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The 10 Commandments for Working Motherhood

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Working motherhood means juggling the job and family

Working motherhood means juggling career and family

Photo credit: Photodisc/Getty Images

Motherhood is hard enough before you throw in work. Once you're juggling a job, parenting, self-care and adult relationships, you start praying for guidance about how to handle working motherhood.

Until Moses returns with a couple of stone tablets addressing motherhood, here's my take on the 10 commandments for working motherhood.

Thou Shall Trust Thine Instincts

You know your family best and you also know your employer. Trust your instincts when you feel your kids are acting out because they need your attention. Give them the extra time and nurturing, even if it means you miss a few minutes of work. Motherhood is your most important job, and not one to be taken lightly.

Similarly, you know in your gut when you're not fulfilling your work responsibilities. Make sure to do your best on the most important projects. If you do need to take time with a sick child or leave early for a school event, tell your supervisor and colleagues when you'll make up the work.

Thou Shalt Not Worship Money or Career Success

Motherhood fulfills many parts of our souls. But having a job that you're really good at can give you quite a rush too. It's important to keep that feeling in perspective, and only pursue the career that you truly want.

Don't thoughtlessly put in for the big promotion or raise. Think through what it would mean for your work-life balance and your children. Would the new duties stretch your skills in a direction you want to go? Or would it merely be a step up the career ladder without any additional satisfaction or challenge?

Make sure you are the one defining what success means to you. It's okay if that's simply enjoyable work with flexible hours and no fancy title.

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Schedule

If your friend or neighbor has flexible hours or a family-friendly schedule, it's easy to get bitter and jealous. Remember that most flexible work arrangements have a tradeoff, whether it's telecommuting or setting up a job share.

Rather than assuming your neighbor is simply lucky, ask questions about how she established the arrangement and what she likes or dislikes about it. If it still looks good, propose a similar schedule to your supervisor!

Thou Shall Say No

Motherhood teaches us to say no to our children and set limits. Make sure you use those skills at the office too.

Set clear boundaries around work and limit your face time. (Better yet, refuse to be pressured into serving face time and leave when your day's work is completed.)

Thou Shall Enjoy Family Time

When you do have time with your family, enjoy it! You can have fun doing daily chores with your children if you have a playful attitude. Or it can be as simple as a quick game of cards after dinner and before homework.

Don't simply rush your children from waking to breakfast to school and home again to dinner, bath and bed. Cherish the time together, even in everyday activities.

Read on for the next 5 commandments for successful working motherhood.
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