The mom who can balance it all

December 31, 2007 4:58:16 PM PST
Whether you work or stay at home, the pressure to be the ideal mom is an everyday struggle.

Today we talked about the pressure to be the ideal mom. Learn how to get rid of some of the guilt, and balance it all. Joining us was the editor of "Mommy Wars". She's also a daily work-family blogger for the

About Leslie Morgan Steiner:
Leslie Morgan Steiner is the editor of the best-selling anthology "Mommy Wars" now out in paperback. She writes "On Balance," a daily online blog about work and family juggling, which has become the most popular "mommy blog" on the web, with over 100,000 comments. It publishes every weekday at 7 am at She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and three young children.

Three tips for working moms:

  • Establish your priority "buckets"
    1. what you need to do yourself
    2. what other family members can do
    3. What you can delegate or your family can survive without
  • Make sure you do one thing for yourself every day -- exercise, call a friend, laugh, read a chapter in a book, watch a TV show in peace.
  • Evaluate your work-family "balance" at regular intervals and make changes if you are too stressed or too guilty or too exhausted.
  • Three tips for stay-at-home moms:

    1. Make sure you do one thing for yourself every day
    2. Don't "over volunteer"
    3. Don't neglect your financial independence over time

    Short & sweet do's and don'ts for stay-at-home moms who want to return to work (someday)

  • Do Invest in yourself before you leave the workforce. The better your education and the more impressive your career achievements, the more options you will have when you return to work.
  • Do Be realistic and determined; don't expect the job market to respect, validate or reward your decision to stay home with children.
  • Do Stay in the same city. Returning to work is simpler if you remain in the same geographic area or in the same field and can leverage your prior contacts and professional reputation.
  • Do Be decisive about returning to work. No one wants to hire someone who projects ambivalence.
  • Do Go back full time: part-time and flex-time jobs remain elusive for anyone at any stage in their careers.
  • Do Keep up your network! This jaded advice holds true -- but it doesn't mean an awkward call to your old HR manager every January. Keep up with your friends from work and your industry. Maintain professional connections in ways that feel comfortable to you.
  • Do Stay (somewhat) current on major new technology trends. Lawyers need to read up on Sarbanes-Oxley. Marketers need to keep tabs on Internet marketing. Certified professionals keep your accreditations current.
  • Do go back within 10 years. "There's probably a curve that slopes negatively with more time," says recruiter Rob Browning.* "A three to five year absence is now relatively easy to explain. Ten-plus years is a lot harder."
  • Web site:
    Washington Post Blog, click here.