friends
2.      An airtight calendar
3.      Me Time
4.      An Efficient Beauty Routine
5.      A Short Commute (or one on public transportation)
6.      Neighborhood Resources
7.      A Standing Grocery Schedule
8.      Reliable Childcare (including weekends)
9.      A Neighborhood Network
10.   Trustworthy Take Out Service

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