Working Mom’s Survival Guide

So many moms have it: Superwoman Syndrome. We have to be all things to everyone all the time, and we are expected to be fabulous and on-trend while doing it. It can be quite daunting to juggle multiple tasks and dash from meeting to carpool at lightning speed, while appearing calm and wonderfully put together.

Well, every superhero has to have her bag of tricks; whether you keep yours in your desk drawer, your laptop bag or your purse, here are 15 things every working (read: overworked, underpaid and sleep deprived) mom/Supermom needs to keep on-hand (List items chosen in tandem with fellow supermom and master juggler, Mrs. Edmondson. Thanks for your help, doll!):

1. Affirmations – It’s wonderful to be able to tell yourself all the things you wish would come from an outside source, or to be able to center yourself when you feel anger and frustration sneaking in to ruin your good day; affirmations give you all of that and more. Write them on sticky notes or print them on white paper, then post them at your cube, keep them in your drawer—write them on your hand if you need to. Just keep them nearby. My good friend GG and I love affirmations and thereby post them frequently on our joint blog Peace, Love and Pretty Things (which you can check out here).

2. Chapstick / lip gloss/ lipstick – Whether colorless chapstick, shiny lip gloss or the perfect shade of lipstick is your weapon of choice, keep a tube on-hand for last minute moisturizing or touch-ups. It’s amazing how easily applying a fun lip can boost your mood. My favorites are Stila Cosmetics lip glazes.

3. Deodorant/ freshening spray – Especially important in the summer, or if you’re going to be running around a lot, are items with which to freshen up. Wal-Mart and Target sell miniature sized deodorant sticks and freshening sprays. Stock up.

4. Dried fruit – Keep small amounts of dried fruit on-hand to ward off sugar cravings and keep you from hitting the vending machine—but be careful; even these tasty treats can cause sugar spikes when consumed in large doses. Mrs. E. recommends Ocean Spray craisins in 100 calorie single serve packs.

5. Earphones – If allowed in your office, keep ear buds on hand for when you need to block out the background noise and really focus. Or pop them in and hit play on your positive perceptions playlist (I wrote a post about this type of playlist, which you can read here) when you’re starting to feel frustrated. Mrs. E likes to use them in the grocery store, Target, etc; it’s a way to reward yourself with your favorite tunes while you run your errands.

6. Flats – Heels can become tiresome for even the most experienced of stiletto wearers, and sometimes they are just impractical—no need to ruin your shoes on that muddy sports field! So keep a tried and true pair of comfy flats on-hand to help you get around faster and easier. Jewel tones are very on-trend again this fall so grab a pair in cobalt blue or a deep red and you won’t break that trendy stride.

7. Granola bars – Keep granola or cereal bars on hand as a quick fiber-filled snack that will help you to feel full in between meals. These can also be given to your little angel to ensure they don't turn into little monsters (per Mrs. Edmondson, LOL).

8. Green or black tea bags – Chock full of antioxidants, and smaller amounts of caffeine than coffee, these little bags can pack a lot of punch just when you need it. Tazo ‘Awake’ tea is a great alternative to your regular java.

9. Hair pins/ ponytail holders – I have found that my hair tends to have a mind of its own and it can be quite willful! For those moments where my mane gets out of control, I keep extra ponytail holders and bobby pins on hand for the ability to transition into a neat bun at the drop of a hat (pun intended).

10. Journal/planner – Sometimes, you just need a moment to yourself; use it to journal, to manage your calendar for the week, to set goals—whatever will allow you to take a breath and get back on track.

11. Lint roller – Sweaters, office chairs, bags—lint can rub off from almost any surface onto your clothing. Keep a lint roller on-hand to quickly rid your items of pesky fibers.

12. Mints/gum – For that last minute client meeting, car ride with your boss or impromptu coffee with a cute single dad (for those still on the market), keeping mints and/or gum on hand is the best way to make sure your breath makes a great impression. Vitamin Shoppe sells the most delightful green tea mints; they’re in the shape of little leaves, which is adorable, but more importantly they freshen your breath without the sometimes overpowering scent of a strong mint.

13. Nail file/ emery board – Nails often seem to break at the most inopportune times, and then the sharp edges proceed to catch on everything they get near. Avoid maiming yourself or your precious items by keeping a nail file or an emery board on-hand for a quick-fix manicure moment.

14. Sticky notes – Moms have infinite numbers of ‘to-do’ lists. Want to avoid having something get lost in the list shuffle? Write it on a single sticky note and keep it separate from everything else.

15. Tide pen – If you’re someone who is constantly spilling her coffee, or who has little ones that love to pat her pristine clothing with sticky fingers, a Tide pen or similar stain removal stick will be your best friend.

What are some other items you keep on-hand to be sure you’re prepared for anything?