Have you ever been hard at work all the while stressing about the kids, and details about your home/personal life at the same time?

Ever been guilty of sneaking in “just a little” work while you are spending time with the kids?

No, you say? You gonna leave me hanging and think I’m the only Mama screwing this up so royally?

Ahh, I didn’t think so!

Let’s get real.

As busy Moms we all sometimes need a SLAP in the face to get us back in balance. And hey, it’s better to let me SLAP you than to have your kids raking you over the coals in 15 years with their therapist…Yes?

Here are my favorite Slap-in-the-face tips to help you with your own work-life balance to help you stay present so you can focus on what TRULY matters:

1. Know your WHY

Ask yourself, why do you work? Why did you have kids? What are YOUR values about the lifestyle and life experiences you desire for your family?

By knowing your WHY, you can start to set good boundaries which naturally helps you to be more present. Keep your reasons written down around your home and workspace as a reminder will help you when another person’t urgency sets in.

2. Get rid of the riff-raff

What do I mean by riff-raff, you ask? I’m talking about clutter (physical & electronic), frenemies and other “situations” in your life that are bringing you down.

A few things to consider: You are bombarded with social media, bursting email boxes, dinging apps, texts, calls, deadlines, our own negative self-talk in addition to working and being loving and present Mom. Cleaning up your living space of clutter and draining situations is the most empowering thing you can do. And let’s face, since you cannot control other people, this ACTUALLY is the only thing you can do…take control of your own environment. It feels amazing!

Tell me true: What is a person/situation you have spent over 6 months worrying/stressing about that is consuming your thoughts?

That’s right, Mama…YOU are contributing riff-raff too!

Clean-up your environment by keeping your attention on what you can actually control. Watch your mind relax in a whole new way. Hello, balance and feeling calm!

3. Focus on what matters MOST

I’ll be bold and take a stab at this by putting some words in your mouth: what matters MOST to you is your family.

Yes, yes, your work is transformational and the world benefits greatly from your professional contribution…but at the end of your life, you will be solely focused on your kids, your biggest loves and your legacy.

If this is true and you can remember it more, what do you need to do RIGHT NOW to invest more of your energy and attention with the people who matter the most to you?

4. Say NO More

I just could not sit still while my baby was napping. So I sought out every volunteer gig I could get my hands on in the mom/baby space in San Francisco. Within 3 months, I was running a committee with a team of 6 volunteers, managing a budget and hosting live events for other Moms…In other words, I took on way too much. My desire to help other Moms completely dwarfed my original intention, to quit my job and raise my kid full time. If I’m really honest, I was addicted to the feeling of being a player, keeping up with the other new mamas pretending to be players too and that familiar feeling of sipping at life through a straw trying to keep up. You ever feel that way?

When I started saying NO to new opportunities and new organizations and quitting the roles I had taken on everyone won! New Mamas, eager to prove themselves jumped at the chance to run my committees, my son got his relaxed and happy Mama back and I got to be her! It was far easier to speak my truth than I had expected and it was actually a win-win for all involved.

What could you say NO to today? Start small and prove to yourself and the world will continue to turn without you as [insert project/role you need to drop like a bad habit].

Freeing up your life from being overcommitted can be more powerful than a 5-day silent meditation retreat!

5. INCLUDE your kids more

Too often, YOU are running too fast from work to tasks to child rearing to actually take in the reality of your life.

Let me break something down for you: you are working so hard to make a good life for your kids. Much of the time, it could make a lot of sense for you to include your kids more.

I’ll tell you a story. My parents are pretty cool. I have to give them that but there was also a time when people told them they were crazy. When I was 8, they decided to go all-in and start a childcare business. Long story short, today that family business has grown to be the largest privately owned childcare business in Northern California. Success!

But in the early days, they were seen as reckless and maybe even crazy for quitting “good jobs” and starting a business out of nothing with 3 children to provide for (2 more soon followed).

This is what made my parents so cool (in my mind). They included us kids in the business and created balance for all of us. Yup, at 8 I was working an industrial stapler in our living room every July as we prepared the brochures for the school year and we accompanied my mom on her daily rounds to each childcare site. They ran their office out of our home and they were with us every day.

My 4 siblings and I knew exactly how our family made our money, we were together every day and we had a ball while taking care of business as a family. Today, 4 out of 5 of us are entrepreneurs!

I share all this to show an example of how including children more in everyday life, projects and earning money (age permitting…I’ll be the first to say it, my 17-month-old still isn’t much help in my business, although I often shoot my training videos and he makes cute cameos…)

Today, my husband and I work at home together while raising our two boys. When people hear of our set-up, most everyone says how jealous they are of me. I have a full-time husband who is as big a part of our children’s lives as I am. Many times a day, I get to reflect on how fortunate I am to have a strong family unit that is productive, loving and so much fun.

My situation may not be right for you and your family, but ask yourself, “what would be right for me and my family?” Start taking steps today to include your children more in your life and your work. It will be a great opportunity (and opening) to stay a part of their lives as they grow as well. Could anything else make you want to stay balanced and present more than the example you set for your kiddos?

Your turn! I would love to expand this list to include YOUR strategies for staying present with work + motherhood. Leave your comments below.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I share 5 more in-depth strategies to keep your work-life balanced while you focus on what matters most!

Originally published at thebizymom.com