How to Manage Multiple Roles as a Mum

This is the first year that my two children have been full-time at school, and I’ve learned that I struggle with the transition between my two roles: work from home mum and stay at home mum. When I’m working from home, I get into the ‘zone’ of work and have some fabulously efficient days where I actually find it difficult to deal with the changeover at 3pm.

And then comes school holidays. As much as I love my family, the holidays always ‘mess up’ the routine I’ve tried for 10 weeks to maintain. We might be travelling, or just hanging around at home, but the thing is, I don’t have my time and space to myself any more. After each holiday, I find that it takes a few days of rearranging myself and to get back into good work patterns after the complete lack of routine offered by the holidays.

In the holidays just past, we had some lovely time away at the beach with friends, and it was great just to be together and hang out for a few days. But by the Friday of that week, I was surprised as my introverted self started getting a bit ‘snappy’ with people… apparently, I had well and truly used up my ‘people time’ and was needing a little bit of space. (Thank you husband, for taking the kids for a bike ride. No one was harmed in the making of this blog post.)

It’s the same story of life with kids of any age: the seasons keep changing, and as a mum, you need to keep adjusting to what you – and your family – need.

So, how do you figure out what you need? Read on, my friend…


Figure out how you are ‘wired’

By knowing our natural tendencies, we can start to understand some of the reasons we ‘freak out’ in our motherhood role. I am an introvert, and I struggle with being constantly interrupted: so I know that it’s important for me to have some quiet time during the day where I can sit with a cup of tea and just ‘be’. That helps me to keep going. If you’re an extrovert, you might be missing adult interactions, so you can address this by scheduling some time with friends, or attending a group or class, or maybe that need is met through working outside the home.

Learn to ask for what you need

Yep, this is a hard one, because so often we take on the role of looking after everyone’s needs except our own. But think about what you really do need… it’s probably not going to be a spa-day every week! It might be some time to yourself, or help with dinner, or support with kids’ bath-time.  Ask yourself, if you could have some extra support two hours a week, how would you use that time?

If you really need a break, try and figure out how long it should be, what you would do to refill your tank, and some ways that you could plan for your household to run while you are away. And then talk to your partner and support people about getting the break.

Be intentional about which hat you are wearing

If you’re working at home or outside the home, make sure you take time to intentionally transition between work and home. And while you’re at home, think about the balance between your ‘mum’ hat and your ‘household manager’ hat – think about ways they can be combined by including children in household tasks, and teaching them about budgets, etc.

By consciously choosing which ‘hat’ you wear, you are better able to be fully present in the space you need to be… and it helps your brain to focus as well, because you are not torn between different roles.

One of the most helpful tools for me is to work with two different to-do lists. Read more here.

Think about it from your child’s perspective

Have a think about how things look from your child’s perspective. Are you always on your phone checking email (or Facebook)? Are you happy to listen to your child talk about their day, or do you act upset when they talk during the TV show you are watching? If you can’t go outside and kick a ball right at this minute, do you make a commitment to doing it at another time, and then suggest something else for your child to do? Do you communicate when you need twenty minutes to work on a project without interruption? (Even if that project is dinner!)

So often we get grumpy at our children for not being ready to ‘drop everything’ and do what we ask them to do: but how willing are we to do the same for them? Think about what behaviour they are seeing modelled (ranging from technology usage to communicating with our significant other). And then apply the golden rule: do for others what you would have them do for you.

Be prepared!

As I mentioned earlier, the seasons of life change quite quickly and dramatically when you have children! You know how when they are babies, you need to swap over their entire wardrobe every three months or so? That shows the passage of time better than anything! (I have a seven-year old who needs a wardrobe change every three months, too: the holes in pants and sneakers are driving me crazy!).

One of the best things you can do is to try and look ahead – what’s happening in the next little while that you need to plan for? Is it a seasonal change from Winter to Summer, is Christmas coming, a special birthday, a holiday, or someone starting childcare/school? What can you already do to start preparing for that so that you can make your life a little bit easier! (Think: online shopping, meal planning, taking advantage of end-of-season clearances, etc)

You can do it!

Managing all the different roles you play does take a huge effort, a lot of brainpower and many, many to-do lists.

But doesn’t it make you feel awesome how wonderfully capable you actually are?! I hope so! If you are still feeling overwhelmed, feel free to download my tool ‘From Overwhelm to Order’ and work through the process to make some progress!

Keep on going! You can do it!
Tanya x

About The Author


Tanya lives in Canberra with her husband and two sons. She is passionate about helping women to live fulfilled, purposeful lives. She enjoys reading, cooking, craft and creating memorable moments for her family.

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