The Best Advice Working Moms Swear By for Next-Level Happiness

Updated 06/30/17

Its not easy being a master of all—but that doesnt stop us from trying. To help you in the ever-ongoing pursuit of thriving in your career, your personal life, and beyond, we’re debuting a new series called Keep It 100 in partnership with . Each week, we’ll share helpful hacks and tips on how to balance the various interests in your life and help you keep it at 100 every day.

Courtesy of Angela Tafoya

Talk to any working mom about how she finds  and there’s a good chance she’ll laugh. After all, being a mom and a boss is tricky business, requiring constant juggling, mad organizational skills, and, let’s face it, abandoning well-intentioned attempts to keep the kitchen floor cereal-free.

Thankfully, most working moms today have figured out that “having it all” in the new age just means redefining what that life-work–spit-up ratio looks like. And though it differs for every parent, there are some helpful tips to be shared, and that’s what we aim to do here. 

For those of you out there who strive to keep it at 100 in all the important areas of your life, we asked five super-successful working mamas to share their time-saving tips, and what they do to feel like they’re thriving more often than not.

Courtesy of Amy Parker Anderson

Amy Parker Anderson

Age: 31
Career: Lifestyle blogger at , CX at Warby Parker
Mother to: Parker Mae, 3, and Sidney Sloane, 6 months

Age: 31
Career: Lifestyle blogger at , CX at Warby Parker
Mother to: Parker Mae, 3, and Sidney Sloane, 6 months

On balancing career and motherhood:

“I think we need to start recognizing what our capacities are and then work from there. One thing I tell all working moms to learn—and learn early—is the importance of not comparing yourself to other mothers. Focus on what works best for you, your family, and your career.

“I’ve also abandoned the advice to compartmentalize, keeping work in the work box and life outside of that. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day. So I say find ways to work at home while your child naps, or answer emails at the playground (don’t judge). Once my kids are down for a nap, I’ll often get more work done in those two hours than I will in an entire day at the office.”

On defining success before—and after—becoming a mom:

“I started my career in the music department of a top talent agency and worked long hours for very little pay in the hopes that my hard work would eventually score me the job I ultimately wanted. After about four years in that role, I realized the people above me—the ones whose jobs I wanted—were burned out, lacked any passion for the jobs they once loved, and rarely saw their families.

“I knew if I stayed in that career, it would be tough to have the family life I wanted. So I left the music business and ultimately chose a path that would help me feel both successful and fulfilled. Now, as a mother, I feel successful because my husband and I have built this little family that means more to us than anything! As long as our kids are thriving, I need nothing else in the world.”

On the best advice for other working moms:

“Find your mom squad. It’s obviously great to have single friends and married-without-kids friends. But mom friends are crucial! I was one of the first to have a baby in my friend circle, so I felt a bit on my own when Parker was born. Now I’ve accumulated this amazing group of fellow moms, and we just get each other. We all have our own unique stories and perspective on motherhood, and that makes us great resources for each other.

Courtesy of Angela Tafoya

Angela Tafoya

Age: 30
Career: Managing editor at Mother to: Talula, 1

Age: 30
Career: Managing editor at Mother to: Talula, 1

On balancing career and motherhood:

I’m not pretending I have it figured out, but I do think one thing that’s helped me find a bit more balance is setting boundaries with my work. When I am with my daughter, I’m present; no phones, no work. It’s not easy, but because I work full-time, I want every minute I spend with Tallie to be truly tuned in.

“Sometimes you will feel like you’re not giving enough at work. Sometimes you will feel like you’re not home enough, which will break your heart. But I think accepting that all of this is going to happen—sitting with the tough emotions when they do come up—and recognizing why you are feeling a certain way is so important."

On defining success before—and after—becoming a mom:

“Before I had Tallie, I thought about success as something that was measureable, such as a promotion or some sort of big recognition. Becoming a mother has inspired me to see success as something that’s not defined by social blueprints. Now I think success means leading by example and leaning into the light of myself and others by doing my best to be mindful. These days, I consider myself successful if I respond rather than react and stay present throughout all the moments each day, no matter how cluttered or busy things get.

My hope is that the result of this is raising someone who is autonomous yet kind, strong-willed, considerate, humorous, and warm. That would be the ultimate success.”

On the best advice for other working moms:

“It sounds so simple, but really being conscious of what you consume is so key. For me that starts with what I eat. Every night, I make some juice so I can grab-and-go the next morning. I also pack lunches for both Tallie and me, and I toss a  into both of our lunch bags. Since they’re packed in 100% real fruit juice, it feels just as nutritious as chopping up some fruit—and it obviously takes way less time. Getting out of the house on time in the morning is no joke, so being as prepared as you can at night pays off!

Courtesy of Emma Feil

Emma Feil

Age: 32
Career: Photographer
Mother to: Rowan, 5, and Weston, 3

Age: 32
Career: Photographer
Mother to: Rowan, 5, and Weston, 3

On balancing career and motherhood:

“I am constantly learning how to balance everything. When you’re motivated, you want to make things happen, take care of it all, do great things! But there aren’t enough hours in the day. I wish I could wake up at 5 a.m. and take a Pilates class, make smoothies for breakfast, prep dinner, shower, and do my hair and makeup—all before the kids wake up. In reality, I’m up working past midnight most days.”

On defining success before—and after—becoming a mom:

“Success to me has always been about making money and being able to afford a certain lifestyle. These days, I realize that the journey is what I need to focus my attention on, and that success is more about enjoying the path rather than racing to the end goal. My idea of success now is to love, be loved, spend time with the ones I love, and be happy. Sure, I still have that urge to make money, feel self-sufficient, and be able to indulge in certain lifestyle choices. Yet I also feel very lucky to live the life I’ve created and would feel truly successful without the material things.”

On the best advice for other working moms:

Courtesy of Heather Stachowiak Brown

Heather Stachowiak Brown

Age: 31
Career: Owner and creative director of Mother to: Fox, 7 months

Age: 31
Career: Owner and creative director of Mother to: Fox, 7 months

On balancing career and motherhood:

The word ‘balance’ is a bit misleading when it comes to work and life for a mother, isn’t it? There’s never really a 50/50 balance. For me, my baby boy and my husband come first, period. If Fox needs me six days of the week, then I find a way to get work done on the days that he’s feeling a little more independent. In my life, the word ‘adaptable’ resonates more with me than ‘balance.’ And I find that in general, women are very good at adapting. I think this skill is even more necessary when you become a mom.”

On defining success before—and after—becoming a mom:

“Before I had Fox, I defined success as doing something that gives you purpose and makes your short existence on this earth worthwhile. Now that I’m a mother, I can honestly say I would define success the same way. One might say by becoming a mother, I am already successful and doing something very worthwhile. I’d agree.”

On the best advice for other working moms:

Courtesy of Katherine Sheehan

Zinzi Edmundson

Age: 31
Career: Writer and editor of Mother to: James, 1

Age: 31
Career: Writer and editor of Mother to: James, 1

On balancing career and motherhood:

“Actually I hate the using the word ‘balance’ when it comes to being a working mom. It assumes that the two are fighting against each other or somehow mutually exclusive—like they’re separate yet holding equal weight. For me, parenting, career, friendships, and everything else that make up my life have to exist on more of a continuum.”

On defining success before—and after—becoming a mom:

“I’m not sure if this has more to do with having a kid or just growing up more generally, but I’m having an easier and easier time thinking of success in the big picture rather than as a day-by-day (or, let’s be honest, hour-by-hour!) assessment.” 

On the best advice for other working moms:

Which mom’s story stuck with you most? Have you figured out some honest-to-goodness mama hacks that you swear by? Share them! 

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