10 Work-Life Balance Hacks That Get This CEO-Mom to Sleep Early Every Night Because working moms can always use a little extra shut-eye. by Karyn Schoenbart
When I was in my 20s, I had a severe case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It wasn’t called that back then, but trust me, if there was a party, concert, event or even people just hanging out in the hallway of my dorm room, I needed to be where the action was.
Then, a strange thing happened. I fell in love, got married, and a couple of kids later, I developed some new fears such as falling over from exhaustion, being mistaken for a zombie and forgetting to feed my kids dinner (which I actually did one time). The good news is that my kids, my husband and I survived and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s all likely to work out just fine.
Instead of FOMO, now I prefer GTSE (going to sleep early). As Oprah once said, “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once.” My advice: Decide what “having it all” means to you, and then let some of the other things go. It’s OK to skip things and not help everyone all the time. Your real friends will understand. Weed the others from your life. I know it’s easier said than done, but below are 10 tips that may help.
1. Outsource as much as you can. Figure out exactly how much money you need to fund the essentials and then you’ll know what you have left. This is usually called discretionary income, but instead think of it as your “outsourcing income”—and outsource whatever you can afford. Then, you can spend more time doing the things you love with the people you love. This is likely to mean some sacrifices, but that’s where deciding what’s really important comes in.
2. If you have a partner, divide and conquer. Talk about it upfront, so it’s clear and you can avoid finger-pointing later. You can do this along any lines that make sense. Some people still divide chores in a typically gendered manner—don’t judge! Whatever works, works! For my husband and me it often came down to who hated a chore less.
Don't hesitate to "outsource" and get help with some of your chores.
3. Find your food groove. If you like cooking, then by all means cook, but if you don’t, there are numerous options available today for food-delivery services. If this doesn’t work for you, try preparing a bunch of meals at one time to make weekday dinners easier to manage.
4. Simplify food shopping. I designed an Excel spreadsheet based on the aisles of my local supermarket and hung it on the refrigerator. Whenever we were out of something, any family member could mark it on the sheet, then each week, I’d simply go up and down the aisles and pick up what we needed. If you prefer more modern technology, there are apps that you can use that do similar things and will even provide delivery.
5. Make it the kids’ problem. If you have a chore you’re not crazy about, involve one of your kids and try to make it a game.
6. Power nap, if you can. I used to do the late carpool from religious school and I purposely got there 10 minutes early, so I could take a quick nap. Those 10 minutes gave me the extra energy I needed to be able to play with my kids, even after a long day in the office.
7. Find your village. Network with other parents and see if you can make some trades for tasks or childcare.
8. Create a master packing checklist for traveling. I often forget something like a hair clip or a phone charger, so the list helps me avoid a missed item and saves me time.
9. Share a digital calendar with your spouse. A friend of mine claimed this is the only way she and her partner know who has what when, when schools are closed, if they need to juggle pick-up/drop-off schedules, or if they need to call in reinforcements!
10. Block off your work calendar after 4:30 p.m. every day. Speaking of calendars, save this time for you. I might have to schedule something after 4:30 p.m., but this makes me think twice before doing so.
Don’t be too hard on yourself and keep a sense of humor. Kids are more resilient than you think. I’ve made mistakes that my family won’t let me live down. Instead of getting upset, I take them in stride. For example, as mentioned, one time I forgot to feed my kids dinner. I was busy running errands with the kids, and yes, I just forgot. When my husband came home around 8 p.m., my son mentioned that he was hungry. Instead of getting angry, my husband cracked up, which made the kids laugh too. We toasted up some bagels, no one starved, and they have a story that they can lovingly hold against me forever.