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You know those working moms who always seem on top of their game: never crying in the conference room, never late to meetings, always happy and well-rested and pleased with their lot in life? Turns out, they’re not so different from the rest of us. They just follow these nine simple rules of work-life balance.


They compartmentalize

Yes, we all know the stereotype of the multitasking mama typing on her laptop while breastfeeding and pureeing her own quinoa mash--all at the same time. But in truth, the happiest moms are the ones who know how to segment their lives. When they’re home, they’re fully home. When they’re at work, they’re focused on work. When they’re out with their friends, they’re not feeling guilty about missing bedtime.


They're Upfront About When They Unplug

Don’t be the manic stress ball at the playground burning her thumbs on her iPhone. Tell your colleagues your outside-the-office availability (and unavailability) and stick to it. Maybe that means you’re offline from 5 to 9 p.m. Maybe it means you go 100 percent dark on weekends. Whatever your limits, it’s important that you personally enforce them so that others follow suit. (And honestly, no one will mind.)


They aren't sketchy

When you’ve got a pediatrician’s appointment, don’t tell your boss you’ve got a networking meeting. If she catches you in your lie, she’ll definitely wonder what else you’re not telling her.


OK, they're a little sketchy

On the other hand, no need to give all the details of Stella’s stomach bug coinciding with your septic tank malfunctioning. Just say you have to leave to attend to a family matter, and follow up later to see if you can make up for the time you missed in the office.


They find creative ways to go above and beyond

Maybe you can’t attend every happy hour or burn the midnight oil with all the 24-year-olds. That doesn’t mean you can’t become employee of the month. Brainstorm additional contributions you can make within the confines of your schedule--say, launching a social media campaign you could oversee from your couch or a monthly lunch series you could host with the interns--and make it clear you’re up for extra challenges.


They communicate with their caregivers

Whether you’re relying on a spouse, parent, babysitter or daycare provider, this is probably the most important relationship you will ever have to navigate. (C’mon, how many other people will you call in the middle of a Tuesday to discuss diaper rash?) Establish expectations up front--say, two text message updates a day--and have a formal check-in once a month to make sure you’re not silently stewing about the way your nanny loads the dishwasher.

RELATED: The 13 Moms in Every Moms Group


They talk to their kids about their jobs

If little Alfie doesn’t know what Mommy does all day (just that she’s gone for nine hours), you’re bound for resentment. On the other hand, if he understands that you do important work making books/planting trees/doing open-heart surgery, he’s way more likely to take pride in your career, value your time together and aspire to do great things himself.


They don't get hung up on missing “firsts”

So your kid took his first steps at daycare. Guess what? As far as we’re concerned, until it happens in your presence, it never happened. Relish the moments that take place on your time.


They let things go

Sometimes there will be macaroni goo on the sofa. Sometimes you will skip the PTA fundraiser to watch Millionaire Matchmaker. Sometimes you will show up to a board meeting with finger paint on your forearm. C’est la vie.

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