The new breed of moms are quite something; not only are they homemakers, partners, breadwinners, mothers, nurses and therapists – they are also world class jugglers! Millions of women juggle motherhood and a career, but if they don’t perfect their juggling act and get it just right they will find that either their kids or their jobs suffer.
Here are a few tips on how you can learn to juggle both and how you can find a happy and healthy balance between being a mother and a professional.
Mastering the art of juggling
- Why are you working? The majority of mothers are working because of a need. They need to make a financial contribution to their household. In the same vein, there are also a large number of mothers who are working because they love their jobs and they have elected to work. The funny thing is both moms (those who have chosen to work and those who need to work) are plagued with guilt. Let go of the guilt! If you are a dedicated and loving mother your children will thrive whether you work or not, the trick is finding a balance, letting go of the guilt and reminding yourself of why you are working. You are working to support your children and you are making a positive contribution to their lives.
- Look for a good crÃ¨che, nursery school of aftercare facility. If you are concerned about your child’s wellbeing during the day, you will not be productive at work. Do not go with the first crÃ¨che you find or which is convenient. Try to visit as many day care facilities as possible and find the right one for you and your child. If you know your child is in good hands, you’ll be able to concentrate on your work and get more done.
- Play one role at a time. Although mothers are good at multitasking, the working mom must wear one hat at a time. When at work, focus on the task at hand and when at home – play the mom role. It may be easier said than done but to achieve a good balance, working moms must leave work problems at work and home problems at home. With working moms having little time, it’s important for them make the most of the time that they have, and that they focus on quality time rather than quantity.
- The internet has created a wealth of possibilities and many employers are allowing their staff to work at home (for a few hours per week or a few days per week). Discuss this possibility with your employer. Going into the office or the workplace a little later or leaving early will allow you to spend more time at home. A lot of mothers who have school-going children negotiate with their employers to work flexi-hours (a shorter day means that working moms can enjoy the best of both worlds).
- Find timesavers. All mothers and especially working moms do not have enough hours in the day. There are many ways that will help free up valuable time for working moms. Get together with other moms in your area and work out a lift schedule to get kids to and from school (you can play mom’s taxi for one week, and other moms can do the taxiing on alternative weeks). Plan and prepare meals in advance. A good timesaver is to cook double meals and freeze one! Stock up on ready-made frozen meals. Pack school and work lunches the evening before and be spared from the morning rush. Assign chores to older kids.
- Planning and organising. For the juggling mom to be successful in both her roles, planning is essential. Organizers were created for working moms. Set aside times for paying bills, shopping, coffee dates with girlfriends, homework, etc. Rather than running around blindly, organized moms know what needs to be done and when to do it, and time is not wasted trying to figure out what has been forgotten.
- One of the biggest concerns of working mothers is that they don’t get to spend enough time with their children. This can be avoided if mothers dedicate a day (or at least a few hours) on the weekend to their kids. Remember quality vs. quantity. When it’s kids-only time, moms must focus all of her attention on her children. Plan a trip to a museum, or spend the time at home, catching up, playing games, etc. Clear your schedule and free up the time for your kids. Mothers must ensure that they stay connected with their kids and find out what is happening in their lives.
- Work through the bad days. No matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home mom or a working mom – there are good days and bad days. Don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong. Life is unpredictable and there will be many times when the working mother will be forced to juggle a sick child, an important work deadline, a car that won’t start and a school project. It’s all in a day’s work and on most days working moms simply need to rely on their sense of humour and say -Tomorrow will be better day!
- Apart from the fact that working moms need to be expert jugglers at caring for their kids and being effective at their chosen professions, they also need to be wives, friends, sisters and daughters. Working moms must make time for their friends and for themselves. To keep their sanity and to keep their chin up, a girl’s night out or a coffee date with girlfriends is highly recommended. No matter how finely turned your juggling act may be, don’t forget about your own needs and give yourself a regular timeout!