15 Things Working Moms Should Definitely NOT Do This Holiday Season

The holidays are a special time of year, but they’re also the time of year for insane work deadlines, sugary binge-eating, serious spending—and way too much time with those extended family members we avoid the rest of the year. So it’s pretty easy to blow a gasket or burst a seam while at work or home during this period. Want to avoid losing it this year end, and gain some ho-ho-ho instead? Do not do these things.

1. Line Up Back-up Care at the Last Minute

Will the kids be out of from school from before Christmas until after the New Year, but you’ll be powering through at the office? Hello, working mom. Many of us will be making the commute to work during the holidays. One thing you definitely cannot do at the last minute: get back-up care.

You think your family and friends will be around to watch the kids. You think your sitter will be on deck. Uh, uh, life happens. So make concrete plans well in advance—including a plan B in case plan A falls through. This way, your kids will be cared for, and you won’t have to drag them with you to the office (if you’re even allowed to).

Read More: 15 Things Working Moms Should Definitely NOT Do This Holiday Season

Relax This Season,

Laura

Why This Working Mom Loves Stay-at-Home Moms

I have been on both sides of the great motherhood coin.

I was once the stay-at-home mom (SAHM) who worked from home at night, or on Sundays strictly part-time, but I was mostly home. I didn’t miss a day with my daughter, and now, I am a working single mother who uses after care and, sometimes, before care. From managing the home front full-time to working 9-to-5 or later full-time, I have done it all. I can tell you the pros and cons of both situations. I can wax poetic on the battles I had as an SAHM, versus the battles I have now as a working parent.

No matter which side of the coin you are on, parenting is a hard job.

I have never understood why other women feel the need to make anyone else’s parenting choice — whether it to be at home or to work — their business. No one’s situation is the same, and for many of us, our situations change and develop as our kids grow. As mothers, we have seasons in our lives in which we have to decide how to prioritize our time, money, and lives based around our kids’ unique developmental needs.

So bottom line, how does putting someone else down for her choice or comparing your situation to someone else’s make anything any better?

Read More: Why This Working Mom Loves Stay-at-Home Moms

Thank You Ladies,

Laura

8 Complications You Run Into at Work as a Working Mother

You know you’re a working mom when you enter the office in a beautiful new dress and have a glaring PB and J stain or snot rocket all over the front of it. Of course, you didn’t realize it because you were too busy shoving kids into a car or chasing them toward the bus stop with the hopes that somehow everyone would end up in one piece at school.

Your survival — and your new dress — was secondary.

Having office hours while caring for kiddos can get pretty complicated, even if you’re miles away from them at the office. Read through for eight reasons.

1. The Outfit Conundrum

You get a great deal at Loft on new office dresses. Your child gets a great craving for cheese puffs. You walk into the office with orange stains down the front like you just exited a clown car. You took so much time to do your hair though (and by time, we mean five minutes) that you don’t even recognize the hot orange streaks on your outfit. You’re too pleased you’re having a good hair day.

 

Read More: 8 Complications You Run Into at Work as a Working Mother

You Really Liked That Dress,

Laura

4 Things Your Childless Co-Workers Think About You as a Working Mom

As a working mom, your childless co-workers may or may not have thought this about you as a working parent and co-worker.

It’s not that your childless co-workers aren’t awesome — they are! — or that they don’t like kids (they may or they may not!) but that from time to time, they think you get perks that are unfair thanks to your status as a mom.

1. How Come She Gets Flex Time?

I am of the school of thought that companies should offer flex hours, whether you’re a parent or not. I understand that not everyone may deserve that privilege, but if employees are stuck to their desks and jobs 24/7, eventually, they will quit. Burnout is not pretty, and if you are a working parent, you know how hard that work-life balance is. Everyone needs it.

Read More: 4 Things Your Childless Co-Workers Think About You as a Working Mom

Why Her?

Laura

Working Through Divorce

As a newly single mother living on one income, having a job is high on my priority list. I was working part-time when I was married, and once my husband and I separated I immediately had to go back to full-time work. Learning to navigate a new job and single motherhood while going through a divorce was tough. If you’re in or have ever been in this boat, you know what I mean.

So how can working moms get through divorce with their jobs intact? First things first: Make sure your kids are cared for. You can never have enough backup care, suggests psychologist Leah Klungness, Ph.D., co-author of The Complete Single Mother.

Read More: Working Through Divorce

It’s Tough,

Laura

Why I Love Working and I Don’t Feel Bad About It

Let’s be real for a few minutes, shall we?

I am a divorced single mom. Not working is not an option. Work is survival. I am the head of my household, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. When I was at home with my daughter, I built a lifetime of memories into two and a half short years, and if I could do it over again, I would. I miss all that quality time I had with my girl. I miss not running around like a mad woman. I miss having time to schedule things rather than cramming every moment in. I miss feeling like I could slow down for one second without worrying about when life was going to bulldoze me over.

But those days are long gone. And you know what? My single parenthood. My divorce. My hectic, crazy life does not mean I go on day to day, surviving. I thrive. And even more still, I actually enjoy working. I enjoy knowing that, at the end of the day, no man or other human being is responsible for me and my daughter’s care. That, ultimately, the fruit of my labors bring us care, shelter, food, and more. That my efforts are building a young girl’s world and substantiating mine!

Read More: Why I Love Working and I Don’t Feel Bad About It

Sisters Are Happily Doing it For Themselves,

Laura

Making Time to Play With Your Child as a Working Mom

While each situation has its pros and cons, I miss the time I had to play with my child when I was a stay-at-home mom. To add salt to the wound, as a divorced mom, I have to split my time with my daughter even further. It often feels as if my time with her was cut by 75 percent, and each weekend I have with her seems to whiz by. When I tell you that even eating breakfast with my daughter is a delight, I am not lying. With my work schedule and the custody schedule, I live against the clock.

A big challenge for any parent but especially a working parent who is not home for one-on-one time with the children is finding time to play with your little ones. Weekends aren’t just for playtime — they’re for errands, homework if your children are old enough, couple time (if you’re married), and then some. You often feel as if you’re stuffing a life into short sprints of time and clinging to minutes. This is where that serious working-parent guilt comes into play. I remind you, working moms: “It’s quality and not quantity.” You could sit down with your child every day from 9 to 5, and if you simply stared at your kid, what much good would it be? Not much. To all parents, working or not: it’s the quality you put into your interactions with your kids that matter. Not the hours.

Read More: Making Time to Play With Your Child as a Working Mom

Making the Time,

Laura

Is it Time to Leave Your Job?

For some moms, going to work is an easy choice because they love their jobs, but for other moms working is simply a choice dictated by financial need. Sometimes though, a job may end up not being worth that paycheck. Here are a few situations in which you may want to give your two weeks’ notice whether permanently or temporarily.

Work Stress

Do you come home with constant agita, migraines, nausea, or other health issues? Are you having trouble sleeping? Is work stress and problems spilling into your home life? Is it impossible to just leave work at work? If you answered yes, it sounds like your job has become a pressure cooker. Add bonus points if you’ve lost or gained a considerable amount of weight.

Is this stress affecting not just you but also your family members? If you find yourself snapping at your kids, distracted while playing with them, forgetting family events, or struggling to keep up at home and work, your work stress may be affecting more than you alone.

Read More: Is it Time to Leave Your Job?

Work- Life Balance Isn’t Easy,

Laura

13 Things That Inevitably Happen When You’re Raised By A Strong Mom

In my eyes as a child, no one — not even my dad — was more powerful than my mom, who I nicknamed “The Strong Woman.” She couldn’t lift elephants with one hand like the “Strongman” at the circus who lifts weights with his nipples and animals with one hand, but her personality and presence were striking enough that when she needed to intimidate or make an impression, she sure did.

Just ask the kids I grew up next to who made the mistake of teasing me, only to find my mom outside their front doors yelling in her heavy Brooklyn accent. When you’re raised by a strong woman, there is no doubt that these 13 things will happen to you:

Read More: 13 Things That Inevitably Happen When You’re Raised By A Strong Mom

Apple From The Tree,

Laura

You Can’t Have it All: Why Women Feel Like They’re Failing

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When I was growing up, I heard that women could have it all.

We could have careers, raise children, and make a good living, maybe even better than the men in our lives.

Damn, it sounded peachy. It sounded easy.

I always imagined myself working and as a success.

I never pictured myself as a timid wallflower, and so far that has been more than true, but for the first time in my life I am realizing that the old 70’s-80’s feminism lied to me.

I can’t have it all.

And while many of you probably feel like you’re a success and probably are, I happen to think that a bunch of you probably feel like you are failing to some degree or another, in managing that career and kids our generation said we’d have no problem managing.

I commute a long distance from my job. I’m working on changing that, but I end up clocking in a 64 hour work week.

I love my job, but I never see my kid.

I don’t mean that my time with her is cut down. I mean I don’t know what she will be eating for lunch most of the time.

I mean I am gone so much that I never eat a single meal with her all week, until Saturday.

I mean, I don’t drop her off at her grandparents or school. Or pick her up.

I mean, I get to put her to bed 3 weeknights a week, sometimes 4.

I make use of the time I have with her on the weekend, and the few nights a week I get to bathe her and put her to bed, but do I have it all?

Hell no.

This is not the image of a balanced life I was sold as a kid.

I feel like I am not a mother, but merely a walk-on who gets to play mother on the weekends.

And of course, when I have to leave early because my kid is sick or I take off to attend a school function, I shove in my work within a short time frame, and leave early, watching others working hard, feeling guilty that I am not clocking in the exact same hours that they are.

Do I have it all?

No.

I can’t have it all. I can’t always be at the office, and I can’t always be home.

I work hard and parent well, but inside I am feeling like a failure.

When I get to work, I am in the zone, enjoying what I do, but when I got a call the other day that my kid was sick and I couldn’t get her until hours later because I live far from my job, the bus schedules blow, and traffic was terrible, I got home feeling like crap.

I couldn’t stay the full day at work. I couldn’t be there for my kid.

How am I doing a good job at all, as a parent, I wonder?

Even if you’re just dropping off and picking up your kid, you’re clocking in parenting time. You’re part of the daily routine.

I went from being in charge of my kid’s day and mostly at home, to becoming a mom-spector. Do I exist? Do I matter anymore?

You’ll tell me I do, but I don’t believe I do.

Am I saying you shouldn’t have a career? Absolutely not.

Go out and get one. Do it! I love what I do…

But find a life balance.

Make sure you’re with someone who sees things as you do, and then both of your prepare a plan for when you have kids how duties will be shared, especially finances. If you can, save ahead of time so you can go down to part-time work, or telecommute if you are able. If you want to work full-time, that’s great, but be sure that your situation will enable you to stay in the picture. Trust me.

My kid is 2.5. Her moments mean more than a paycheck.

We can’t have it all. We cannot be perfect. We will have to leave early. We will have to miss out on moments with our kids that will hurt. We will feel hopeless at times, and even feel as if we are doing nothing right.

But most importantly, at least we know the truth: we cannot have it all, but we can have what we need, and that’s what matters. Figuring out what you need will make you a happy working mom.