By Corine Ingrassia, owner & editor of Complicated Mama
In addition to raising their families, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner are producers of “The Today Show” and co-authors of their book “Today’s Moms”, which complies some of the greatest tips on parenting that they’ve discovered through “The Today Show” staff, guests and experts.
During the Modern Mom’s Balance session at the 2011 MommyBites Summit, Alicia and Mary Ann shared their experiences as modern day working moms and the steps they take in their lives to achieve work/life balance.
Alicia began the session by described a time she and Mary Ann were working around the clock and her husband asked her, “When are you going to be done?” At that moment, Alecia knew they needed a break to focus on family and figure out how to balance work/life better. She said that this when she realized that “maybe you can have a little bit of everything but there will always be a give and take- and a little bit of struggle- and that is ok”.
1. Don’t run your home like your career. Mary Ann described the anxiety she would feel as her children would play with puzzles and toys when she felt she always needed to keep the house completely neat 24/7. She explained that she has learned moms “need to figure out what matters most to us and what can fall to the way side.” We also need to remember that our husband can help with the kids and the house too; it’s ok to delegate responsibility to them.
2. Make friends with technology. Smart phones can be addicting and can make it difficult to “shut off” from work when you are with your family. The women suggested you make some time during day that you are with your family and your phone is no where in sight. A Today Show guest once told them she does this by leaving her phone in her car when she gets home. When the kids are in bed, she goes out to the car and gets it.
3. Be selfish. Schedule time for yourself. Be selfish with your partner too. Find a night during the week for you and your spouse to have date night and make it a rule to not talk about the kids or work.
4. Let your children judge you to erase the guilt. Sometimes our guilt is over the things that don’t really matter to our kids. Ask them! Alicia told the the moms in the room “guilt and I are really good friends” but she found when she asked her kids what they loved most about things they do with her surprisingly their responses didn’t ever mention the times she went to school functions or recitals. It was pancakes on Saturday mornings and reading books at night: the simple things.
5. Build downtime into your schedule. Leave one weekday completely open. This will allow you to have some downtime and also will ease stress if you have a last minute emergency during the week.
Over all, looking at the big picture will help balance your views as a mom. The ladies told the moms, “there are weeks that you will feel like the worst mother in the world; there are weeks you will feel like the best mother in the world;” that is balance.
Corine, aka Complicated Mama, is a freelance social media consultant and the co-owner of digital media company, Complicated Media, LLC. She is also the acting Community Manager for online retailer, The Big Toy Book, and toy trend publication, The Toy Insider.