How to Make Your Working-Mom Life Work

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Offers some stay-sane tips.

1. Give up the guilt.
It’s a waste to spend family time stressing about being away from home. Remember that working is providing for your family–financially, of course, but also because it builds your self-esteem, which can make you more confident in your parenting decisions.

2. Make the job work for you.
Even if your company doesn’t have flexible work policies, it might be open to them. Write a proposal for your boss that spells out what you’re asking for, how you’d make it work, and how it would benefit your employer. If you’re shift worker, would it be okay to trade shifts to get a coworker to cover for you.? If you’re an office worker, could you share your office and therefore save the company money? They might turn you down, but it’s worth asking.

3. Seek out new options.
If you find that your employer is really inflexible about your family needs, you can always get a new job. Ask around and browse company websites to get a sense of which employers offer the benefits you need. At your interview, ask what a typical day is like, and pay attention to how rigid the schedule sounds. If it will vary weekly, find out when it’s posted–the more lead time you’ll have, the more likely you’ll be able to take care of your family needs. If you’ll be working in an office, scan the cubicles for family photos and kid artwork displayed–if there are lots of parents, chances are it’s a family-friendly environment.

4. Share responsibility.
We tend to think of family needs as moms-only issue, but if you’ve got a partner, he should look into family-friendly work as well. Work together with your spouse to share the burden of family-work balance.

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