Being a Wife and Mom

Being a wife and mom in the 21st century allows women to experience the ups and downs of family life in an arena of technical and social advances unlike any other generation. With many women striving to strike a balance between the workforce and the home front, the struggle to be a good wife and mom as well as a valuable employee grows more difficult.

According to the US Bureau of Labor, about 60 percent of married mothers are a part of the workforce. That's actually a lower number than in previous years. Many married mothers are finding that the work-life balance creates too much strain on families and are choosing to stay home. This reverses a nearly three-decade trend of working married mothers entering the workplace. Many studies report that the workplace is inhospitable to married women who must also meet the demands of motherhood, with limited sick and personal leave, rigid schedules and even prejudice against perceived dedication and performance. The US is one of only a handful of countries without paid maternity leave; the cost of child care in the US for just one child can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars per year. It's no surprise that self-help and self-esteem books and advice Web sites targeting women caught in the work-life struggle have grown exponentially.

Tips on Work/Life Balance

Experts agree that there are several strategies women can employ to achieve the most successful mix of working outside the home and being a good wife and mother. Here are the top five tips any working married mother can start with immediately:

  1. Develop smooth routines: Chaos and a hectic schedule means that everyone gets frazzled quickly and bad moods and tempers are more likely to surface in that atmosphere. Outline ways to make things go more smoothly, from setting out kids' clothes and backpacks the night before and keeping a strict chore chart to working out the budget with your husband and planning menus well in advance of a grocery trip.
  2. Stay connected: When you are physically apart from your husband and family, you can still let them know you care and that they are loved. From including little notes in packed lunches to taking time off to attend a class party, children will know they can count on their mother for both support. Emailing your husband a few times a day with news or sweet nothings will help you stay connected emotionally.
  3. Take care of yourself: Whether it's taking time to exercise or indulging in a hobby, a wife and mothers often put themselves and their needs last. Work out a schedule with your husband and children that give you a few hours to do whatever you need. When wives and mothers reduce stress, the entire family benefits.
  4. When at work, focus on work: As a working woman, you are a valuable part of your company but may need to prove yourself to skeptics who don't believe that a working mother can be as dedicated or focused as other employees. Continue to provide productive and cost-efficient solutions to work problems to show your worth.
  5. Make time together as a couple: In order to keep the relationship on the right track, despite two careers and a house full of kids, date nights are critical. It gives you and your husband time to reconnect without outside stressors and allows real affection and emotion to take center stage instead of being pushed to the side. 
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