Monday, August 26, 2013

Avoid a Back-to-School Mommy Meltdown at Work

Family Work Balance

Surviving the September Meltdown 

MBE partnered with the publisher, post contains affiliate links

Guest Post By Teresa Taylor 

How to Avoid a Back-to-School Mommy Meltdown at Work

Summer is coming to an end, and the kids are going back to school. As a working mom, you would think this would be a relief and allow the family to go back to a familiar routine. Order should return to the household. Right?

Teresa Taylor

Nope. In fact, it is the beginning of a month long meltdown that I unaffectionately call the “September Meltdown.” Once a year, like clockwork, I failed to keep it together when the simultaneous pressures of fourth-quarter work and back-to-school collided. 

At work, by September, we were always behind in our financial commitments. In order to get the fourth quarter in line, we needed to make expense cuts. The pressure was unbelievable and unpleasant. How was I supposed to figure out how to reduce my budget with two weeks notice? Why did we have to go through this exercise every year? How am I supposed to forecast the next year’s results when I can’t even figure out next week? 

At home, September’s back-to-school time brought another form of pressure. Paper work, school supplies, registration, new uniforms and new expectations – everything at once! And, who came up with this ridiculous school supply list … how many boxes of Kleenex and dry eraser markers can one classroom hold? Why are there so many “mandatory parent meetings” communicated with a three-day notice? On top of all that, the fall sports begin with a heavy game schedule. 

Yes, work and family schedules are busier than ever during this time of year.


5 Tips To Find Family Work Balance

This Back-to-School Season

The following five “meltdown” tips will help you survive the back-to-school adventure and the fourth-quarter pressures at work. They are written from my personal and professional experiences and shared in my book, The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success. 

1. Wear the game face. It is not necessary to let everyone know how miserable you are. It is not productive and only creates more chaos. It is ok to cry but find a place that you can cry alone – mine was the women’s bathroom in my office. 

2. Third grade only comes once. Each school grade comes with unique characteristics that shape your children. Try to rise above the details and look at the bigger picture. Treasure – don’t dread -- this busy back-to-school time. 

3. Manage your time more efficiently. Be present in what you’re doing, finish it and move on. I have my list of things to do, and I’ll assign time slots to it. If I have one hour to work on a presentation at work or one hour to shop for school supplies, I do the best I can for that one hour. 

4. Combine your work and family schedules. I used to keep two different calendars – one for home and one for work; but, I was missing work deadlines, my kids’ activities and other events. So I combined the calendars, which caused me to start talking about my family at work and integrating my two lives. It’s one life and one calendar! And,now, I don’t miss a thing. More than ever, back-to-school time is the right time for combining. 

5. Stay in the moment. When you’re at work or in a meeting, be there. When you’re at home, be there. If you’re in a business meeting, don’t be wishing to be somewhere else. Be present where you are, and don’t feel guilty about where you’re not. 

At the end of the day – or at least every time September came around – all over again, I learned a valuable lesson about adversity, setbacks, disappointment, difficulties and everything else that came rolling down the pike. It takes faith that things will work out, and they always do. 

So enjoy and savor September. It might be back-to-school time, but you don’t have to welcome back the “mommy meltdowns” – leave them behind. 

About the Author 

Teresa Taylor is not only a mom but also former Chief Operating Officer of Qwest, a $12 billion telecommunications and media company. She is a nationally recognized, Fortune 200 executive who brings integrity, focus, vision and agility to corporate leadership, while advising companies, government agencies and others on a successful business model. Her book, The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success now available on Amazon, is inspiring women to succeed professionally and personally.

FTC Disclosure: Content for this post provided by Teresa Taylor, author of The Balance Myth. Also Note: we participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. This allows us to earn a bit of compensation -- without any extra cost to consumers -- for including referral links without our posts to and affiliate sites. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.


  1. I have not heard of The Balance Myth but it's definitely a book I'd like to check out. I never realized how much September can be a bummer (especially for kids) but these are points definitely worth knowing.

  2. Those are really great tips, I need all the help I can get this time of year, thank you!

  3. These are great tips. This time of year is always hectic for me too. I need to try to combine my family and work schedules.

  4. What great advice. Thanks for sharing. Staying in the moment is something I need to do more of.

  5. I like the idea of combining the work and home schedules into one calendar. It makes sense that it would give you a better idea of when you are busy and where.

  6. I am looking forward to the fall. I will miss my lax schedule but I am ready for cooler nights and pumpkin spice everything.

  7. These are some great tips. I especially liked the one about staying in the moment. It's too easy to wish you were someplace else. Live in the moment!

  8. These are great tips, I will have to read this book. I balance pretty well, after about the first two weeks go by!

  9. Time management is everything for me! I also need to make sure my family is aware of all of our weekly schedules. Great ideas.

  10. I am working on my doctorate and am reading one of my professor's dissertations on work life conflict. It is so interesting of a topic and so relatable!

  11. Great tips. I have been dreading back to school because I’m not ready for my little one go to back but I need to focus on what she is experiencing and cherish every moment that we have. These years go quickly, great reminder.

  12. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing them with me :) I need to be in the moment instead of worrying about stuff I didn't get done.

  13. A combined calendar is a must for me too. It's too confusing to do it otherwise.

  14. I am looking for a new book to read, I could use some help with balance in my life. I will have to check it out.

  15. Back to school meltdowns have been happening a lot at our stores. I have seen a few family's trying to get some shopping done for school and the little ones are not happy. This looks like a great book to check out.

  16. Balance oin one's life is always helpful! I will definitely have to read this one.

  17. We are really fortunate that are summer and school schedules aren't really too different since my daughter attends a summer program for children with disabilities. It makes our lives so much easier!

  18. When it comes to balancing work and family it is important to remember that you must balance your real life, not a dream one. You must get your family involved in order for things to work.

  19. Staying positive is super important. Now I have a kid in middle school and another in 2nd grade, its so much easier to just enjoy it. Good advice.