The Real "I Don't Know How She Does It" Moms

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PSP working moms talk about how to get it all done. Read their tips, parenting hacks, and not so well kept secrets about how to balance the dinners, the packed lunches, the PTA meetings, kids afterschool classes, work, working out, grocery shopping, and more.

 like-a-boss

 

Tip 1: Know it gets better:

"As a working mom I can definitely relate. The first few month's are by far the hardest. Once you get into a routine and realize that something has to give. You will NOT be able to do it all and that is OK. It took me a while to get used to that fact because I love having a neat home, things ready, organized, etc. But the reality is nothing is perfect and if you don't get everything done in a day it will be there tomorrow."

If you have a baby, know that "the first year is a lot. It doesn’t necessarily become “less work” later, but older babies and kids fall onto a more concrete schedule/routine that will eventually leave you with those coveted few hours of spare time that makes all the difference. So, to some degree your new normal is having significantly less spare time, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t mean absolutely no time or working yourself to the point of collapse."

"It does get better with time, but it’s definitely a balancing act! I went from full time work to working and going to school full time and there’s never a really long “break” to just totally relax, but there are definitely moments you can carve out of the day for yourself once you fall into a routine and can look for them!"

"I've been back at work for six months now, and after a couple of months things normalized. I can't say I've got it figured out, because it still feels like a struggle to get the unexpected or non-routine stuff done, but I stopped being exhausted by the daily routine after two months maybe. Hopefully that's something to look forward to."

 

Tip 2:  Outsource tasks and enlist paid help (cleaners, sitters, meal delivery):

"Outsource EVERYTHING you can. Hire a cleaning person, send the laundry out, order groceries (maybe even meal kits) from places like Peapod or Fresh Direct."

"No one works F/T while raising children and feels they've got it all down pat. It's not possible. I've been working since my nearly 7y.o. was 6 months old, though. Somewhere in there, another little guy popped in, and he's now 4.5. The first rule of thumb for me is to go easy on yourself. Only you know how complicated your life is. Do the best you can, keep your chin up, and don't let anyone else critique it. Ever.
Next up, find reliable help. Your Childcare should check all the important boxes (homework, violin practice, healthy foods and exercise, etc...). Treat that person well and they will reciprocate. Also be very clear in regards to your expectations, perhaps even with an employment agreement. Better to have everything out on the table before the relationship sours.
Figure out your budget. If you can swing a house cleaner, or outsourced laundry, or grocery delivery, or anything that makes your life easier, do it. You cannot do everything yourself. Not well, at least.
Find one-on-one time with your kids on the weekends. A simple walk in the park can be magical.
Let your spouse know that this ain't all on your shoulders. Sometimes, they need a reminder.
And last, treat yourself to Me-Time now and again. It's amazing how good a book and a cup of tea can feel. You've earned it. And when Mommy's not happy, no one's happy.
Best of luck. You are in very good company."

"Try to to drop as much as you can to keep your sanity, but keep the things that are important to you. Give laundry to your partner, order more takeout, ask grandparents to clean bottles. If getting to the gym helps you destress, keep it. If its bringing your more stress than its worth, its okay to drop it for a few months while you get your sea legs."

"Ask for help at home.  Ask grandma or your partner to help wash pump parts and bottles.  Run the dishwasher every night.  Pay for a professional cleaner.  Send out laundry."

"I don't get home until 7:30pm from work and I can't have my daughter wait until then so she does the homework with her sitter, who has a daughter a year older and whom I trust to help her thru it.  When I get home I review what she has done and she usually likes to do her reading assignment with me (she's only in 1st grade) so we do that before bed.  Her sitter also takes her to gymnastics and swimming.
I'm a single parent too so I have no choice but to enlist paid help when I'm at work.  Sometimes I feel sad I can't be there all the time but I know she is well taken care of and seems happy and that once she is asleep I get to finally relax."

"If I want time to myself, I pay for a sitter for an afternoon on the weekend, or have my nanny stay late once in a while. I prioritize on this too - I don't like to miss bedtime, but I also need the occasional night out with friends. If you have a partner, you can both offer each other a night each week that's yours for whatever you want - the gym, dinner out, or just a book at a coffee shop. I also recommend finding a sitter you feel comfortable with, so you have more flexibility if you need it."

 "Babysitter a couple late nights a week (or your grandparents)-  I leave work every night at 5 to get Natalie and get her down.  My husband gets home later each night.  I was getting a little grumbly that I literally had no free time-- even when Natalie is asleep, I cant leave our apartment!-- so once a week I have one of the women from daycare take Natalie home and stay just a couple hours to get her down.  Its an additional expense, but if you have it in your budget for the occasional (but regular) expense, I just love having a night a week to meet a friend, stop in a shop on the way home from work, take a slow walk home, whatever!"

"Hire a cleaner-  Again, and extra expense, but if you can find it in your budget have somebody come once every two weeks to give your place a cleaning.  I hate spending money on things I can do myself, but the fact is I have no time to do this myself and getting a house cleaner has eliminated the biggest thing my husband and I fight about.  A little less in savings in the long run, but a sanity-saver now."

"Also, TASK RABBIT is a huge help for the chores/errands that slip through the cracks!"

"I feel like a lot of great ideas were brought up already. I will just add- outsource what you can! To your spouse, to fresh direct to whoever. And yes, commute is a great "me" time (the only place I've read books since I had my first - get a Kindle if you don't have one so you don't have to carry more weight), as well as the only time I have with my husband solo without kids, chores, tv, or internet (for the most part)."

"-Hire someone to do a deep clean at least 1-2x per month. Not that expensive = creates sanity and happiness."

Read more PSP tips about splitting chores >

 

Tip 3: Communicate with your partner and split household/parenting chores with them:

"Your marriage must be equal in terms of division of chores and childcare."

"The best advice I can give, is to try to communicate more with your spouse and have him/her share the load and help where they can. Maybe see what their strengths are/schedule allows and handing that off."

"Insist that your partner does half the work at home. Women often unconsciously take on more."

"Years ago we made a big list of everything that gets done. EVERYTHING
- buying plane tickets for vacation, getting a babysitter for date nights, laundry, dishes, ordering cat food, doctors appointments, ALL THE THINGS. We signed up for the tasks we wanted and tried to make it as fair of a breakdown as possible. Every couple of years we switch tasks, add things to the list, take things off the list, make sure it's fair. We try to be understanding if the other person is having a hard week, but try not to take over the other person's job and just kindly remind them instead.
-My husband and I trade off on weekend mornings, so we each get a day to sleep in/read/go for a walk or run for a couple hours
-My partner and I both have a social night every week or every other week. We can go meet friends after work, and the other one is in charge for the night. We don't try to get home in time for bedtime, we just say goodbye in the morning.
-When it's my turn for just me in charge, dinner is green smoothies and scrambled eggs, or yogurt with granola and fruit (fast/easy)
-Once a week we order extra takeout and then we eat leftover takeout once per week."

"Basically, I accept that every day is/can be different and I take deep breaths when I start to feel that I'm in over my head. And I talk openly with my husband, even to check in on how he's feeling/doing, so that we both feel heard and validated."

"Get your partner to help! Besides splitting cooking and cleaning duties, mine always washes my pump and [my child]'s bottles, and then also usually puts them together and packs them in my bag each morning. It seems fair since he doesn't have to do any of the pumping. He usually does this or starts on dinner while I nurse [my child] before bed."

 "I second [the previous poster]'s suggestion about delegating tasks to your partner. We read this article together which was huge in validating a lot of what I had been feeling after going back to work and feeling totally overwhelmed. My husband and I actually sat down and made a spreadsheet together of all of our daily tasks, and broke things down into who "owns" which tasks. I printed that bad boy up and hung it in our kitchen and voila! no more asking and nagging. It has totally worked, and saved me a lot of sanity. I highly recommend! Good luck!"

"One small thing that has made a pretty big difference is that partner has taken on the task of washing my pump parts at the end of the day. He usually does this after babe is down for the night (around 8). We try to have at least an hour or two of hanging out before I inevitably fall asleep on the sofa. Once I’m down, he’s washing pump parts, I have filled my brain with television, and am happily asleep until I’m paged for a night feeding.  Remember that no matter what, you’re doing great."

"I wash my own pump parts bc my husband does a lot of picking up and laundry (he's home with baby), but I try to do it as soon as the baby goes to bed so I can get it out of the way and they can dry."

 "My husband is going to start washing my pump parts, as I was feeling overwhelmed with getting baby from daycare at the end of the day, getting home with all of our bags, snapping him in to the Mamaroo, bagging my pumped milk, putting parts and bottles in a bowl with water and soap and then washing them later. All while my husband was obliviously lounging on the couch watching tv or playing on his phone! So I spoke up and asked for help."

 

Tip 4: From Amazon Prime(!) to quality time - the tips from this working mom are inspirational:

"I am a single mother of 2 boys, so being a working parent is a blessing, otherwise we would be ...dead? homeless? Definitely poor(er).
I have a myth about spousal cooperation, but I see the original poster and most responders are one of a two-parent team.
But I understand, because for 6 of the 10 years I have been a mom, I was in a relationship, and the workload was actually more and overwhelming, I had way more to do than now. Hence I am single again. Sounds crazier, but in my particular case it is much easier.  
Here you have my basic rules:
-
quality times with the kids comes first, before sleep and food, before tv, before work, before everything else 
- I do not raise two kids, I run a household: we have traditions, family outings, shared passions 
- Amazon Prime saves me most - approx. 90% - of my shopping trips (seriously, I can't believe people buy toilet paper and actually CARRY it home...) 
- I get up early, very early, to get stuff done quickly and efficiently. 
- I love my kids' teachers, they attend awesome schools where I know they are taught exactly what I would teach them, and they are exposed to probably better manners, habits and ideas than in our home, if possible.  Homework is never an issue, but a chance for us to share what they have done in school. I am grateful for this because I know it's possible thanks to the great school my older one attends....but also my toddler's preschool sends me daily messages telling me what they have read or done that day, so we can share it and reinforce it at home...I am talking reading "Five Little Monkeys" or "The very hungry Caterpillar"...no brain surgery. He is 2, for God's sake! :-) 
- Baby sitters - our Main Baby Sitter in Chief is like a grandma to my kids, they truly love each other and have fun when they are together. She is my partner, my ally, she cares about what they eat, about bedtime, about being polite, safe, kids. And she charges me a reasonable rate that I can afford. I wish I could say the same of the back-up baby sitter but we need her rarely and most of the time we are ok.  - I am a good cook, and feed them 3 homecooked meals a day, I know where our meat and veggies come from and we have good healthy habits (Hurray for the Slow Cooker!!!!!!!!!) 
- I had to give up the cleaning lady this year, but will get one back as soon as possible because our home looks like ground zero sometimes. I am using this period of austerity as a teaching opportunity for my older son . Now he has to clean up his room and vacuum. Life is not always perfect. Oh well, he'll get over it. 
- I keep a serious schedule and a budget spreadsheet. When I forget to keep it right in front of my eyes it's when I slack, so staying organized is key. 
- I am not alone. I have a great group of no-nonsense single mom friends who are amazing and inspirational. Home owners, hard working, with gorgeous and smart kids in fancy private schools. They also find the time to exercise and dress up, I totally crawl after them. They are models, mentors and plain and simply amazing. AND when we do find the time to have a little fun, they are PARTY ANIMALS! :-) 
Things I find hard: 
- finding time to get a haircut and in general time for myself (a manicure? a late night movie?) but I had a very blessed and wild youth and an extensive collection of high-heeled shoes until my mid 30s, so I can't complain.   - my family and most  of my friends are overseas, so I need to travel a lot - which is expensive and requires lots of time off 
- recently I am having some health issues and I wish I could take some time off just to reset my body and get better, while I have to find the way to ..do it in my spare time (What does "spare" mean exactly?...)
Basically, I am spread very thin and in case of an emergency I have to rely on friends and neighbors. Not ideal.  I have this fantasy that life would be easier or better away from New York City, but in reality I have some advantages here.
Seriously, where else can you solve practical headaches with ... Zipcar? Fresh Direct? Amazon Prime? The WeCanDoIt coop? the CSA membership? Park Slope Parents? All the classes and amazing opportunities our kids have here?  I wonder if Liza Minnelli got it wrong "If you can make it here (in New York) you won't make it anywhere else..."   Time will tell. If my kids grow up all right, it was worth it. Good luck everyone!"

 

Tip 5: Follow this 5 Life Rules:

 "I run my own business and before that was a freelancers. My daughter is 8 and in the 3rd grade. Here are some of the things I do...
1. Have a housekeeper once a week
2. Hired a babysitter (when our daughter was 4 mos.) that could grow with us who helps with home work, taking her to gymnastics and on occasion makes her dinner
3. Have set days for laundry, grocery shopping and other important family to-do items
4. Make sure to laugh (sometimes at myself)
5. Plan, plan and do more planning ahead."

 

Tip 6: Pace yourself:

"This has been an amazing thread, thanks!  I'm in the middle of the 11mo sleep regression and feeling the no sleep/overwhelmed insanity of motherhood!  One additional thing that I constantly need to remind myself of: It's a marathon, not a sprint"

 

Tip 7: Buy online:

"Another thing that helped me was buying practically everything online. I get sad thinking about my carbon footprint, but it was just too much to go here for one thing, there for another. I decided that I would give myself one year of majority-online shopping before going back to my regular shop local habits. With Amazon prime, it is often as cheap or cheaper to buy online, anyway. I recommend instacart over fresh direct or amazon fresh because you can pick the grocery store, and it’s basically a personal shopper so there is much less packaging relative to shipped groceries and they deliver in a few hours."

 

Tip 8: Make time for yourself:

"But most of all...DEFINITELY MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. If you don't your sanity will suffer and so will the rest of the family. Take an hour a day (i know it seems impossible) to read, take a bath, take a walk, watch crap tv...anything that makes you feel like your old self is still in there somewhere deep under the yoga pants and breast milk soaked shirts. You might feel selfish at first but it's extremely healthy (and NECESSARY) to take this time for you."

"Consider using your gym time for you time sometimes if the gym isn’t adding anything to your mental comfort right now."

"One more tip that is life saving for me: I take a pto day for myself every month. I go to a museum, read a book at a cafe, get a mani/pedi, whatever. I just leave the house and tell work I’m not available. It offers me such a recharge! I also suggest finding activities to do after baby goes to bed (if you aren’t too tired). The Brooklyn Museum is open until 10 on weeknights, Brooklyn brainery offers classes, or an evening yoga or meditation class all are good for the soul."

"When you feel ready, hire a sitter on Saturday evenings sometimes so you can go out with your partner or just go shopping...do some things for you. This is one I have trouble justifying or planning but it's worth it when I remember! The Alamo Draft house is a date night favorite: booze, food, and a movie all in one place."

"Buy a jump rope. I sneak off and do 10 min jump roping sessions at least every other day. I probably make it to a workout class 2x per month."

"Find a workout regime that works with your life. I was never going to get to a gym other than the weekend. So I now have a spin bike that I can jump on early in the morning or late at night."

Read more PSP Member Advice about how to make time for self-care and exercise >

 

Tip 9: If you can, cut back on hours. Working only 32 hours a week with a flexible employer helps:

"Ha!  I've been having the same thoughts.  My oldest started kindergarten this year so we now have 2 drop offs and pickups a couple subway stops apart.  We are still adjusting but our time with the kids is definitely more strained than they used to be with both kids at the same daycare/preschool.  The silver lining is that my husband and I each have a small amount of commute time spending solo time with our 5-year old.
Looking at the school calendar there are SO MANY days off in a school year and there have already been quite a few daytime school meetings and volunteer requests (which I really want to do!).  Not to mention the inevitable sick days.  I am really fortunate that I only have to work 32 hours/week and my employer has been flexible when I do need to take off....but they might not be so happy about it long term.
I'm feeling stretched even thinner than usual and asking myself (and commiserating with my husband and our friends) whether this is really how working parents do it?!  I look forward to hearing input from the more seasoned parents!"
Read more PSP advice about negotiating hours at work ?

 

Tip 10: Lower expectations. Figure out what you can comprise (cleaning? breastfeeding/pumping?) and what can "give":

"You definitely have to let go of some things - whether it's gym time, a super tidy house, or being able to watch shows/movies.You'll have time for it again before you know it."

"It took me several months to feel like I had a rhythm down, and systems that worked for me in terms of getting things done at work and home. I'm a single mom, and work full time, so if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. That meant I had to figure out what was really worth doing, both at work and at home. At work, I've gotten better at prioritizing tasks, and being more efficient so I can leave at 5. At home, I've accepted that not everything is going to get done. My house isn't so neat, and my son spends a decent amount of quality time at the grocery store with me."

"Cleaning has gone by the wayside a bit for us. We've been trying to each spend 5 min cleaning something at the end of the day."

"Be okay with a little clutter. I have a small room I shovel everything into when the clutter gets to me. I go through it when I can but I feel less need to pick up every night."

"I feel for you. It's so hard and so exhausting. This particular period (the part where you're pumping), doesn't last forever. I am definitely more rested (quit pumping at work 5 months ago). During that tiring time, it was helpful to let some things go--whatever you can think of that may not be necessary (housework, social obligations, projects outside of work, etc.). I'm not sure how you feel about this, but you could think about letting that early AM pumping session go if you think it would make you feel better to get another hour or two of sleep. We started doing half breastmilk/half formula after my supply went down about 3 months into pumping and it was all ok. Baby will start on solids soon, anyway."

"I want to recommend the book Lactivism, which makes the case that for working moms, the challenges of pumping aren't always worth it, and it can be ok to prioritize the mother's self-care over getting a couple more ounces of breastmilk. It does get easier once the baby is old enough to have a regular early bedtime and you can grab a few hours to yourself in the evening."

 "I have 2 kids (4 and 1) and a very demanding job with crazy hours.  I had the privilege of being able to take 6 months of maternity leave and when I was close to going back to work (around month 5) I introduced formula and stopped completely the breastfeeding before returning to work.  For me personally it would have been too much.  Also I travel a lot for work so the logistics of pumping would have been a nightmare. I truly admire all the mothers who are able to sustain the breastfeeding/ pumping for so long and although it’s a very personal decision I just wanted to bring to the discussion another perspective."

"Figure out if nursing really is worth the stress for you. It wasn't for me."

-Don't bathe your kids every day unless they are truly dirty every day

 "One great piece of advice I received and keep reminding myself of is breastfeeding/pumping doesn't have to be all or nothing.  When I went back to work with my first I stressed about not being able to produce enough ounces (I was exclusively pumping) especially as my son started to drink more ounces during the day.  I also never was able to build up a freezer stash.  I made the decision to give one formula bottle a day and as soon as we started that routine pumping became less of a stress because I was not worried about whether there would be enough milk for the next day.  And when my supply dipped it wasn't a big deal to then give more formula when needed."

 "Also, one experience. I dialed back my expectations of what I want/need to get done, and find I am a happier human being."

"The chores do pile up and sometimes I feel like I am barely managing. But I also know in my heart that I am a happier, more patient mom and partner when I exercise self-care first. And in the end, I am always reminding myself that no one is going to die or be hurt by the fact that there are dirty dishes in the sink, and that I will sleep better by taking this time, even if I'm anxious about going to bed later than I want."

 

Tip 11: Leave work at work:

"Not sure how possible this is for you, but I really try to limit answering work emails once I am home." Read more PSP tips about how to leave work at work >

 

Tip 12: If you have a baby, considering sleep training as soon as possible:

"The other thing that helped us was sleep training. I know it's controversial, but it was best for us. Once the babies were sleeping consistently 6:30p-7a, life changed dramatically. We got home, played with the babies, then put them to bed and then we could do anything we wanted: exercise, cook and have dinner or go out with friends."

"I agree with whoever said sleep train (if that's your thing). It's so wonderful to put the little guy to bed and know my husband and I will have a few uninterrupted hours."

 "I second and third the suggestions to sleep train. It only takes a few days and is SO worth it when it works."

 "Be maniacal about sleep schedules. Better for your mental health and the kids' and the only way to get predictable down time."

 

Tip 13: Advocate your needs:

"Learn to be an advocate for yourself.  For me this was #1 and was so hard!  This means not budging on when you need to pump at work, leaving earlier or coming in later than you used to before baby and taking a lunch break to do errands."

 "Such perfect timing! I've been back to work for two months and I am currently traveling home from my first work trip. For me, I think some of the best advice surrounds setting boundaries at work. But, setting boundaries can be easier said than done. I enjoy my work and I am committed to producing the same quality of work as before the baby came. So... leaving work on time, making time to pump, etc is really challenging. I haven't figured it out yet, but it is so good to know so many other women are facing the same challenges and are some how making it work."

 

Tip 14: Plan the night before and cook ahead:

"Cook ahead for the week on weekend.  Buy lunch at work and don't feel guilty about it." Read PSP tips about cooking, working, and making time to eat dinner together >

"Shower at night"

 

Tip 15: Share with others, especially your PSP groups, what you are going through:

"Reach out to this list or any other support network when you need a boost.  I have found working moms at work and on this list to be incredibly supportive."

 "Just keep talking to other working moms. Sometimes just knowing that I am not alone is enough to make me feel better!!"

 

Tip 16: Get up before baby to have time for yourself:

"Wake up an hour before baby for a little alone/quiet time. I'm sure you don't want to wake up any earlier than you already do, but.... it is nice to not feel like you are soooo stressed out FIRST thing in the morning. Losing that stress was worth losing a little sleep. I usually pump, straighten my hair, catch up on emails, etc because once he wakes up he pretty much takes my full attention."

 

Tip 17: reframe "me time":

"This might not resonate with everybody, but I also feel like I changed what I consider "me time" and the value I give that time, more as "my time", and not necessarily time I have alone. For example, taking a long walk with my son after I pick him up from daycare gives me a chance to exercise, get some air, stroll around, go to shops etc. He's in the stroller and so it's practically my time. Dancing around when my son is having dinner in his high chair (and laughing out loud at mommy!) or putting music on and dancing with my son before dinner is also a way to release the stress of the day, have fun and move while still with my son, so I consider that "my time" as well."

"My commute is maybe 30 minutes, and I again try to use that time to read, play a game on my phone, listen to music, zone out. In the beginning of being back to work I would commute with my husband and it was nice to use that time to chat with each other and be silly. But now, he takes baby boy to daycare, since he has to be at work earlier than I do. I am then able to actually finish the cup of coffee I start, take a shower, get ready...I even do dishes or other light cleaning as I have way more energy in the morning. It has been glorious to have that time for me!"

"Tech is not the enemy - if your kid playing on the iPad for 20 mins gives you quiet time - go for it."

"Some things i try to do - I've started being really aggressive about carving out time for myself/time with friends:  sneaking in exercise on my lunch hour when possible or if i ever get out of work early making sure to use that time for myself and not to just run errands. Going out with friends on Friday nights once a month or so when my husband is home and the kids are in bed or close to it. Joining a book club and reading on the subway or even just for 5 minutes while i am eating lunch at work. If i am ever driving in the car by myself, which rarely happens but when it does, hooking up the blue tooth and calling my best friend or one of my college friends who live far away and are hard to connect with. Making real girl time a priority at least once in a while. I did a spa afternoon in Bay Ridge with my best friend when I was pregnant with my second and we plan to do it again this year."

 "I try to incorporate my little luxuries into my time at work. Once every couple of months, I get a pedicure at lunchtime. I get my hair cut the same way. I (very very, way too) occasionally hit a mid day yoga class. That way I incorporate some nice things for myself that I am not willing to do on weekends bc I want to spend that time with my kids. I would like to do more of that stuff: as long as I don't miss any meetings, there is no problem with me taking an hour for myself now and then. It's just hard to prioritize it when I am also trying to leave at a reasonable hour and there is always work to do."

 

Tip 18: find allies with other moms:

"Find a mom in your building to do a weekend morning "swap" with. They watch your kids Sat for 2 hours and you switch on Sunday. I'm lucky to have a mom on my floor with a daughter 2 months younger than my son. We don't do it every weekend, but when we can - we do."

"I have one suggestion that has worked very well for making time for myself, time with my partner and friends and doing errands: we recently joined a babysitting coop and it rocks! it's based on points so the financial impact factor is removed."

 

Tip 19: be super disciplined:

"Be super disciplined - know what is important to you and make how you spend your time a choice not something inevitable."

"In terms of making quiet time for yourself, I find for me this is a bit like saving money--you have to take it off the top, if that makes sense. In other words, I give myself 30 minutes to 1 hour every evening where I do whatever I want...read a book, do some gentle yoga, take a bath, face mask, etc. I do this in spite of nagging feelings that chores are piling up and I 'should' be using my time to do something 'productive.' [...] You may have to ask your family for this break time, and they may have to do more on their own (I mean, teenagers can certainly help with chores, right?). But I think it's worth it and they will notice a positive change."

 

Tip 20: keep supper simple:

"We order in at least once per week, sometimes twice, and the other days I cook and often make too much so as to have leftovers for lunch later in the week."

I am one of those people who enjoys grocery shopping so often do that on a weekend and then just cut up a lot of veggies, have hummus on hand and use that to cook with or just eat simple (myself) during the week. I like Trader Jo's for frozen items like turkey and regular burgers, that cook up fairly quickly and aren't too unhealthy when paired with simple pasta and a sautéed veggie; I also like the breaded chicken breasts/fingers from places like Fairway/food coop that can cook in the oven in a half hour, same type of pairings."

 Read more PSP tips about meals and cooking for busy parents >

 

Tip 21: Telecommute when you can:

"I telecommute a decent amount and when I don't, I try to make the commute useful by working on the train or at least doing the pleasure reading thing instead of just sitting or being on a smart-phone, I find reading a book (so outdated these days) is a sanity thing, either just coming home or in both directions."

 

Finally:

"Be kind to yourself!  It's a hard transition but you can do it."

"Say yes to friends. I have dragged myself out multiple times when tired and am happy for it."

 

Recommended resources:

"Although the consensus seems to be that no one has time to read, I want to recommend Overwhelmed (most appropriate title ever). It doesn’t offer all the answers but I did feel like it gave me words to describe what we are all going through. Not to mention data and examples of companies, couples and policies that are trying to make work-life balance more attainable for both women and men. It really is so important that we all share our experiences and fight to improve this for all. We are not alone in this!