Ask any mom in the world how she manages to drive her career in an upward direction and still devote herself to her offspring as much as she would like, and they will tell you roughly the same thing: neither your kids nor your job come with an instruction manual. You need to prepare as much as you can, but even more so be ready to adapt as you go, find and adjust your working mom strategy every day so that both aspects of your life make sense.
While you’re creating a nurturing environment for your growing child and still aiming for that promotion, you’ll quickly realize that few pieces of advice you come across can be applied to your exact situation. Precisely because every mom’s journey is different, there are certain aspects of it you’ll have to “wing”, but others are common turf you can learn about from moms that have been there before you.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to carry your infant in a sling while attending a budget meeting and your three-year-old is munching on home-made snacks right next to you without making a fuss. It’s safe to say this never, ever happens. And even though a certain level of multitasking is a given of momhood mixed with work, you’ll have to prioritize wisely and do things one at a time when they truly make a difference. This means resisting to reply to an email during your son’s first hockey game and the like.
From a mom’s standpoint, kids will always come first, especially during those moments in their life that only happen once, and that’s when your job gets benched. On most days, your work allows planning, so you can consult your employer to help you work around those important occasions when being a mom trumps work. And although you cannot be at every ballet recital and every meeting all at once, you can be there when it counts most and multitask when possible.
Build a support system
For the sake of your sanity and your success, you need to let go of the “supermom” ideal. You are perfect, not in spite of your imperfections, but because of them, and you deserve a break every once in a while. You might be an expert lawyer or a surgeon, but you won’t be able to solve every math or essay assignment for your teen. Even if you were a stay-at-home mom with all the time in the world on your hands, what are the chances of you knowing every physics or chemistry conundrum there is?
This is where good high school tutoring services will not only be a life-saver for your struggling kids, but also for creating more time for yourself, your career and your home. A few study sessions with a professional tutor can help your child overcome learning obstacles much more efficiently, while you tackle your pitch for tomorrow’s presentation.
It’s one thing to stay in touch with your kids during the day with Skype, messages or good old phone calls, but completely another to allow yourself to be constantly distracted at work. Finding the right middle-ground can help you maintain the closeness you have with your kids, and stay in the loop regarding their school and daily chores without putting off work assignments a hundred times just to check if your youngest is still online.
You can even note down a few thoughts or record them as an exchanged diary between you and your family, but make sure to do that in specific moments, like your coffee or lunch break. Limit your access to social networks and other digital gimmicks to half an hour or so – as much as they are of great help to stay connected, they can become a huge distraction unless you take control.
Savor your family time
Just like you handle your work one task at a time, and your smaller milestones sum up into larger accomplishments, your parenting could use some scheduling! Depending on your work, use your days off to plan out fun activities, short trips, stay-at-home movie nights, or camping adventures to spend as much time together as possible getting to know your kids and nurturing your family bonds.
This can also be done on a daily basis, such as making time for one family meal per day, an evening of board games, or a sports activity you can all attend. Creating such a reliable routine gives your kids a chance to not only enjoy spending time with you, but also learn and develop their interest and hobbies.
Adapt your mindset
There will be many things you’ll need to rethink and adjust during your parenting adventure. But among them, building a positive mindset when it comes to your career will make a significant difference in how you approach your role as a mom. First and foremost, drop the guilt game. If you constantly blame yourself for having a career, then you will stifle your professional growth, prevent yourself from enjoying your success and you will constantly live under pressure.
Why not change your perception – as a working mom, you are an incredible role model for your kids, you will encourage them to find their own passion and chase their own dreams, look up to you when it comes to work ethics and they will admire your dedication both as a mom and as a professional. Plus, don’t forget that your financial contribution to the family is essential.
On a final note
There is no cookie-cutter mistake-proof template for every mom out there to find her peace of mind in both roles. It’s a road riddled with setbacks and obstacles, just waiting for your crafty mind to find a solution and rise above the challenges.
And most importantly, yours is a unique situation but lends itself to at least a few of these universal truths. So, while you’re doing your best to figure out your ideal working mom recipe, don’t forget to cut yourself some slack and truly savor the wonders of motherhood in all of its perfect imperfection – because as far as we know, life still doesn’t have a do-over.
This article was happily brought to you by my dear guest, Claire. She is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at highstylife.com.