“Call your mother. Tell her you love her. Remember, you’re the only person who knows what her heart sounds like from the inside.” – Rachel Wolchin
by Kerry Hart, LLMFT
Some adults choose to stay at home and raise their children, and that is fulfilling what their life’s goals have been all along. Not every parent, however, gets the opportunity to make that choice. Some parents have to work while other parents want to work. In either case, life can become a balancing act. The following tools will help any working parent get closer to achieving a more productive home life while achieving their professional dreams.
While you may have all the moms at the PTO fooled, turns out you may not be super mom. It is more than okay to accept help when times get tough. Have back-to-back business meetings? Call your parents or in-laws. At the end of the day, grandparents are thrilled to get quality time with their grandkids. What you may see as an imposition could be the best Tuesday your mother has had in months! Learn how to delegate household chores to cut down on your stress and to-do list. Your partner may not clean the kitchen the way you like it, but if they can make progress that is one less thing you have to do. Learn to delegate and your stress level will decrease.
Know that not everything will look as you thought it would. Do you picture yourself a captain of industry while effortlessly raising four children? You may need to alter that picture a bit. There is no shame in hiring a nanny to keep your kids entertained while you pound the pavement to start your own business. Working from home may seem like a good idea, but do not be fooled, it also comes with unique challenges. While you may have the opportunity to structure your day to your liking, you will still need to get actual work done once in a while. There are distractions at home that you might not have at an office such as kids, dirty laundry, or the pesky TV in the living room. If you are a new mom, you will have to work around the baby’s schedule, which can be difficult with a job that insists on a rigid structure. Keeping your kids on a set schedule will help. When baby goes down for a nap, you can finally get some quality work time in! If you are feeling exhausted, feel free to schedule your own nap time as you will not be as productive if you are tired. Knowing yourself and your limits will help you understand what you are capable of and help you achieve your goals.
Work outside the home? Be smart about your time! Bring your lunch and eat it at your desk. When your lunch break comes along, be sure to take it. Use that hour to run errands you had thoughtfully listed out the night before. Buy a planner that includes free space for to-do lists, and separate your personal list from your work list. Take time each evening to plan out the next day. While it may be the last thing you want to do after a long day at work and quality time with family, it will make the following day so much easier. Planning out your meals ahead of time will cut down on hectic mealtimes and forgetful shopping trips. This will take some extra effort, but will help you tremendously.
Explore Available Resources
There are plenty of resources out there for moms who are looking to start a businesses, moms in the rat race, or even just for moms interested in some relief! A fantastic website geared toward, you guessed it, working moms is www.workingmom.com. Explore various tactics and tools that will help you find that work/life balance in either the home section or the work section.
Feeling down about being spread too thin? Check out www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com. This website not only stresses the importance of finding that work-life balance but also can connect working moms with local resources that may help them along the way.
It is hard to be a working parent, but do not let your guilt stop you from achieving all you want in your life. It can be hard to take the time to make yourself happy. Parents, in particular, can feel this guilt as it can become natural to worry about others before yourself. Be sure to take care of yourself, make your needs a priority, and you will become a better parent and employee. With a little planning and a lot of dedication, you can really have it all.
Kerry Hart, LLMFT is a family therapist located within Grand Rapids Natural Health. She specializes in the treatment of children, teens, couples, and families.