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How Busy Moms Can Save Time

The 10 Secrets of One Unflappable Working Mother

Chances are, work-life balance is your most elusive goal. But it’s not impossible.

By Michelle Slatalla
Mom getting her son and daughter ready for bedBrooke Slezak

 4. Ignore the latest parental fear-mongering literature. I don’t want to catch you reading anything with a title like Either I Should Be Drinking More or Less Chardonnay Out of Sippy Cups at Work and Home. Instead, stick to the classics that remind us, with great wit, what we like about this business of being an adult with a complex life. For example, Shirley Jackson’s Raising Demons will help you decide whether it’s more fulfilling to spend the weekend doing housework or playing cards with the neighbors. (Hint: Think mixed nuts and drinks over a few rounds of bridge.)

 5. Getting out the door in the morning (without anyone in tears) is the only thing you have to achieve before 8:30 a.m. Stop trying to organize everything. Your only goals are to leave the house looking good and without your first-grader sobbing because she hates getting dressed in the morning. If that means you put her to bed in her school clothes to avoid a 7 a.m. tantrum, I think you’re a genius.

 6. Arm yourself with secret weapons. Mine include a ream of copy paper (hide it in your underwear drawer so no one can cut it up into snowflakes), an instant thermometer, and emergency high heels (keep a pair stashed in the car).

 7. Go with your gut, and don't second-guess it later. If you’ve spent days preparing for a meeting that starts in an hour and the school nurse calls to report a painful, though not hospital-worthy, monkey-bar injury, there’s no one right thing to do. On any given day, your instinct might be to skip the meeting. Or suggest that the nurse apply an ice pack and send Shorty back to class. Make a snap decision and then―this is key―don’t question it later. Let it go. Really. I mean it.

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