Working Mom Tips

Advice for working moms looking for work and life balance.

Are You Ready For Sunday?

Work Life Balance Tip

Yes, I know it’s Monday. And I know many people have “a case of the Mondays” every week. But I think a great Sunday can help you not dread Monday. You may even find yourself refreshed, rejuvenated and looking forward to it (YES, it’s possible…).

So, if you’re game, here are a few time management steps that you can start today to get you on the path for a true Sunday.

You know, a day to relax and give your mind and body the break it so desperately deserves.

Add time-consuming chores to a weeknight. I do laundry over two nights, usually Thursday and Friday. Then on Saturday morning the most I have to do is put it away. I also split up the bathrooms to do one a night.  Doing things like this have cut my household chores to an average of 1 ½ hours on Saturday.

Plan a Girls’ Outing. If you have a hard time taking a break put it on your calendar, and add a friend to the date. That way you are accountable to someone else and you’re less likely to cancel. It’s also motivation to take the little steps needed throughout the week to have some free time on Sunday.

Schedule grooming appointments for lunch breaks or evenings. Hair, nail and waxing appointments can take up a whole Saturday. However, if you go during the week salons are usually less booked, so your appointments are faster. Many have late hours and you may save a little money since most have specials on Monday-Wednesday.

Delegate. You will see this on many of my posts because it really works. The less you have to do, the more time you can have for yourself. Look at your list and see what you can give to someone else. And let them own it. Even if you are tempted to take it back because they don’t do it your way, remember we all need a learning curve. Then focus on the time you gain.

Happy Monday!

Four Ways to Ease the Anxiety of Meeting Offline

networkingtipsformeetingofflineWhether you are preparing to attend a conference (think BlogHer, Blogalicious, etc.), or you just want to feel more comfortable socializing offline, here are four ways you can ease your nerves:

Make a habit of saying “Good Morning” in the elevator. Go even further and ask how they are doing. This is great practice in starting a conversation with someone you don’t know. It will prove to you that most people are friendly and will speak if you speak.

Make sure your elevator speech sounds like you. Your 15-30 second description of you and your business and/or blog should flow easy in conversation. Having an elevator speech that is comfortable will help you feel confident talking about yourself.

Have a list of icebreaker questions in mind. Some of my questions are:

  • What have you enjoyed most so far?
  • What drew you to this conference?
  • How was your travel?

As you see, these questions are designed to get the person comfortable talking, and are pretty safe subjects. They also do not signal any type of self-fulfilling motives.

Arrive early. This one you may have seen before, but I added it here because it works. Arriving early does two things. First, it saves you from walking into a room full of people that you do not know. Secondly, you can pick your spot, which saves you from having to take whatever is left (you know, that chair in a middle row that forces you to squeeze past numerous people in that awkward “I don’t want to put my butt in your face” position).

Do you have any tips that have worked for you?

Adding Glam To Your Office

It may not be appropriate to outfit your office with hanging chandeliers, pink satin pillows or leopard rugs, but you can glam up your work space and still get respect from your male colleagues (because let’s face it, it might be difficult to be taken seriously if your office looks like a dollhouse).

In addition to flowers, try:

 

Coasters. I have pink coasters that are accented with rhinestones and mirrors. They are fabulously fabulous, but not so overbearing that it’s the first thing visitors see when they enter my office. And since my water bottle is usually on one of them, it’s the perfect amount of shine peeking out from my desk.

 

Pencil holders and other desk accessories. Use non-traditional items. For instance, instead of a holder, why not try a jewelry box? Or a stationery box? Both are practical and will add a conversation piece to your desktop.

I love this one from The Container Store.  Also, since everything should have a place, why not make the place you sit your mobile phone glam by using an amazing saucer or soap dish?

 

Colorful notepads. I LOVE notebooks and the more colorful the better.But,  you don’t have to start with a rainbow. Feel free to start slow and work your way up. I recommend carolinapad.com. They have beautiful notebooks for every taste and they can be found at local retailers. Right now I’m scoping their Royal Twist collection.carolinapadstationery———>

 

Reed diffusers. Candles are a fire hazard, but reed diffusers are not. Plus, they’re an excellent way to add a signature scent to your space. Clean linen or ocean scents are usually safe bets. I suggest staying away from florals, fruits or anything that may make others nauseous.

If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them. I’m always looking for little ways to make big statements.

Treats For Kids When I Travel For Work

whattobuykidswhentravelingforworkWhen I travel without the girls I always bring them a treat, or at least what I consider a treat. On my last trip to NYC I bought outfits, really cute outfits.

Once home I pulled out the bag, excited to see their faces for the “treat reveal.”

They are bubbling over as I pull out the clothes, not because they love them, but because they are still waiting for their treat. I try to explain that the outfits are the treat, and they like them, but according to Princess 1 “clothes are not a treat.” They insist the treat is the half eaten bag of plantain chips in my purse.  I give in and let them share the bag. I also make a mental note that next time I don’t have to try so hard.

The following week, before my trip to New Orleans, they don’t take any chances. Princess 1 says, “Can you bring us back a real treat, like candy or cookies or something?” And Princess 2 cosigns with a nod and says, “Yes Mommy, candy.”

At this point I’m wondering when the secret meeting happened to discuss my inability to choose treats. I also wonder if Princess 1 was voted spokesperson or if she took it upon herself to lead the cause.

Nevertheless, I went with candy. White chocolate lollipops (see picture) to be exact, and they were a HUGE hit. Wonder what my pep talk will be next time.

Mango Salmon With Green Beans For Dinner

mangosalmondinnerrecipe
Corny Mango Salmon with sauteed green beans and rice

I am not a bad cook. In fact, I’m pretty good. Predictable, yes, but good. My favorite dishes stay in heavy rotation, and I supplement those with eating out. So this year I plan to try at least one new recipe each week. You know, keep the family guessing.

For New Year’s Eve I made these awesome chocolate chip cheesecake cookie cups. OH. MY. GOD. They were SO good! I put the leftovers in the freezer and they are even better straight out the freezer! Yeah, this might be a problem…

Yesterday’s dinner featured corny mango salmon. Let’s just say my mouth is watering as I type this. It took all of me to share the last piece with Hubby.  I usually order these types of dishes when we go out, but to make them at home… oh yeah, I’m so excited!

I’m not sure what’s on the menu for this week, but I’m taking suggestions.

Time Management Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard

Here are a few time management tips you probably haven’t seen on any of those “Top 10 Ways to Manage Your Time” lists:

I cook a day ahead. I’ve tried to cook all my meals for the week on Sunday, but that was overwhelming. First of all, I don’t want to spend my Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, I want to hang out with my family and friends. Secondly, where am I supposed to store it? And what happens if I change my mind?

So now I cook my meal for the next day after the kids go to bed (this idea came from a Twitter friend). That way we can have a real meal minutes after we get home, instead of waiting the hour it would take for me to bake chicken.

I PWD (Polish While Driving). Yes, I know you may be grimacing, but it’s true. The average stop light is at least one minute and I go through several on my way to work.

So, instead of sitting there in a huff because the light is taking too long I polish my nails while I wait. I use quick dry nail polish; right now I’m loving NYC’s In a New York City Minute in Central Park. It’s great because I don’t have to worry about smearing polish, I don’t waste time at home waiting for my nails to dry, and there are no kid chores to mess them up. By the time I get to the office, I’m set.

I talk while I shop. I realize that this bothers some people, but when I’m shopping sans children I can catch up with the grown-ups in my life. So, while I’m browsing the aisles of Target or Trader Joes, I chat, usually to my mom, my sister or a dear friend.

I don’t yell into the phone, I’m not rude to the cashier (I hang up or put the person on hold while I check out) and I am not oblivious to what is going on around me.

So, if you see me talking in the store and you’re wondering what is so important that it can’t wait, here’s the deal. What I’m saying may not be important, but the person I’m talking to is priceless. Yes, this is me managing my relationships.