Working Mum's Guide in Time Management


When I was in the US, my colleagues learned that I blog, manage my social media, home school my daughter, run a household, attend events and design blogs while doing a full-time job.

I remember our tech architect asked me how I do it. He knew and understand how demanding our job is. It's 9:30PM Manila Time and I'm still at the office coz I have a 10PM call. Sometimes we'd have a 10PM call followed by a 9AM call the following day. Our project's deadlines are tight.

He was in awe of how I manage my time. Most days, I do too. Most days, I wonder how I manage all of these as well. And it's not really easy. Especially since I'm a very hands-on mum. And I have a demanding almost 3 year old. Plus I do a lot of what I call "trying hard" stuff like breastfeeding and home schooling.

But I make it work. I was able to successfully breastfeed my child until last month. We we're on cloth diapers. We home school. I monitor her progress. And I was able to raise her well.

My blog is doing great. My blog design projects are in full bloom. And most of all, I have a successful career. So I guess that's proof enough that I was able to successfully handle everything. And nothing has to suffer, really.

I always tell myself that if you have to choose between the stuff you have to do because the other would be compromised then that only means you are not doing it well. Better check your priorities and re-assess your life.

I remember some 2 years ago, someone mentioned the fact that I took several emergency leaves over the year. So I told him that's because my daughter was hospitalized 3 times. Of course, I had to take care of her. But when I asked him if those absences actually affected my performance and asked him to mention at least one instance where my job was compromised because of those absences, he can't name one. Not even one. After that, I never heard about it.

Because yes, I love my daughter and she will always be my priority but I love my job too. And it feeds my child so I have to prioritize it too. This blog is my sanity and my happy place so it's important for me as well. Plus I earn extra from it so it's really very important for me. I believe that we don't have to choose, really. We just have to be smart about everything.

So here's my working mum's guide in time management and how I make it work for me:

1. Know your priorities. Your priorities must be crystal clear. You need this so you won't end up doing stuff that's not actually your priority. Mine is family, work, myself, this blog and my best friends. Those are not listed in any particular order because all of those are equally important for me They balance my life. While the rest are irrelevant already. If they don't matter, and I could live without them, then I don't a sh*t anymore.

2. Be kind to yourself. This is really, really important. You have to be always kind to yourself. Motherhood alone is not easy. Working is not easy. Running a household is not easy. Maintaining your sanity is NOT easy. You have to be kind to yourself and know that you deserve a little me time. A little understanding. Just be kind. You are human. Mukha lang tayong dyosa pero tao tayo.

3. Have a realistic measure of success. This is really important. I mentioned above that I find myself successful in every aspect of my life right now. In motherhood, in my career, in my blog. But that's because I measure success in a realistic manner. My daughter is well-fed, smart, loved, kind, compassionate. That is enough proof that I am a good mother. I have a job. My boss still trust me. My colleagues trust me. That's proof enough. I know I can't clock in at 7AM like some of my office mates but I get the job done so I'm okay. My blog is doing great. Alright, I would have loved to attend blog events left and right but it's not feasible so I only attend on those that matter if I have time. Anyway, I'm earning money from it. My stats are not sky high but who's counting? I have readers. I'm good. See? It's really more on your perspective. As I've said, be kind to yourself. Appreciate what you can do.

4. Use technology. OMG! You don't know how lucky we are to mother our child in the age of technology. I have an IP cam installed at our home so I could check my daughter on my mobile phone ANY TIME. So I know if she's sleeping. I know if she's playing, watching TV or whatever. I could monitor her all the time, any time. I could work remotely from home. So if there are stuff that needs to be completed, I do it at home. I also do some blogging work at the office during lunch breaks coz thanks to technology I could upload my photos on Flickr and use them on the blog even if I don't have my personal laptop. I blog on my way to the office and going home. I would usually compose on my phone, send it to my email and just edit it once I'm on a decent laptop. Or if I'm waiting somewhere and I have my iPad, I could directly log on to blogger and compose. I also have all my favorite books on my iPad so I could still have some "me time" by reading my favorite books while on the go. My daughter and I face time and sends snaps to each other. Since I have a mobile internet, I usually answer blog emails anytime. See? Technology has mobilized us. Making sure that we could function on the go. Most of the time I use my mobile phone to take pictures so even if I don't have my trusty camera with me, I could still take photos for the blog. And it's amazing! I even use technology to entertain my child! If I need to blog and she's bugging me? I just make her watch on You Tube Kids. I had You Tube Kids installed on her iPad so I won't have to worry if she's watching inappropriate videos coz You Tube Kids does all the filtering. Of course I still make sure that we monitor the stuff she watches but it's easier because of apps like that. You could buy a smart TV, smart washing machine, smart everything! It's amazing! I could go on and on and on about how technology has helped me in every aspect of my life and bore you. But really! Technology is amazing! Use it well.

5. Be honest. Honesty is really very important. Be honest to yourself. Be honest to your child. Be honest to your husband. Be honest to your boss. It is always better to honestly admit that you can't do it rather than commit and fail. I have established a very honest relationship with my boss. They know that if my daughter is sick, there is no way I'd go to the office. I could work remotely from home if I really have to finish something but if my child needs me, I have to be there. And that honesty has blossomed in to trust. They trust me that I would deliver no matter what, they trust my commitment to my work. I am also honest with my readers and PRs I work with on this blog. I'll tell them honestly that I could attend the event but because of my workload, it'll take me 10 days before I could blog. And it's awesome how people really appreciate honesty. I am also very much honest with my child. There was a time when she would cry when I'd say bye bye to her in the morning and Mila's advice was just sneak out and don't say goodbye anymore. But I refused. I said she should know and should understand that I have to work. I have to leave her so I could work. In the mornings when she'd cry I would talk to her and explain to her why I have to work. And she understood. She now see my work and our office as an extension of our house. She understand that Nanay has to work because I love it and so we could go to the mall and buy toys and eat and buy clothes. My daughter even understands that I blog. She would pose gamely for the blog, she won't eat her food until I'm done taking pictures! It's crazy really. But my honesty to my daughter made it easier for her to adapt to my world.

6. Have a planner. I swear! This is a major sanity saver. It doesn't need to be anything specific. You don't have to follow a certain planning method like Bujo or creative planning or whatever. It doesn't have to be a notebook planner. It could be your mobile phone or your mobile calendar or a mobile app. Just have a place where you could take note of events, meetings, doctor's appointments, reminders, to do, etc., etc. Coz I swear momnesia is real! Without my planners I'd be a crazy lady running amok. And please, no need to follow specific method or try stuff if it'll only mean extra effort on your end.

8. Get as much help as you can. It's true that it takes a village to raise a child. That it takes a team to achieve success. Get help. You are not Wonder Woman. Get as much help as you can. I have a nanny but I still live with my parents because I want my mother to oversee how the nanny takes care of my daughter. My husband does his fair share of raising our child. He would drive me to work or blog events and pick me up if it's late. I ask help from my sister and brother. I ask help from our neighbors. I ask help from my friends. There was this time when my daughter's nanny had to go somewhere and I have a very important meeting at the office, I brought my daughter to work and asked her ninangs to look after her for a while as I attend to the meeting. I also helped train my younger team mates and tap them to do some stuff that could eventually help me with my work. I am not afraid to tell my team mates that I need their help. Get help. It's okay.

9. Sleep. Mum, listen to me. You. Need. Sleep. If you are tired, rest and sleep. Just clock in as much sleep as you can. It'll make you sane. It'll give you are refreshing take on things. It'll make you happy. And you'll be more productive. Believe me.

10. Take one step at a time. Relax. Breathe in. Take a small step. And then another. What I have learned in juggling all these stuff I do is it's important to just take one small step at a time. Do not jump on to it. And appreciate the little victories coz honey, you earned them.

It's not easy. I swear it's not. I haven't known the real meaning of TIRED until I became a mum. But everything seemed easy if you love what you do.

When I changed my perspective in life, everything flow out smoothly. When I became kinder to myself I began to be more productive. When I started adding myself on my priorities, I became happier and a better mother.

See? It's easy to be selfless when you are mum. Funny but it's true. Because people expect mothers to be selfless. To be superwoman. Sometimes it's just easier to be selfless and forget ourselves because we're so afraid to be tagged as selfish or a bad mum. But no! Believe me honey. NO! You have to love yourself and be happy so you could be better at everything.

Stay sane mummies! Kapit lang bes.

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