It has never been easy to be a working mother. For a long time, a mum who worked was unheard of or frowned upon. It was considered ‘irresponsible,’ and the children of these working women were viewed as being robbed of proper childcare and a decent upbringing. While we know today that this simply isn’t true, and we do not give nearly enough credit to the woman who works a full day and returns home to care for her children at night. For them, the work never seems to truly end. They often feel the guilt and stress that society puts upon them when they choose to divide their time, so how can you, as a dedicated working mother, balance life at home with life in the work force?
Focus on what you, as a working individual, provide for your family. The income you supply may be the income your family depends on, or it may supplement your current budget. Because you work, you may be able to begin saving for your child’s future, or give the family the vacation of a lifetime. Know that it will be exceptionally difficult some days and slightly less so on others, and be empowered by the knowledge that you are capable of focusing on your priorities.
Make sure that, because you know you will be away from your children so often, that you find exceptional child care services. Find a nursery or child care facility that is organised, up to date, and that interacts well with your children. Make your own list of services and criteria that you find most important and schedule a tour. You may even be able to schedule a play-date of sorts, allowing you to see how the staff and your child connect and communicate. This way, you can leave for work knowing your children are going to be cared for appropriately in your absence. Make your mornings easier by preparing everything you can the night before. This means lunches, outfits, bags, and even keys should be appropriately packed and placed the night before. If you feel you do the lion’s share of the work, discuss which parent should have which responsibility, so neither is unevenly frazzled in the early hours.
Keep a calendar organising all family and work events. Seeing everything at once may be a bit overwhelming, so dividing the two may be easier to comprehend, but a bit more difficult to discern scheduling conflicts. Get creative and colour code if you need to.
Communicating with your employer may help lessen these scheduling conflicts. Each employer will have a different policy, but many will be understanding and even willing to work with you regarding the needs of your family.
While you are going through your day, take note of unnecessary distractions or luxuries that are better spent elsewhere. Try to cut your TV and computer time while at home to spend time with your family, and try not to multitask so you know you are fully in the moment. Eliminate distractions to make sure you’re using your limited time efficiently. It may help to pencil in time specifically for your family to bond and time just for your partner so no one feels neglected. Lastly, make sure you have time for yourself. Allow yourself to indulge in a hobby or leisure activity you enjoy. Take a breath and remember, you can’t take care of everyone if you don’t take care of yourself first. Many choose to either work or be a mother, but there is absolutely no reason why you can’t do both.