Advice to Employers: Please Create Policies Assuming All Worker Are Single

Me and my daughter 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' We just celebrated "Mother's Day" and honored mothers and other women who help make the world and our families a better place. Every year at this time, I think about what mothers really need to be successful and independent. I say, "independent" because developing policies and legislation that are premised on the notion that all working moms have supportive families and/or spouses is not in the best interest of working moms. Instead, Corporate America and Congress should develop policies and legislation that p

One Secret to Working Mom Success: Create a Routine that Works

"Life is to be enjoyed not endured."

I have been at this working mom game for quite awhile now. And I have come to believe that one secret to success is creating a routine that works for you. When I was single, I was all about spontaneity. Now, give me consistency on an ordinary day and I am a very happy woman!

Some may hear that and think I have become boring. That's not true. Instead, I have become a grown up. 

Life has taught me that I need a firm handle of my work responsibilities, personal desires and my kids' commitments. Quite frankly, I could have a full-time job managing my kids. May daughter is a dancer. She practices nearly 25 hours a week. So, it's like a part-time job. That doesn't include performances and the required practices. My middle son plays sports. So, there are practices and game. And. my baby, is the most popular kid in his class and has a very vibrant birthday party schedule!

1) Use a Calendar to Memorialize Your Routine.

Working while parenting is a special kind of journey, especially if you work full time, have a demanding job and have multiple children. If that is your life, you are a part of my tribe! If you are a part of my tribe and want to live a peaceful life where you are not constantly living on the edge, you should live and die by your calendar. 

If you're married, it's best if your spouse does so too. However, if your spouse is resistant to maintaining a calendar and wants to live like it's 1999 (i.e., before they had kids and 24/7 access to an Outlook calendar) do not allow their approach to influence your choices. Maintain your calendar anyway. Your children are entitled to have one sane parent who is managing their lives after all!  

In addition to maintaining a calendar, you should constantly evaluate what is on that calendar to determine if that still works for you. Below are some questions to help you do that.

2. Evaluate Your Live to Determine if Your Routine Works for You

  • Five Questions to see if your routine is working for you.

  1. Are you able to care for your family without great frustration?
  2. Are you able to meet your work obligations with energy and enthusiasm?
  3. Do you feel good about yourself?
  4. Do you look good?
  5. Are your kids happy?

As you can see, this evaluation is intensely personal. And, "success" can only be determined by you. However, if your evaluation reveals that you are stressed out, exhausted, look haggard, and your kids are miserable, don't get discouraged. Make some changes. As a friend told me years ago, "life is to be enjoyed not endured." I have come to believe that should also apply to includes working moms. For that reason, I strive to have my appearance match my reality. 

Faking it until you make it can be effective. However, it cannot be a long-term strategy. Instead, strive for alignment. 

3. When you find that your routine isn't working for you, make changes.

Indeed, sometimes a small chance can lead to great results. Here's an example from Hoda Kotb that I heard on "The Hoda Kotb" show on Sirius XM. On the show, Hoda described how having a cup of coffee at 3:00PM had transformed how she interacts with her children after work and increased her satisfaction with her nightly routine. She indicated that one cup of coffee at that time of day gave her more energy at night. Because she was less tired, she was more patient, she was more engaging, and she was able to enjoy her kids more instead of merely counting the minutes until they went to sleep. 

I share Hoda's story because I think that it exemplifies my goals and those of the other working moms I know and support. We all want to have more enjoyable time with our children as opposed to merely co-existing with them after work--counting the minutes until they go to sleep. 

Here's to more enjoyment!!!

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