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8 working moms share how they find work-life balance

"I set the boundary to focus separately on family and work. My inbox is never empty, but I make sure my computer and iPad are away so I'm not tempted to look at them."

8 working moms share how they find work-life balance

There's no denying that working moms are masters at multitasking. But, between changing diapers, setting up playdates and juggling conference calls, today's career women are struggling to live up to unrealistic work-life balance expectations. Not only are they carpooling, cooking dinner and creating Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. They're also spending countless hours at the office climbing their way up the corporate ladder.

“Expectations are implied through social media like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, as well as TV shows, movies, commercials and billboards," said Lorena Arguello, a marriage and family therapist in Claremont, California. “Sadly, we instantly compare ourselves to each other's ability to have it all. Yet we only see what the mom is choosing to post, not the everyday ups and downs."

We recently chatted with working moms from all walks of life—authors, executives and accountants—about their favorite tips for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points...

Empower

“I used to feel so guilty because I wasn't available to help out at a pizza party or to pick my kids up. They ride the bus. But someone told me, 'Listen, we need each other. Some moms get the field trip to the UN organized because they've worked there for 20 years. Other moms create magical entryways for the gala because they have more time to create from home. Love thy fellow mother is truly my number one rule." – Kristen Dollard, 41, Brand Director at Yoga Journal, mom to Avery, 10, and Luke, 5

Stay Positive

“I de-friend those friends who drain me with their negative energy. Brutally honest, I know. But you only have so many hours and minutes in each day. Who you choose to surround yourself with really matters. Choose positive!" – Robyn O'Brien, 45, The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhealthy Truth, mom to Lexi, 17, Colin, 16, John, 14, and Tory, 12

Disconnect

“I set the boundary to focus separately on family and work. My inbox is never empty, but I make sure my computer and iPad are away so I'm not tempted to look at them. Once Will goes to sleep, I hop back on email to handle anything that came in since I left or to get a jump on things for the next day, but I cap that at 90 minutes tops. It's hard to disconnect from work, but it keeps me sane." – Jillian Roscoe, 38, Senior Vice President Talent at ID Public Relations, mom to Will, 9 months

Get House Help

“Don't drown yourself in chores. You must enlist help from your husband, babysitters and even kids to keep up with the housework. You are balancing a lot, but chores are something everyone can do!" – Colleen Keilers, 36, Digital Marketing Manager for The Mom Project, mom to Gerald, 4, Noah, 3, and Maddock, 11 months

Order Online

“Delivery apps! Google Express and Amazon Prime Now are my main two. It's key, especially if I'm out of town. I'll cook before I leave, but I like to keep the fridge packed. My oldest is so picky I can always rely on getting some rotisserie chicken and chicken tenders delivered, especially if I'm gone for more than two days." – Mimi Dakar Berry, 40, Vice President and Creative Director for Sonya Dakar Skincare, mom to Jacob, 5, and Eli, 3

Make Choices

“As a working mom of two young boys, I sometimes feel like there is a birthday party every weekend. I have two systems in place to help this stay fun. First, I buy presents in bulk. Secondly, I alternate birthday parties with my husband. If he has work to do, I will take the kids to the party and vice versa." – Desi Bartlett, 45, Celebrity Trainer and Founder of Mothers Into Living Fit, mom to Cruz, 8, and Rocket, 3

Plan Ahead

“I try to work late at night to make up for future lost time. My schedule is not your typical 9-to-5 so I can work around that and plan accordingly. I do have a planner I live by that has everything from what is pending at work to my grocery shopping list. That helps me stay sane!" – Melina Harvey-Read, 33, Senior Accountant for The Mom Project, mom to Lucas, 6, and Louis, 4

Schedule Play Dates

“My favorite way to balance it all is to have lunch outside with the kids during the week. It refreshes me because it's a break from work where I can see my sons. We talk about what they did that morning or what park we will go to before dinner. They go back to a sitter after lunch, but I let her have a little breather while I hang with them." – Nicolette Martin, 34, HR Coordinator, mom to Christopher, 4, and Vincent, 1

The experts agree: Arguello suggested taking a time-out to find your own happy place.

“Balance is something we're always striving towards and it can truly feel elusive," she said. “Factors may include self-care, children, spouse, friends and work. It is definitely our tendency to put self-care last, but caring for ourselves is what makes us a better mother, wife, friend and employee."

Article by Dana Zepeda of The Mom Project.

Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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