Having a family deems you responsible for wearing a million different hats that you never knew you owned. Moms are chefs, chauffeurs, personal stylists, grocery store lane experts, project managers, alarm clocks… the list goes on! Being a mom is nothing short of a full-time job, and still, women everywhere take on demanding careers in addition to caring for, supporting, and raising a family. It takes commitment and drive (and perhaps the occasional late-night glass of wine)!
Rest assured, there are a few unspoken tricks of the trade to help maintain the elusive work-life balance everyone is after. We have SkinnyFit supermom, Dede Montoya, here to share her secrets to balancing a family of 5 and full-time career.
But first, let’s take a look at why and how work and health are not always as supportive of one another as they could be.
Why Women Are Struggling With Work-Life Balance Now More Than Ever
It’s no secret that women pride themselves on being able to do it all. Female brains are marginally more successful at multitasking than males, and in general, women tend to lead a household more often than men do. Ultimately, this leaves women feeling like there are more boxes to check per week than their counterparts.
According to one study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of working mothers rose from 47.4% to 70.3% between 1975 and 2014. We’ve also hit a popular surge in the emphasis on ‘self-care’. So now, with those same 24 hours in a day, women are feeling the pressure to succeed as professionals and raise a family—all while dieting, working out, and maintaining a daily self-care routine. At some point, this high-speed attitude and schedule is bound to take a toll!
How Being “Too Busy” Can Affect Your Health
When faced with a jam-packed day, often the first sacrifice ends up being one of two things: sleep or self-care. While most of us know that we can’t pour from an empty cup, we continue to deprioritize a good night’s sleep to fit in everything else.
Sleep scientist, Matt Walker, explains that when we lack proper sleep, the hippocampus region of our brain performs at a nearly negative success rate. This region of the brain is responsible for receiving and filing new memories. When our brains aren’t capable of performing this very important function, we end up feeling like shells going through the motions of our day—not creating new memories or learnings. We begin to live robotically.
In order to snap out of this floating-through-life haze, there are a few key tips that our mom expert, Dede of San Diego, has graciously shared! Mom of 3 and full-time human resources professional, she offers her personal 5 keys to a successful work-life-self-care balance, along with specific fitness tips for moms.
RELATED: 13 Useful Stress Relief Tips For Moms!
5 Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle With A Busy Schedule
Tip 1 – Set yourself up for success (not guilt)
If necessary, mentally prepare yourself for me-time. Know that you are stepping away from mom duties or work to fill your cup. Dede shares that one of her biggest struggles is “taking time out for myself rather than spending time with my family.”
For anyone struggling to grasp the importance of recharging, she reiterates, “It might sound like a trite statement but I can’t overstate its merits. I feel horrible when I don’t exercise or eat right and my bad attitude and low energy is observed and absorbed by my family.” Instead, accept and understand how important recharging is for both yourself as well as your family and work life.
RELATED: 3 Tips For Prioritizing Weekday Workouts (+5 Full-Body Booty Band Workouts)
Tip 2 – Be realistic with your week
Don’t overwork yourself or forget to ask for help! While wanting to cook an amazing meal every night of the week is thoughtful, it may not be practical. “I pick out easy-to-prepare meals that don’t require more than 1 hour to make, and that are simple, healthy and delicious!”
Working with the time you do have, rather than what you hope to have, will create a more successful (and less stressful!) schedule for yourself and family.
Pro tip: If you’re able to hire the neighborhood babysitter to lend a hand, do it! This way, you get to tackle your to-do list in peace.
Tip 3 – Multitask… successfully
There are two awesome ways to multitask when it comes to balancing health and family. First, Dede suggests bringing the fam to the gym! If you’re lucky enough to go to a gym with a daycare, it can feel like a family outing. Everyone gets to go and do their own thing.
Secondly, she recommends workouts that accomplish more than one goal, such as yoga. “It provides the stretching so desperately needed after sitting 8 hours a day at work and it also helps to declutter and relax the mind.” By getting in both a good sweat and a meditation, it allows you to feed two birds with one seed.
Tip 4 – Plan, plan, plan! Then, share your plan!
Let your friends and family know what your week (or month!) looks like. This will lead to more successful scheduling and less guilt from saying “no.” If your friends and family know that every week your kids have karate practice at 4 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they’ll stop asking you for coffee and playdates that you always have to say no to.
When your in-laws know that you go to the gym or take me-time each Monday evening, maybe they will offer to make dinner for the kids or even invite them over for the night. “Find what makes you happy and establish a routine,” says Dede. A routine does wonders for kids, and is good for the brain of any age.
Tip 5 – Create mindful transitions
“I don’t bring work home and I don’t bring my home and personal life to work. These divisions help keep chaos at bay and help me stay fully engaged in the present,” says Dede. Giving ourselves even just 5 minutes to transition from one activity or setting to the next can be a total game changer. It would be impossible to go straight from working out to eating dinner to going to bed, which is why allowing ourselves transition periods is so helpful.
When struggling to transition from the energy of the day to the lull of bedtime, Dede uses SkinnyFit ZzzTox tea. “It really helps when I can’t shut off the brain,” she says.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Ultimate Busy Mom Workout Plan! (How To Sneak In 20 Minute Workouts!)
When having a family, crushing your career, and remaining healthy all teeter at the top of the priority list, these 5 tips will help you create some much-needed balance. If you need help, ask for it. If you want more me-time, create it. Remember, supermoms, fill your cup first and the rest will overflow.