There are many articles out there which document the mental load that a Mom carries, not only does she have to take care of her family and manage a household, in many cases, she has to work as well. I am one of those Moms that has a pretty large mental load. I run a business, I have a baby, I have a house to take care of, and I want a social life. Needless to say, there are a lot of things going on, and while I haven’t totally figured it out, I have certainly come up with some shortcuts to help balance all of the madness.
Start The Day Off Right
As a working Mom, you can never use the excuse, “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” You still have people who need and want things from you, so, it’s crucial to start your day off right. Here are a few things that I like to do. First of all, I make sure that in the morning, when I check my phone, I check it for only three quick things: I check any notes or updates that I have left for myself for that particular day. I then check my calendar so I know exactly what’s going on—I usually do this the night before as well but this is just a good reminder. Finally, I check my email really quickly to see if there’s anything urgent that I have to take care of. Other things that I do to keep up the pace: I make sure that I unload the dishwasher in the morning. As annoying as it might sound, I unload it while something else is happening like water is boiling or some food is heating up. That way I know that the rest of the day at least the dishwasher and the kitchen counter area is set and it’s not going to become chaotic. At this stage in the game Riley is pretty easy to satisfy when it comes to breakfast, she also eats at daycare, so typically in the morning it’s just some milk for her while I prep my lunch—just a few food items (usually leftovers), some cutlery, and a napkin. Simple.
Before Riley was born, I thought that I was pretty organized and on the ball. After she was born, life changed (of course!), but then after I went back to work, a whole other level of craziness reared its head. I had my own stuff to tend to, and now I had to get her off to daycare as well. So, where I thought I was efficient in the past, I had to completely rejig my routine. What I used as a benchmark was the habits of highly effective people. I tried to incorporate some of these ideas into what I was doing each day. This includes things like preparing the night before—so now I pick the outfit that I’m going to be wearing the next day and leave it out for the morning. I also pack my bags the night before—my work bag, my purse, any documentation or forms—and I always make sure that I have everything charged as well (laptop, cell phone etc.).
Now, let’s say in the morning, everything goes right and then all of a sudden I pull my shirt on and I get a lipstick stain on my shirt. This can really throw a wrench in your plans. Instead of freaking out, I just keep my Carbona Stain Devils handy. I like keeping these around because they are specifically formulated to deal with certain types of stains so I know that I’m not running the risk of a stain remover product maybe working and maybe not working. I simply deal with the stain, throw it in the washing machine for later, change my shirt, and move on with my day.
My car is like a little home away from home, and now that I have a baby, I’m always thinking two steps ahead. I’ve been in enough situations where I’ve been without something and had to go all the way back to my house just to get it, or have to run out and buy something in a pinch. So, what I do now, is pack a little emergency bag and throw it in the trunk. This will include some washcloths, a package of wipes, a spare diaper, a blanket, a change of her clothes and, of course, a change of mine. That way neither of us is ever in a pickle. And, while I do carry a diaper bag with me most of the time, it’ll be that one time I don’t bring it with me that something will inevitably happen. I also like to keep some cleaning tools in the car with me. First of all, some microfiber cloths. These have come in handy so many times! If there’s a spill or a mess of some sort I just grab one of these cloths and give it a quick wipe. The other thing I keep around is a lint roller. This is good not only to remove pet hair, which is often on me after I leave the house, but any crumbs that have fallen in the car.
Keep Your Workspace Clean!
There are things that can splash onto a monitor, a phone, a tablet, a keyboard… the list goes on, so, it’s important to keep a couple of little cleaning solutions handy (you can use little mini spray bottles and just keep them tucked in your desk). The first one would be a general disinfectant—just equal parts water and rubbing alcohol. This is great to clean any of your screens as well as disinfect any surfaces that. You can also have a general-purpose cleaner with you—a little bit of dish soap, a little bit of water—and you can use this with a general-purpose microfiber cloth to give any surface a quick clean up. This is important because I always find that mess begets mess, so the messier your space looks the messier and grimier it will become over time. If you can nip it in the bud and stay on top of it by keeping these simple little tools handy, it’ll help keep your workspace a lot cleaner.
At The End of The Day…
As many Moms say: when they get home from work, their other full-time job begins. The first thing I want you to know is just don’t feel bad about anything. There are days where I am on top of the world when it comes to keeping clean and on top of things, and there are days where I totally drop the ball and I’m jokingly apologetic about it—but really, deep down in my heart, I don’t feel bad because I’m doing my best. That said, there are a few practical things that I do just to try and stay on top of things. The dishwasher is so important for me. As I said, I unload the dishwasher in the morning so that when I get home, any lunch containers, any sippy cups from Riley, any things that we use to cook and eat dinner, can all get put right into the dishwasher (instead of sitting piled on the counter). The other thing that I make sure I do is wash any stained clothing. I’m not talking regular laundry—specifically stained clothing. Whether it’s from me or Chad or Riley, I will gather any of that stained stuff—so that shirt that I got a lipstick stain on in the morning, that’s going to go in this load. And, of course, anything that Riley comes home with is going to go into this load as well. I’ve been using Carbona Color Grabber lately, which are these microfiber sheets that you throw in with your laundry that grab and lock-in loose dyes to prevent color runs. Brilliant. This saves me a lot of time because I don’t have to worry about separating out colors, especially for a small load.
Above all else, each night just takes some time for you, whether it’s reading a magazine, doing your nails, catching up on a show that you’re binge-watching or just sitting in your room playing Scrabble on your iPad. Whatever you need to do to unwind and just take your mind off of everything else, do it. It’s so important to recharge your batteries so that you can be rested for the next day.
A special thank you to our friends at Carbona for sponsoring this article.