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25 Ways to Win as a Working Mom: Samantha Ettus

Samantha Ettus PhotoAll great trips require preparation. Your adventure as a working mom is no different. You can be the best parent in fewer hours per week; it isn’t about how many hours you spend at home, it is about how you use them. Here goes:

  1. Be unapologetic about your lifestyle. Making excuses for working is like wearing a short skirt and constantly pulling on it.
  2. Have a school network – two moms you can count on in each child’s grade. If you help them when you can, it will be easier to ask for help when you need it.
  3. Spend a night out each week – a date night or an evening with friends. This is your fuel; don’t let your tank run dry.
  4. Disconnect to Connect. Turn off the technology for a set time each day so that you are present when you are with your family.
  5. Do all of your errands within the Golden Triangle – home, office and school. From the dentist to the hair salon, make no exceptions.
  6. Treat your arrivals and departures like a train schedule. Predictability makes you more successful at home and at work.
  7. Beware of the “Flextime Fantasy.” If you have a flexible career, establish set daily hours so that you don’t lose time reinventing your schedule each day.
  8. As soon as the school calendar arrives, add it to yours. This way you can plan around the school play and the parent teacher conference.
  9. Sundays are big for you. Plan every detail of the week’s schedule down to the meals and who’s making them. This will reduce conflict, ease stress and save time.
  10. Don’t get so attached to your sitter that you can’t see her faults. Spot-check by arriving home unexpectedly to see what happens when you are not there.
  11. Help your spouse to be a partner. Praise more than criticize and create opportunities for him to do every task you do.
  12. Divide and conquer. Being partners means sharing the responsibilities, divided by your strengths, and pitching in on any as needed.
  13. Write it all down. From the grocery list to the lunchbox ingredients, you can’t delegate unless you get it out of your head and on paper.
  14. Nurture your marriage with daily 20-minute check-ins. Keeping in touch with your own partner is vital to a strong bond.
  15. Synchronize your sleep schedules. Going to bed at the same time together leads to a healthy sex life.
  16. You can never show your kids too much affection. Shower them in it and watch them thrive.
  17. Triathletes win or lose races based on transitions. Keep all supplies in their place (cubbies for each family member) and pick clothing the night before.
  18. Foster a strong family culture by celebrating occasions big and small – birthdays, new seasons. Create rituals e.g. Friday night family movies.
  19. Expect stress and roller coasters but remember that bad moments are not “bad days” or “bad weeks.” They are moments. Make this a family philosophy.
  20. Aim to have at least one focused meal a day with your children no matter how crazy work can get.
  21. If you can’t host play dates during the week, do it on the weekends so that you get to know your child’s friends and their families.
  22. Personal maintenance is not discretionary. Incorporate exercise into the “train schedule” and if you feel best with a weekly manicure, add it too.
  23. Keep a positive connection with your kids all week long by planning a weekend event for them to look forward to. Start talking about it on Monday; anticipation is half the fun.
  24. Identify kid-friendly errands and make a habit of bringing them along. From the supermarket to the car wash, no need to spend this time away from them.
  25. Be proactive about what you can do. If you aren’t available for weekday opportunities, volunteer to coach the soccer team on Saturdays.

As the leading lifestyle and parenting expert for women, Samantha Ettus specializes in coaching the busiest parents on the planet. She is a bestselling author of four Random House books, a writer for Forbes and Disney’s Babble, and host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Working Moms Lifestyle. She makes regular television appearances on national TV including The Today Show, The Early Show, Your World with Neil Cavuto and The O’Reilly Factor, among others.  She aims to practice what she preaches in her daily life as a mother of three and wife of entrepreneur, Mitch Jacobs. Learn more at

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