I find as a working mother that i am typically asked how i manage to do it all. I think that it all comes down to time management and your choice to make the commitment to work and maintain your family's well being. I work the night shift and so my role as a working mother is a little bit different. I do not have to really sacrifice much in terms of time with my family. I do however, have to sacrifice quite a bit of sleep.
I know plenty of mothers that chose to go back to work in order to feel like they were making a contribution to their household income and to society. I know plenty of women that fall into my category and have to work in order to be able to have a house and two cars. All the budgeting in the world will not enable me to stay home right now as we have a lot of debt from numerous student loans and old closed credit cards on both sides. Right now we are both working to pay off debts and become debt free. I can understand how people would want to work outside of home and get some adult time and just feel like they are doing something other than conversing with a three year old that wants the answers to all the "whys" in the world. I just don't fall into that category. I have spent a large part of my life working and personally would enjoy a little bit of down time, not that being a mother is in any way easy, but it is a different level of work.
So in terms of mananging to do it all... I don't. I find that my humanity and flaws are much more visable now and that i make mistakes a lot easier because i spend the majority of my day very tired. I wouldn't trade my schedule for a job during the day, though, i couldn't take being away from the boys that long. As crazy as they make me, i love being around them and seeing how they are learning to navigate through the world.