Setting Up Support Structures: 3 Tips for the Working Mother

This guest post is by Jasmin Tragas.

Before I had kids, I didn’t find it too difficult to justify going out to dinner after a hard day’s work. After I had kids, it wasn’t even on the radar. That probably has something to do with … let’s see … juggling work, kids, school pick-ups, housework, budgets, lunches, homework, kids’ sports, community commitments, exercise, catching up with friends … and simply having time to relax. If you can squeeze in the time!

I used to marvel at friends with more than two children, and wonder how they did it. Then I noticed something they all had in common.

I could tell you about how important it is to be plan, plan, plan, and how a little organization goes a long way. But I’ve also noticed that some of my friends simply had some great support structures in place.

Support 1. Food

Okay, so going out to dinner with the family to eat a good meal every night might not be an option. And take-out is probably not the healthiest choice, although I have been known to resort to “sanity pizza”.  Admittedly, when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy I ordered a few week’s worth of dinners from a popular diet company—not because we were on diets, but as emergency back-ups. The food was nutritious and really helped in the early days (just be sure to let them know you’re pregnant so you get the right amount of calories and nutrition).

What about getting your food delivered? There are plenty of supermarkets and greengrocers online. We’ve even found it’s just as affordable to have our milk, eggs and bread delivered twice a week—a massive help on busy mornings.

Support 2. Cleaning

If you can’t afford a weekly cleaner, maybe a fortnightly clean can fit into the budget. It can make a huge difference. Just getting your business shirts ironed by someone else can make a significant impact on the amount of time you have to do other things.

Support 3. Babysitting

Do you still go on dates with your partner?  Don’t be afraid to ask someone you trust to babysit so you can have some time together. It’s important that you have time to yourself as well, and having a babysitter means you can do that whether or not the “you” time suits your partner’s schedule.

Simply putting these few small support structures in place has made a huge difference to me during life’s busy seasons. And while some of them might come at a price, it’s worth investigating to see whether they fit in your budget. After all, sometimes it’s just a matter of asking a friend of family member if they could drop a meal around if you’re having a difficult week with a sick child.

How about you?  Do you find it easy to set up  “support structures” to improve your work/life balance?

Jasmin Tragas is a mother of three, and and spent several years working part time at IBM. She currently works for ProBlogger two days a week from home.

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Comments

  1. Agree on all three points, but what I have found most important to manage all that juggling was to set up regular sacrosaint time for myself. Every day I get up at 5.30am and have a cup of coffee and a bit of reading/blogging/whathaveyou in my own company only. It saved my sanity.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly to the 3 above and to what the reader above says. Time for yourself is crucial!
    Bernice
    Would starting a business help your work/life balance?

  3. Hi JM, Bernice,
    Absolutely – you need time to step back before you can even begin to think about support structures. JM I often thought about getting up earlier to have that “head space” time – glad to see it’s making such a difference for you. Interesting to see you list blogging as something you do in that time, as I’ve also found personal blogging can be a rewarding way to spend time on my own.

  4. You told us that any thing properly planned can give you wonderful result. You have helped lot of people by planning the life of yours.

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