working mother magazine
Sep 16, 2014 • By

12 secrets of success for working parents

General Mills was recognized by Working Mother magazine today among the top five 2014 Working Mother 100 Best Companies for outstanding leadership in establishing policies, programs and corporate culture that supports working moms.

This is the 20th consecutive year General Mills has been named to the “100 Best Companies” list.

Striking a balance between career and family life is no small feat.  Read on for secrets from moms and dads who work at General Mills and have who figured out how to advance in their careers, bond with their kids and maintain their sanity all at the same time.

working parent

1. Ditch your guilt

“Getting through your day while feeling guilty is like trying to drive a car while keeping one foot on the brake.” That is to say, it doesn’t get you anywhere. Be satisfied with what you commit to and don’t beat yourself up about what you decline. If you’re not satisfied, then focus on making a different decision next time. – Meena, senior quality engineer

working parent

2. Make it a date

I pay close attention to the difference between spending time with “the kids” and spending time with my three kids as individuals.  Both are great, but with everyone’s hectic schedules I make it a point to schedule “dates” with each of my kids to do something fun just the two of us.  As professionals, we don’t expect things to happen at work without a schedule. The same applies at home; we get it on the calendar so it will happen. – Tom, supplier optimization solutions director

working parents

3. It’s about you too

Take care of yourself – even if it’s just treating yourself to a morning mocha or signing up for a yoga class! Taking advantage of little moments for you will leave you feeling refreshed and valued and will make you a better parent, spouse and employee. – Tracie, customer development manager

general mills employees

4. Remember their smiling faces

I keep pictures of my daughters and their artwork all over my work space. It serves as a constant reminder of why I’m working so hard and helps provide color and perspective, especially during a stressful day. It also helps me better manage my time and work faster, knowing those smiling faces are at home, waiting for me to fly through the door.  – Steve, integrated communications assistant manager

general mills work life balance

5. Plan ahead for family mealtime

I’ve created a personal cookbook of go-to meal ideas that everyone in my family likes and each one takes no more than 30 minutes to make. This cookbook allows me to make a meal when I arrive home for all of us to enjoy … with no complaints. What more could you ask for, especially after a long day? – Sara, patent research scientist

working parents

6. Make balance an ongoing priority

Balance isn’t looking at one day and asking if the time divisions fit what you want.  It’s looking across weeks, across months and even the year to prioritize and ask yourself if you are living your life the way you want. – Janelle, logistics business manager

working mother top 100

7. Stay connected

I travel a lot for my job so when on the road, I use technology to stay connected with my family.  Between quick text messages throughout the day to keep up with everyone’s activities or a FaceTime session with my wife and kids before bedtime, I can keep in touch from anywhere in the world. – John, employee relations director of labor relations

general mills family


8. Plan ahead

No one person can be at everything so planning ahead and being thoughtful about your time is critical. At the start of each school year, I meet with my kids’ teachers and coaches to get a sense of their plans/schedules for the school year. Then, I ask my kids what field trip, class event, game, etc. are most important to them and that’s what goes on my calendar. – Bethany, president of Convenience & Foodservice

working mother top 100


9. Don’t “should” yourself

It’s easy to think in terms of “shoulds” – meaning, “I should get up early tomorrow to make the kids breakfast,” or “I should go for a run.” But in the end, “shoulds” just leave you feeling inadequate and stressed. Remember that nobody expects you to be perfect except yourself so set boundaries day by day for what’s most important to you. – JoAnne, packaging R&D manager

working mother magazine

10. Enlist your entire family

There are a lot of tasks that need to be done to achieve a smooth-running and happy home so enlist your kids to help out.  I started teaching my kids at a young age to sort laundry, take off or put on their bed sheets, hang up wet bath towels, set the dinner table and so on. The kids feel empowered and excited to be “big helpers,” and at the same time, you will not spread yourself thin trying to accomplish everything on your own. – Valerie, training manager

working parents tips

11. Keep your kids and colleagues in the loop

I find that if I talk to my kids about my job and things I am doing at work, they are much more supportive and understanding of my sometimes hectic schedule. Similarly, I make sure to keep my manager and team members updated of any upcoming events or activities going on in my family that may require me to flex my schedule a bit well in advance. – Eric, R&D technology manager

working mother success tips

12. You’re not in this alone

Raising children takes a village. As a new mom, I’ve found that the key to balance at home and at work is a supportive partner, supportive employer and child care that you really trust and have confidence in. When things feel out of balance, start by evaluating these things to see what can be improved. – Lucy, sourcing manager

Subscribe to “A Taste of General Mills” by email – here – and we’ll notify you when there’s a new post.