Ways to Keep Your Sanity as a Part-Time Working Mom
9 weeks after I had my daughter, I had to go back to work 33 hours a week. I was able to work 3 long days, which was nice to have two days off, but it was still exhausting, even though I was considered “part-time”. I was trying to search for balance in this new role of mine. Part-time working mom, but still working three 11-hour days. I felt alone in my situation, not a working mom and not a stay at home mom. The pressures of being a working mom are intense and well descibed in this post on Scary Mommy.
My husband did both drop-off and pick-up so I had that taken care of. On my plate though? Worrying about EVERYTHING. The food, laundry, cleaning, taking the trash out, the dog, formula, worrying about using formula because I wasn’t breastfeeding, diapers, my own packed food for work, dinner, and the list goes on and on. Fast-forward a few years, another kid, and reducing my hours from 33 to 27, and I still struggle.
As Time Passes, It Is Still Hard
We’ve made improvements as a family, but it is still really hard. As moms, I think it’s easy to assume other moms have it so much easier. The stay at home mom doesn’t have to work. The working mom gets to socialize at work, and the part-time working mom has the best of both worlds.
When people ask about my work situation I always reply, oh I’m 27 hours a week! It’s really nice, I get the best of both worlds! Well, I am here to admit I am 100% lying. It’s complete bullshit, and it sucks. Sometimes, I feel like I am terrible at everything. At work, I worry about the kids and chores and at home, I am stressed about work, planning for the week and what the hell I’m doing with my career, or life really. The career I have after two college degrees that I worked extremely hard for.
I do admit, at times working part-time is nice, like when I was pregnant with Nolan….I could just sit at my desk and eat food all day long! The extra money is nice too since we would have to make big changes if I stayed home. Also, depending on the job, I can see the appeal of “staying in the game” and still climbing the career ladder (I still negotiated a promotion at 27 hours a week, so it can be done!).
The Pressure Is Real
However, along with the “perks” of working part-time, I still feel all the pressure. The pressure to provide financially for our family, the pressure to be involved in daycare and preschool events, to be in the moment with my kids on my days off and in the evening during their bedtime routine. The pressure to ease the load off my husband who has a demanding job, but remains so involved with our kid’s daily routines.
I guess no matter your situation; stay at home mom, full time working mom, part-time working mom, all of these options are hard. These past years have taught me a lot. Specifically, the need to put me first. In hopes I can help you too, here are tips for balancing life as a part-time working mom.
Ask For Help
Why is asking for help so hard? Regardless of the reason, you gotta do it. During the stressful days, I would catch myself beginning to resent my husband. Every time I would hear his video games turn on I would fill with anger. How on earth does he have time to play video games when I have so much to do??? But newsflash, I did everything myself by choice (control freak). He would ask what he can do and I would say nothing, and then resent him for it. I had to start asking for help or stop getting mad when he wouldn’t read my mind. Happy to report, after a few years of work, I no longer fill with steam when I hear the video games turn on. 😉
Start A Chore Chart and/or Hire A House Cleaner
This was a big one for us! We have someone come every 3 weeks to do the deep cleaning of our house. We still vacuum/mop/wipe down the counters between cleanings, but that is nothing in comparison. It was worth it to us to change our budget to allow room for this type of help.
Outsource What You Can
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In addition to hiring a house cleaner, we have tried a few meal delivers services (still on a search for the *perfect* one since my diet is ever changing). We have Target subscriptions (I don’t ever have to think of buying paper towels, TP, diapers, soap, etc..), meat is delivered from Butcher Box, and in a pinch, I will use a service like InstaCart to get groceries delivered. Figure out what takes up the post time for you and your family and see what you can outsource.
Reassess What Your Priorities Are For Your Family
This is ever changing, but for us, our priorities include alone time and quality time together as a family-which is difficult for me as I get caught up in all the laundry, meal prep, and other constant to-do list items. This is something I am working on, and in an effort to make our weekends more about family time, we started sending the kids to daycare more during the week so I can have time alone to focus on chores. It has helped so much because let’s be real…I am super efficient when the kids and husband aren’t home! With that being said, I have taken over a majority of the chores, which is fine by me because its less time Patrick and I need on spend on them during the weekend.
Up until now, I felt tremendous guilt for having time to myself to complete chores, but as a family, we decided it is worth the extra daycare cost to allow for more quality time during the weekend and it has worked out quite well.
Make Time For Yourself
I know this is hard for a lot of moms, but you have to. You absolutely have to put yourself first. My theory is me first, husband second, kids third. Does this happen often? Unfortunately no…but I am making progress!
Here is an inside peek of the thought process when I try to put myself first; “I want to workout. Oh cool, my workout class is at 8; I can take the kids to the gym’s kids club so Patrick can sleep in. Ugh, but I don’t want to deal with taking the kids to the gym daycare because I will have to get them out of bed early to change and eat breakfast. Ugh…but if I go I will need to make it up to Patrick for taking care of the kids in the morning on his day off.
I feel guilty, I already get time off from work while the kids are at daycare, so he should get this Saturday morning to sleep in. You know, I shouldn’t go to the workout class. I should work out on other days…” blah blah blah and then I don’t go because I have created this emotional draining dialogue in my head that makes no sense.
Let’s break down how ridiculous this is. First, if I want to work out, I should go workout. Second, Saturday is not only Patrick’s day off but my day off too. Third, the guilt I feel from that “off” day I have where I don’t go to work and the kids go to daycare? That day is spent doing laundry, cooking, chores, etc.. I am not laying around watching TV all day (unfortunately). Fourth, Patrick doesn’t give a crap. Not that it really matters but he doesn’t care. We help each other out. If I want to go out, cool. If he wants to go out, cool. Moral of this suggestion? Interrupt the crazy dialogue that goes on in your head and do you!
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Questions for you!
- Are you a stay at home mom, working mom, or a part-time working mom?
2. How do you make your life easier as a working woman?