Being a working mom is tough. Trying to keep all the balls in the air to be the perfect mother AND the perfect worker can sound like a mission impossible. Yet, it’s the reality that many women have to face today.
How can you balance your demanding career with your extremely time and energy-consuming role as a mother?
We took the liberty to put together a few tips to help you out.
1. Honor your decision
If your career is important to you or you must continue to work for financial reasons, honor the fact that you’re doing what you feel it’s best for you and your family. Feel empowered by it and focus on the beautiful example that you’re setting for your children.
It’s not a secret anymore that women whose mothers worked outside the house are more likely to have jobs themselves, hold supervisory roles and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home. Also, men raised by working mothers are more likely to spend more time caring for the house and their family members.
2. Be present
When you’re at home, make sure to spend some quality time with your kids: play with them, help them with their homework, ask them about their day and sit down together for a family meal. Try to be fully present. Your children will be happier, and you’ll feel better too.
3. Let go of the mom guilt
Dr. Judy Rose describes the ‘mom guilt’ as “a phenomenon that many women with children experience when they feel they are not living up to society’s unrealistic expectations of what a ‘good’ mother should be.”
Mothers are often the victims of heavy judgment when they ‘abandon’ their children to go to work, while fathers are expected to do so in order to ‘provide’ for the family. Unfortunately, this sexist stereotype is still well alive, even though many women today don’t really have the option of being stay-at-home moms because a double wage is vital for many families’ survival. Some women simply don’t want to give up their careers, and rightly so.
Whatever the reason, being a working mom is a courageous choice, so let go of the guilt and think about the benefits that your work and career are bringing to your family. Your children will grow up more independent and confident of your love, even if you’re not there all the time.
4. Schedule me-time
Make sure to schedule some me-time. This is not negotiable, as filling your own cup is paramount if you want to withstand the pressure of giving your 100% at work and at home.
Remember the instructions that flight attendants give every time about wearing your own vest and oxygen mask before you can help others do the same? Exactly that!
Take care of yourself first, so you’ll have the energy and the brainpower to balance your life better.
5. Involve your partner
Don’t do all the work yourself!
As a mother, you have the right to say ‘no,’ delegate tasks, and even outsource some chores if needed. By involving your partner, you’ll be less exhausted and less likely to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and resentful. Besides, a fair distribution of household and child care tasks is the most important factor in determining your success as a working mother.
Make sure to nurture your relationship, as well. Happy parents who love and support each other make happy children.
6. Connect with other working moms
Sometimes, it might feel like you’re all alone, battling against your ‘mom guilt’ and struggling to keep all the balls in the air. Except, you’re not! Thousands of women are going through the same thing as you.
Reach out to colleagues who are also working mothers or find moms near you through social media and other platforms like Meetup or Hello Mamas. You can organize playdates and mom groups to create a community and share the pains and joys of motherhood with someone who REALLY understands you.
7. Communicate openly with your manager
Skipping lunch breaks, working during the weekend, defusing critical situations – working moms are usually among the most committed employees out there. Being a mom doesn’t make you less productive or competent, despite what your boss may think.
Changes will definitely occur, but if you ensure that communication is transparent and honest all the time, and if you continue to do your job well, your manager will hopefully understand your needs and appreciate your dedication to both your job and your family.
8. Spend your time wisely
Sometimes it seems that the time is always short. And it is!
The thing is that you cannot do it all, so prioritize the important activities and commitments and let the rest slide. Try to make time for things that will also fill you up with energy and avoid multitasking if possible. Doing many things at once will increase the pressure and make you feel drained. So, do less, but stay focused while you do it.
9. Leave work at work
Shifting from work-mode to mom-mode can be tough. Yet, it is imperative that you become capable of leaving work behind and being fully present when you’re with your children.
Try to release the tensions of your workday and set loving intentions for your afternoon and evening with your family before picking up your kids or coming back home. Meditation or sport can also help facilitate this shift.
10. Stop trying to be perfect
It’s way too easy for working moms to fall into the rut of not being enough. Society’s standards, personal expectations, and comparisons with other moms contribute to making you feel inadequate most of the time.
Now, stop listening to others and drop the need to be perfect. It’s unrealistic and unhealthy. You don’t have to be perfect, your family doesn’t have to be perfect, and the same goes for your career and life. Perfection doesn’t exist – it’s just a trap of your ego and a societal illusion.
Being an impeccable professional AND a great mom may mean that your home won’t be sparkling clean all the time or that you won’t be able to prepare a delicious dinner every evening. And that’s ok. The moment you stop trying so hard to be perfect and focus on your priorities instead, your life will become happier, and you’ll feel more satisfied with yourself.
Last but not least – HAVE FUN!
Make time for spontaneous adventures, impromptu evenings, and fun. What’s the point of having a huge to-do list and a clean house if you’re sad and tired all the time? Have some old-fashioned, carefree fun with your family during the weekend, and you’ll start the work week refreshed and happy.
Fusion Movement wants to celebrate working mothers and their contribution to the workforce and society as a whole. We know it’s not an easy feat, and that’s why we’ve created a safe space for women to share their experiences, network, and find support. We’re also committed to keeping talking about women-related topics and mothers’ issues.
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