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Career and family

Do you think your work-life would be easier if you married a billionaire? Forget it. Even Melinda Gates had to ask her husband to drop off their kids at school. Other than the difference of a few billion dollars, I’ll bet your life isn’t that much different from Melinda’s life.

When you are a working mom outside the home and a working wife inside the home, you have a lot of decisions to make and it sometimes may seem like your work never ends. One way to thrive professionally is to better manage your home work.

Work within your job description

Most statistics say that women do more housework than men, but I say we shouldn’t keep score. Instead hire out the work to professionals. If you are a working mom, you are bringing in a paycheck. Expecting more work from you, like cleaning toilets and vacuuming—unless that is your preference—is unreasonable. It’s not in your job description to do housework, in addition to a 40-hour workweek.

Figure out your budget and then determine which cleaning tasks you hate doing. Hire other people to do those tasks, so that the only lifting you’re doing is the keystrokes to Venmo your payment.

What if you get pushback from your husband? Your answer is simply, “I physically can’t do any more.” A loving husband won’t argue with that point. A frugal husband is free to pick up the slack.

How to say no

I never fault people when they ask for a discount, ask me to do something, or make any other request. I also realize that I don’t have to say yes. Many working moms, especially in the home, feel guilty when they say no. I don’t. I’ve learned how to say no and you can, too. First, set expectations.

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Teach your children to take care of themselves. They can take responsibility for making their own lunches, making their bed, putting toys away, or any number of tasks. Your job is to expect that they can do these things. When you teach them how to do things, they will not ask you to do for them what they can do for themselves. You may have to remind them from time to time that it’s their job, not yours. Be firm. You are doing no one any favors by creating needy children who are utterly dependent on your work. You don’t have the time and they need to learn to accomplish tasks for themselves.

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Don’t work 24-7

Too many women have the misconception that they are Superwoman. They’re not. Even Superwoman didn’t work 24-7. You can’t work 24-7 and maintain your sanity. So what do you do when you leave your professional work only to come home to work at home? Set your home work hours.

It can be as simple as telling your children (as I did) what time you stop working for them when you’re at home. I told my daughter if she needed help with homework, she had better ask me before 9 p.m. After 9, I was off the clock. I even said if she asked after 9 p.m., “Sorry, I’m off the clock.” I trained my daughter to ask me for help earlier when my brain wasn’t fried and I could offer some help.

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