How to Manage Up With Regard to Family Commitments

how to manage up with regard to family commitmentsHere’s a suggestion for a topic we got from folks who took the survey a while back: how can working moms “manage up” with regard to family commitments? Along similar lines, “how to explain your new life choices to an employer who is used to you working long hours”? I can’t wait to hear what you guys say — what’s YOUR best advice on managing up once you become a working mom, ladies?

(Pictured: Hall & Oates women’s tshirt (I Can’t Go for That- No Can Do), available at Etsy through Exit343design’s shop.) (Affiliate link.)

Just to throw in my $.02 of tips, I think a lot of it comes back to general advice on how to manage up:

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Advice on Work-Life Balance — To Your Pre-Mom Self

Advice on Work-Life Balance from Working Moms to Their Pre-Mom SelvesOver at Corporette, we recently rounded up some of the top advice readers have shared over the years for women wondering about getting pregnant — the planner’s guide to TTC, if you will. But moms, here’s the question for YOU today: What would you tell your younger, pre-kid self if you could? Is there any other major advice you’d impart to someone who wanted to get pregnant? Would you make any serious changes in your life, either on the family side or the career side, if you could? What’s your best advice on work-life balance, as a working mom, to your pre-mom self? 

I keep seeing stories like this one and this one where working moms talk about how they were total jerks to their parent coworkers before they had kids, and NOW they get it — why a 4:45 meeting is a bad idea, why you’re not lazy or antisocial if you don’t want to come out for drinks after work, why occasionally your family is more important. On the flip side, I’ve seen many comments from younger readers who are annoyed at all the work/life balance advice at conferences — they don’t think it’s helpful, they don’t think it’ll apply to them, they don’t understand why we constantly complain about it. I also see articles like this one and this one about how women are annoyed when they’re asked about work-life balance as moms. I understand their point if we’re talking about a situation in which there are, say, five parents on a panel and the men are all asked about their backgrounds and work while the only person asked about work/life balance is the mom — BUT, as someone who struggles with work/life balance, I wish it were talked about MORE, among all parents.

SO: What would you tell your pre-mom self about work/life balance, if you could? What do you wish you had known before you decided to get pregnant? In general, what’s your best advice for work-life balance from a working mom perspective?

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How to Level Up Your Childcare/Personal Help (When Money is No Object)

how to level up your childcare | extended options for very busy momsIf you’re a busy working mom, good childcare is a must — but what happens when a nanny doesn’t even begin to cut it? How can you level up your childcare and household management? (Warning: this post is not terribly budget-friendly.)

I’ve wanted to talk about this ever since I read this post from Penelope Trunk (written in 2008 but I first read it more recently than that) about hiring a house manager — an entire position I never knew existed but would love to have if money and time allowed. So if you need more than a nanny, let’s review the “additional childcare options for very busy moms” that I know of (beyond, obviously, getting your husband to be an equal partner and sharing parenting duties)…

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Do, Delegate, NOPE: Holiday Edition

Let’s brainstorm, ladies: what are some of your best ideas for holiday delegating (or ignoring altogether)? I was thinking about that old game “F–, Marry, Kill” the other day (maybe it had something to do with our celebrity crush open thread over at Corporette) and thought we should start a new series here on CorporetteMoms that’s kind of in the same vein, but about work/life balance instead. For the moment we’re calling it “Do, Delegate, or NOPE.” Here’s the idea: as working moms we all have a ton of things on our calendars and to-do lists at any given time — some can be delegated, some ignored, but some you have to do yourself (or want to do yourself). We’ve talked about being overwhelmed at the holidays, picking the best gifts for your child’s teacher, etc., etc. — but let’s talk about the holiday to-do list in general. These are your options:

  • do — do it yourself, either because you enjoy it or want to make sure it gets done right
  • delegate — outsource/assign the task to someone else (partner, caregiver, third party) because you can
  • NOPE — just ignore the task completely because there’s no room for it in your life

I drew up a list of holiday-related tasks for moms, and you can comment below. For each category (do, delegate, nope), choose at least one of the tasks in the list. (It has Christmas-related things on there just because it takes a lot of bandwidth for me personally, but if you follow another religion please use those to-dos and traditions as well!)

I’m hoping this will be kind of fun — but maybe also we can learn a little from each other, recognize that some things can be delegated, and so forth. It can also be a helpful list to sit down with your partner at the beginning of next year’s season and say “OK, these are the things on my radar — what can you do, what can someone else do, what can we ignore?”

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Vacation Planning: How Early is Too Early?

vacation-planning-a-year-in-advanceI’ve mentioned before that I’m not great at planning family vacations. Now that J is in kindergarten, though, the school year feels a lot more constraining on our schedule… and I realize it’s only going to get worse from here on out. In order to try to force myself to plan vacations, my husband and I just picked a few things we know we want to do, are divvying up the planning work, and we’re trying to block the year out ahead of time so we know what’s what, with school schedules and other major dates in there.

I’ve heard a bit about “year planning,” as well as about planning way in advance for some trips (I’ve read articles that suggest you plan Disney 9-12 months in advance!) — so I thought it might make an interesting discussion here.  So: Do YOU plan your year in advance, including visits with far-flung relatives, vacations, mini-trips, date nights, etc? Do you go by the school year, calendar year, or something else? If you have grandparents far away do you try to visit them, have them visit you, or explore a new place together? Does this help you stalk ticket prices/hotel prices and the like, help you with planning (or outsourcing planning), or otherwise mentally help you plan? (For those of you who’ve been doing this a while, are there major pitfalls to watch out for?) I had found a summer planner earlier this year that really saved me this summer (I can’t find it now, of course), and we just had a nice discussion about the best planners and planning tools over on Corporette, so I thought we’d discuss here.

(A blogger’s blogger who I follow, Michael Hyatt, has a single Excel spreadsheet that looks awesome for planning your year — it’s from 2013 but you just have to update one cell to the correct date and it automatically changes the dates to the current year.)

Ladies, what say you — are you this ahead of the game? Does it make division of labor easier or harder for vacation planning, as well as for requesting work vacations and more? 

(Pictured: Private collection; all rights reserved.)

How to Make Mornings Easier As a Working Mom

Make Mornings EasierIt’s every working mom’s goal: to make mornings easier, both for YOU and for the family/kids. So how do you do it? What hacks and tips have you found? What are you considering?

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg shares the story of a woman who put her kids to bed in their school clothes to save 15 minutes in the morning:

One of the other panelists, an executive with two children, was asked the (inevitable) question about how she balances her work and her children. She started her response by saying, “I probably shouldn’t admit this publicly . . . ,” and then she confessed that she put her children to sleep in their school clothes to save fifteen precious minutes every morning. At the time, I though to myself, Yup, she should not have admitted that publicly. Now that I’m a parent, I think this woman was a genius.

It’s too true!  Some tips I’ve tried over the years to make mornings easier (particularly as someone who is not a morning person):

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