Being a mom is full of joys and challenges. Get mom-tested tips for staying sane and organized, from using technology for your advantage to get out of door quickly (and looking good)! You’ll find advice for handling mommy guilt, meeting other parents, avoiding arguments with your partner, and making your kid feel special. Don’t forget to take care of you, too.

The stay-at-home parent

One of the challenges facing many parents today is how best to juggle the responsibilities of work and child-rearing. Some parents are fortunate to be able to choose whether they stay at home with kids or go to work, but many parents don’t have a choice – they need to work to support their families. Still others parents who stay at home may want or need to work outside of home but be unable to find employment or good childcare.

Whether by choice or preference, most parents do work outside. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2013, about 96 percent of two-parent families had at least one parent who was employed outside, while both parents were employed in more than half of two-parent families. And in families where single parents were heads of the household, roughly 70 percent of single moms and about 80 percent of single dads were employed.

This means, of course, that parents need to find other options for childcare, whether it’s another parent or family member, a nanny, daycare, or some other arrangement. And along with hunt for the best childcare possible come the questions: Will my child thrive in daycare? Is it better for me to stay home even if it means a financial sacrifice? What’s the best option for my family?

Staying at home: What if you miss work?
  • Keep in touch with your work colleagues. Bring your baby into the office, or invite your former co-workers out to lunch when you can get a sitter.
  • Take occasional part-time assignments from your previous employer. Offer to help out at crunch times or do small projects that can be farmed out. Not only will this engender good will, it will help you to stay current in your field.
  • Look into joining a professional organization. Many meets evenings, when your partner may be able to provide childcare. The presentations will help you to stay informed about your profession, and you’ll meet valuable contacts for future networking.
  • Take classes to keep yourself up-to-date with your profession. Many community colleges offer evening classes. There are also online classes available through professional organizations. These can help keeping your confidence up and ensure that your skills don’t get rusty.
  • If you’re interested in changing fields, brainstorm with friends and colleagues. Think about what kind of job you’d like to get and how you can make it work with being a parent. Start building a network of people who can help you find a job in your chosen field when you’re ready. That way, you’ll feel like you’re focusing on your future while you’re enjoying your present situation.
  • Consider starting an at-home business. Many stay-at-home parents develop a hobby into a home business. Others join larger home-based enterprises or discover a service they can provide while working for themselves.
  • Put your professional skills to work at home. “If you’ve networked well at work, you can transfer that to your new life at home,” says Margie Johnson, treasurer of the Family and Home Network. Reaching out to other at-home moms and dads through playgroups or other organizations can help making up for adult interaction you miss from the workplace.
Exercise after your baby birth:

Now that your baby’s getting a little older, you may be thinking about getting back to your “old self.” For most mothers that means feeling as healthy as you used to, as well as regaining your pre-pregnancy figure. However, you’re probably also learning from your friends, family and other mothers that every woman’s body reacts differently to pregnancy and birth. Exercise after giving birth might be completely different than before your baby arrived.

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables
  • Eat breakfast (and every other meal)
  • Eat healthy foods