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14 Working Mom Tips for Balancing Baby and Business

Expert #mombosses share their best hacks, tricks and shortcuts.

14 Working Mom Tips for Balancing Baby and Business

Most working moms will tell you that motherhood has made them stronger, more efficient and better at their job. But that doesn’t mean the #momboss life is easy! Balancing baby and business can be strategically, emotionally and sometimes even physically challenging. According to a recent Pew study, 60% of mothers say it is difficult to maintain a balance between the demands of their career and the demands of raising a family.

And yet, children raised by moms who worked outside of the home have been found to be more successful in their own careers. Which means your working mom status not only benefits you, but your kids too.

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In case you need a little extra inspiration, we mined some of the most experienced #mombosses at WeWork, a supportive community for entrepreneurs -- many of whom also happen to be mothers (including Well Rounded’s working mom team!) Here’s 14 of their best hacks, tricks and shortcuts you can apply to your own working mom juggle.

1. Prioritize. I decide each night what the two most important work items are for the next day. That way, even when the unpredictability of family life derails the work agenda, I’ve had a productive day by making sure to meet my two goals. -- Sofia Dickens, founder of EQTainment

2. Try to be fully present in whatever you’re working on. When I'm in a meeting, then I am 100% focused on the topic at hand, and when I am home, I try to be 100% engaged in that. This approach has helped me balance personal and work around the clock, while still being efficient at the task at hand. -- Karly Giaramita, VP, Strategic Events at WeWork

3. Preparation goes a long way. Every night I lay out my outfit for the next day (including accessories and shoes – which take the longest) and pre-pack my child’s lunch. I'm up, showered, and dressed before my son. Having these things ready allows me to breeze into work on time and focused. -- Cynthia Nimmo, Chief Executive Officer, Women's Funding Network

4. Don’t obsessively check your email. I don’t check email until the morning. As Timothy Ferris so poignantly put it, email is someone else’s to-do list, not your own. -- Sofia Dickens, founder of EQTainment

5. Talk to your family about your work. I've made an effort to share with my daughter how passionate I am about my work. I want her to see work as an exciting and challenging adventure and that she, too, can create her own firm, if she wants, that focuses on a topic that's important to her. -- Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC

6. Seperate home life from office life, at least in front of your kids. When my daughter was six she asked me to play "family", where she played me and I pretended to be her daughter. She promptly sat down at the dining room table, opened my laptop and said, "Oh, hi honey. No, I can't play with you now. I'm working and it's very important. Let's play later." That moment spurred me to stop working at home and move my "world headquarters" to a WeWork office. While it's still tempting to take care of work when I'm at home, I've trained myself to separate home from the office. It feels great. -- Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC

7. Stop multitasking. Multitasking is a myth, and for me has resulted in a scattered feeling and poorer quality results. Instead, I "single task." I set my timer for 45 minutes and work on a single project, avoiding my emails. Also, I'm a big believer in checklists. I use Trello and an old fashion notebook to keep track of my tasks for the day. This helps me keep my priorities in mind and I love writing those checks in the box when I've accomplished a task. -- Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC

8. Pick your networking commitments carefully. I am pretty social and like networking and connecting people regardless of my mom status. But, it is harder to network, especially at evening events when you want to get home to snuggle with your babies. I pick my events carefully and try and make a few memorable connections at an event instead of lots of ones that I can't remember a week later. I don't say yes to everything. I will often replace an in person meeting with a phone call, unless it is an important first meeting. -- Jill Bigelow, founder of Mama Strut

9. Encourage and partake in workplace flexibility. Being the CEO means I’m in charge of creating the work structure I think is most effective, and supports the highest degree of productivity. For us, this includes offering two work-from-home days/week, and late starts or early departures to allow for easier childcare pickup. -- Cynthia Nimmo, Chief Executive Officer, Women's Funding Network

10. Talk to other moms in your workplace. I'm fortunate that WeWork has such a great network of working moms among both employees and members. Everyone is so supportive and friendly, always willing to have coffee and chat. I've found that taking advantage of every opportunity to sit and talk with other moms has helped me in every step of the way. Being around others who walked in similar shoes is comforting. -- Karly Giaramita, VP, Strategic Events at WeWork

11. Create lists! It's easy to get pulled or sidetracked with projects that pop up, so keeping a list helps to remind me of what's important. -- Karly Giaramita, VP, Strategic Events at WeWork

12. Share the parenting load with other moms, even the ones that aren’t working. The media fuels the myth about working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, and it’s disparaging. Find a way to take turns even if you aren’t around during school days. I drive kids to my son’s soccer games on the weekends; drop off snacks (early) on special school days; and take vacation days to drive to field trips when I can. -- Cynthia Nimmo, Chief Executive Officer, Women's Funding Network

13. Pick one thing a week you can habitually do for your kids, and stick to it. I set aside Tuesday afternoons and pick up my daughter from school. Having that quality time with her has been amazing for our relationship and I'm more than happy to make up the time after she goes to bed. -- Nina Dibner, Executive Director, PowerTools, LLC

14. Accept that you don't always need to get it all done. Cross the hardest things off your list first. Do them now, not tomorrow! Be a good delegator and have trusted team members and consultants that can relieve some of your work. I don’t get it all done, I make lists and prioritize so I can both grow my business and still participate in some leisure and family activities. -- Jill Bigelow, founder of Mama Strut

Photo courtesy of Fashion Mamas.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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