No working mum can be perfect, but every working mum can be great. How? By finding ways to deal with the stress, workload and time shortage that usually comes with the territory.
Try these techniques which will free up time for you to enjoy your job AND be a more relaxed mum.
1. Feel confident about your choices
Turn off the guilt switch. Whatever your reasons for working, it is a valid choice you've made that will benefit you and your family. Just ditch the guilt: it's a waste of emotional energy.The decision you've made is the one that's best for you, your family and your baby - so that's that.
2. Make good childcare a priority
Finding and keeping good childcare takes a lot of time, energy and emotional input. Often it also involves compromises, too. Perhaps you need to travel further or spend more than you'd hoped. But once you're happy with the childcare you've organised for your child, you will find going to work much easier.
3. Get organised
Good organisation means you'll be able to spend more time enjoying life with your family. Put simple systems in place - online supermarket shopping, a notebook to jot down things you need to remember such as appointments, a box file for bills and paperwork that needs attention. That way you can spend more time with your child and less fretting about household chores.
4. Look after yourself
Don't neglect your own needs. Make time to eat properly, get a good night's sleep and do things outside of work and family life. The healthier and happier you are, the better it will be for your child, and the easier you will find it to cope with life's everyday demands.
5. Share parenting
Make sure your partner does his bit and takes equal responsibility for childcare and household tasks. Working as a team will prevent resentment building and also help strengthen your relationship. When you and your partner are feeling close and supportive, the stresses and strains of life with growing children are easier to handle.
6. Try to keep home and work separate
Making a clear division between work and home life is vital. Don't answer work calls on your mobile at home and don't check work emails. It's important for your child to feel that he, rather than work, is the most important thing in your life.
7. Check things are working out
Taking a fresh look every so often at how well you are managing your work and your family life is the best way to avoid small niggles blowing up into a full-blown crisis. Regular check-ups can help you make the adjustments to keep your work/life balance running smoothly.
For more ideas, check out How to be a Great Working Mum, by Tracey Godridge and Martine Gallie. Click to buy.