coffee, pen and napkin on a workdesk

Balancing Work and Family Life

Written by: Annette Cohen



Time to read 8 min

I've always had a relentless drive for work, a hustler if you will. I mean, I worked until the day I gave birth to one of my daughters, and was right back at the office 3 days later with baby and playpen in tow. 😇 I inherited this work ethic from my late father, who immigrated to Canada in the '70s with my mom and three young kids. Seeking a better life, we moved to Montreal, as he and my mom were fluent in French (I often wonder if he knew just how brutal the winter weather was in Montreal when he made the decision to move here, but that's a whole other story). He took on various odd jobs as a door-to-door salesman (which was a popular job back then) to make ends meet. So as you see, the concept of working hard flows through my veins.

In the 90's, newly married and pregnant with my son, I taught myself web design and light coding. I spent my nausea-filled days designing e-commerce websites for companies. I got really good at it, and used those skills to open a business of my own; an e-commerce store that sold small kitchen appliances like toasters and blenders. Every other day I'd drive to USPS (across the border) to ship my orders. It was an hour drive and it was hard in winter and challenging during pregnancies. So we milked that for what it was worth, until the day I drove through a snowstorm, lost control of my car and ended up in a ditch. After being towed out of the ditch, I walked out of the car unscathed and with just a little dent in my car. But that's a story for another time. Fast forward through my 10-year Real Estate career and then finally to my happy place, Esteez which is soon hitting its 10-year anniversary! Some day soon I'll tell you how I got into that.

My top 4 rules (not in order of importance):

  1. Prioritize and Schedule

  2. Delegate and Outsource

  3. Practice Self-care

  4. Learn how to say 'no'.

Let's dive right in

Prioritize and Schedule

  • Figure out your 'non-negotiables'
  • Plan in advance
  • Use a daily planner
  1. Your 'non-negotiables' are the things that you must do each day no matter what. They are not negotiable. It can be making lunches for the family, reading/watching the news, replying to emails, gardening, working out,... everyone will have their own set of non-negotiables. These are considered as important as a root canal appointment.
  2. Whether you're a student, stay at home mom, or business woman, you surely have loads of responsibilities that are usually part of your routine, and you know well in advance how you will execute them. Moms, do your groceries at the beginning of the week, plan which rooms you need to clean and when. Students, plan your study sessions for math, history and geography exams systematically so you don't need to cram. Last but not least, girl-bosses, plan your business week on the last day of the week so you could go into the new workweek on Monday with a plan of action.
  3. I can't stress enough the importance of a daily planner. I don't know, I may be old school, but writing everything down somehow actually gets it done. You're basically holding yourself accountable to do the things you need to do. Writing it down is like magic. Trust me.

My favorite planner of all time is by the brand Driven Day. It's a Jewish planner so it has pages that include space for menu planning, guest count, a spot to fill in candle lighting times, etc...

(Links to their site is down below) 

a woman wearing an apron is standing in the kitchen

"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.""

- Paul J. Meyer

Delegate and Outsource

So, how does one get it all done and still stay sane? Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, or a woman in the workforce, it is actually possible.

  1. Shopping: This is 2024. Household shopping can be ordered online. With Amazon, necessities are so easily accessible; think: toilet paper, tissues, shampoo, toothpaste, band-aids, diapers, canned foods,... Insta-cart for groceries including fruit/veggies and cases of water bottles/soda... I mean who wants to shlep cases of anything when it can be delivered right to your doorstep?
  2. Household chores: If hiring extra help is not in your budget, you're not alone. Let me share how I managed as a young mother. I instilled independence in my kids early on. By kindergarten, they prepared their own snacks for school the night before. They also helped sort laundry by color and learned how to fold clothes. Making their beds was a simple task that fostered a sense of order, control, and productivity, which is beneficial for mental health. With older children, you can expect even more help—they should be doing their own laundry and taking care of their own lunches. But that's not all. Every kid gets a recurring weekly chore for shabbos preps (or weekend preps). Every evening after supper, one child does the dishes while the others clear the table. Our rule is: Mom/Dad cook, the kids clean. Starting this early-on makes it routine and argument-free.

The same way that you outsource your shopping, and delegate tasks to your kids, the same can be true at the office. 

groceries delivery at the front door

Practice Self-Care

Sharing what I do (even if I sound like a crazy person, cuz if it helps me, it may help you too). #nojudgementzone

  • 😊Smile at the mirror every morning no matter how stupid you may feel doing that. Smiling releases endorphins, and serotonin; both neurotransmitters that make us feel good. These natural chemicals are scientifically proven to elevate our mood, relax our body and reduce physical pain. Nothing like starting your day with someone smiling at you. Especially if it's you cutting yourself some slack in the mirror. Try it!
  • 👩Taking some alone time is pretty powerful. Meditation is one idea, but I'm not the type to sit cross-legged with my thumb and forefingers held up. 🙈 Personally, every now and then grabbing a coffee or a smoothie and sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air and my own company works wonders. Honestly, nobody understands me better than me, and sitting with my own thoughts sometimes is very soothing.
  • 💃Pamper yourself. And yes, it could be the obvious choice of a mani-pedi. But pampering comes in so many different forms. Could be a hike with a friend, a dance class, unwinding with candles and soothing music, retail therapy, a yoga class, indulging in a chocolate bar,...You do you.
woman sitting at the dock of the bay watching the clouds roll away

"One-half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying 'yes' to quickly and not saying 'no' soon enough."

- Josh Billings

Learn how to say 'no'

Not long ago, I was talking with a close friend about feeling burnt out. I was juggling family, long work hours, and volunteering for various causes. No wonder I was exhausted! Trying to be superwoman often leads to anything but super results.

My friend gave me simple yet powerful advice: "Start saying no." I wondered, how do you just say no when asked to help? Selling raffle tickets, baking for the bake-sale, organizing community events, delivering meals to new moms... So many wonderful things, but at the cost of my mental health. I didn't know how to refuse. She suggested I start with, "Let me think about it and get back to you." This pause gave me the courage to find the right words and politely decline. Saying no is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, preventing stress, and avoiding burnout.

This advice was life-changing. I found myself focusing on the things in my life that needed my attention the most and I never felt like I was doing good at the expense of my family. I was now doing good for my family.

This advice was life-changing. I started prioritizing what truly needed my attention, and I no longer felt like I was helping others at the expense of my family. Instead, I was now doing good for my family.

woman holding an envelope saying no sorry
Time management has always come naturally for me. I never really put much thought into it until a friend once asked me if I have 50 hour days... 😂 A few tips on time management...

  • Set clear goals: Short term ones as well as long term ones. This will give you clarity on the tasks you need to achieve and in what time frame.
  • Allocate a set time for each task: Make sure you're giving yourself enough time per task to start and finish it.
  • 10-Minute rule: If a task takes less than ten minutes to complete, do that one first so you could check it off the list quickly. Feeling accomplished is motivation to keep going.

  • Set deadlines: Establish deadlines for tasks to create a sense of urgency and accountability. This will help you stay on track and avoid procrastination.
  • Limit distractions: Put your phone on silent and face down! I can't stress that enough. Social media will always win if you don't.
  • Take breaks: Schedule regular short breaks throughout your day to have a snack, recharge, and re-boot til the next task. 

In today's fast-paced world, finding the time to prepare a meal can often feel like an impossible task. However, the importance of making easy, quick, and delicious dinners cannot be overstated. These meals save you valuable time, allowing you to focus on what truly matters in your day-to-day life. By mastering the art of simple yet tasty dinners, you not only nourish your family but also create more opportunities for relaxation and quality time with them.

I am sharing one of my quickest and most simple recipes of all time. Steam some veggies as a side dish with this simple salmon dish and you will have the most delish, healthy dinner, ready in record speed. Let me know if you make it and how it turned out! (Send pics, or it never happened!!)😉

Reminder: Nobody is judging you on whether you serve fish sticks, mac and cheese, or lamb stew for dinner. As long as everyone is fed, you are a super-star. 

simple salmon recipe


Finding the balance between work and family life is a journey filled with ups and downs, but it's a journey worth embarking on. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, and what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to prioritize what matters most to you and your loved ones. Above all, cherish the moments spent with your loved ones, for they are the true treasures in life that make the journey worthwhile. Here's to finding balance, happiness, and fulfillment in every aspect of your life.

Til the next time,

Annette xo

happy woman with red lipstick smiling

The Author: Annette Cohen

Meet Annette, the creative force behind the modest fashion brand Esteez. With a passion for fashion and a keen eye for style, Annette curates a vibrant online space dedicated to celebrating modestwear and timeless elegance. Through her Instagram account @esteezonine, she shares her love for versatile fashion, food, and lifestyle offering inspiration and insights into living a life of both modesty and individuality. Join Annette on her journey as she explores the intersection of fashion, faith, and personal expression in her blog.

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Driven Day Brand

My favorite brand for planners, and the stickers for planners.

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Wow, this was so thorough and gave me a lot of practical ideas to think about. Thank you!


Great post. Thank you and the salmon recipe is an extra bonus. I will definitely be trying it.


I have put a post it on my running to do list that says "say no ". It’s my past self giving current me the permission to say no!


So many good points in this blog post, I’m going to have to read it a few times to make sure I didn’t miss anything!!

Sara Hojda

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