- Track your time. Pay attention to your daily tasks, including work-related and personal activities. Decide what's necessary and what satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities you don't enjoy or can't handle — or share your concerns and possible solutions with your employer or others.
- Take advantage of your options. Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stressed you're likely to be.
Flex hours? Job sharing? I’m an attorney and already reduced my hours to part time (i.e., 40 hours a week) when my second child was born. My career has been sidetracked and I don’t know when I’ll be made partner now. Maybe never. Senior Managers may get this option but most women of child bearing years are simplly out of luck. My kids looked confused when I tried to explain the concept of flex time to them – I don’t think they’re going to go for it. I wonder if I could only bathe them on weekends to save a couple of hours a week.
- Learn to say no. Whether it's a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child's teacher asking you to organize a class party, remember that it's OK to respectfully say no. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you'll have more time for the activities that are meaningful to you.
I can’t say no to my boss. I’ll get fired. Work is very busy and the Depression (Recession is such a joke; call it what it is) has left us with too few employees but the work still has to get done on time. I already don’t do anything at the school. I throw money at any requests they make of me because if I have a spare moment it is for my kids; not for everyone’s kids (well, okay, I honestly might use that precious time to clip my toenails; that has to happen, too, you know). I wish I had more time than money but I don’t. My kids cry because they don’t see me enough. They want me home right now and I want to be there because I know they’ll reach a stage when they don’t want me around anymore. Maybe that’s when I’ll feel relief – a poignant relief from all of these demands.
- Leave work at work. With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there might be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. When you're with your family, for instance, keep your laptop in your briefcase.
Great idea….said nobody ever. Do this if you want to lose your job. Part of my job is getting published regularly and that means I am always reading, researching, or writing. I can’t really do this part of my job at work although it is part of my workload. And then I have to consider the written exams and the expected turn-around times. University students pay a lot of money for their educations and they don’t understand not getting their exams back as promised because I spent the night holding tiny heads over the toilet as my kids threw up. They still expect to get their exams back. And it’s such a joke to think it works the other way around. If my kids call me at work, I take that call.
- Manage your time. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put family events on a weekly family calendar and keep a daily to-do list. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
Before I added children to the mix, my house was spotless. I would look at other women and wonder how they could not keep up with the housework and get dinner on the table despite their full time jobs. I get it now – it isn’t about organizing efficiently; let’s not blame the victim here. Why are you cleaning your house anyway? You aren't ever there! Who made this list anyway? I’m betting it was not a working mother.
- Bolster your support system. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
At work, everyone is pretty cut throat. Tenure is rare and no one is going to cover for me. My obligations are my obligations and if I can’t keep them I shouldn’t be here. They resented me when I took 2 extra weeks of FMLA after I had my baby. I watch in envy as men take off an hour here and there to go watch their kid play a soccer game. My time off has been severely eroded by sick kids, teens in crisis, and my aging parents. Sadly, I’m the trusted friend and loved one everyone else is trying to rely on. I just don’t get how this suggestion is supposed to help.
- Nurture yourself. Eat a healthy diet, include physical activity in your daily routine and get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends — such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.
Hahahaha If I could practice yoga in the car I would. But I have to drive at breakneck speed to keep up with work, hubby, and kids. My husband and I work our butts off to make sure everything at home is running smoothly and the children are cared for. Now I’m supposed to find time for myself? I mean I do think exercise is important and I do go to zumba whenever I can make it. but I also realize this may be the only "fun time" in your entire day. One time our zumba instructor asked our group "what fun things do you ladies have planned for the rest of the day?" We all looked at each other and said "uh, this was it?"
This list just doesn’t seem very helpful for me (or for the myriad women with whom I have shared it). I fear real help is going to have to be more than platitudes from clueless people. How about advice from some real people out there? Women who have discovered tips and hints based on their actual work-filled, kid-filled, husband-filled lives?