Working parent woes were initially mostly for Moms. But these days, we see Dads also helping a great deal with kids. They are willingly sharing most of the responsibilities in managing the house. But it’s definitely not an easy task, to manage your home, children & work & still manage to have time for yourself.
1. The guilt tries to get to you. Ignore it.
Once your maternity leave is over, you have to get back to work. Maybe extending it by a month is fine. But you cannot just procrastinate leaving your baby & going back to work.
You might feel that, you are giving your career, higher priority than your little one. No, you are not. You are just trying to find a balance between, being a mother & your work life. 20yrs down the line, you do not want to regret, not going back to work & leaving your career behind.
2. The initial months are the toughest. You can still handle it.
You might end up arguing with your spouse, submitting your assignments late in office, doze off in the middle of an important meeting & forget paying your bills till the last minute. Don’t let all these demoralize you. You are just beginning to get adjusted to the new life.
When you got married, in the first 6 months to 1yr, you must have found it difficult to find a balance, between your work life & your ‘new’ married life. Now you are a ‘pro’ at it. Adding parenthood to the list, doesn’t make it any easier.
Prepare a schedule or even a timetable. Add reminders on your phone. Eventually you will be able to handle everything without any hassle.
3. Finding a trustworthy caretaker is not easy. It’s not impossible either.
For parents who have different shifts at work, it gets easier, as there is one parent with the baby at every given time of the day.
For parents who have to leave at 8 AM in the morning and get back at 7 PM in the evening, it’s not an easy task. At least till the baby is around 3yrs of age, they cannot be left alone at home. You cannot be constantly worrying about the baby & still concentrate on your work.
Hire a nanny or a caretaker during your maternity leave. This way you can monitor how she handles the baby. You can even teach her, how to pacify your baby, feed him, and play with him. Even after you start working, you can call every two hours to check on how your baby is doing.
4. Bid bye to your social life. You can still invite your friends over.
Having a social life after having kids is like a distant dream. Get up in the morning, do your household chores, feed the baby, go to work, handling work pressure, come back home, cook, feed the baby again, discuss stuff with your spouse, & again dressing up for a party or a dinner is kind of impossible. Except for some important ones which you cannot miss, you will be missing out on a lot of parties, lunches, outings etc with friends and family.
You can still have a social life by keeping in touch with your friends & family through social networking sites, messaging, & phone calls. You can even invite them to your place for a simple dinner or coffee. This saves travel time, you don’t have to dress up too much & you can spend time with them, without having to leave your baby alone at home, or with a nanny.
5. You will want ‘a day’ to have more than 24 hours. Take a day off.
Times moves faster than it ever does, if you have a lot of things to do. You will want the clock to stop ticking. You will have to cut down on your hours of sleep. You will have to eat quicker & cannot have a lazy breakfast. You cannot spend a lot of time in the bath tub relaxing. You have a 100 more things to do & you have to keep up with the ticking clock.
Every once in 2 or 3 months, take a day off from work. Ask your husband to be in-charge of the baby & the house for that day. Go to the spa, or on a long drive, to a quiet lunch just by yourself, or go to your Mom’s place just to sleep for the entire afternoon. You can be in-charge of everything, when your husband decides to take a day off for himself. This will not only rejuvenate you, but also make you spend the next 3 months happily, because you know you are going to get an entire wonderful day off just for yourself.
Ways to overcome challenges of a working parent
‘Motherhood is a journey of learning and not perfection.’
While everyone talks about the challenges faced by a working mother, people seldom talk about how to overcome these challenges. Most mothers juggle and multitask to the extent that they feel lost, exhausted, and frustrated in life. It happens with everyone.
Parenting requires you to build a great deal of stamina and hands-on cooking and nurturing skills. But, once you gather these skills, then life is not that tough.
Here, are a few tips to help you on this challenging journey:
- Plan meticulously in advance what all needs to be done for the next day. What is going to be the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next day? What all dishes are you going to cook for the little one? What clothes will you wear to work? Get geared up for any other task that you need to squeeze into your schedule, like planning your doctor’s visit, grocery shopping, or collecting laundry. A ready list of things in hand is a big hands-on for a working mother. You will see that you become more efficient in carrying out all the tasks when you know your next move.
- Develop a relationship with your partner to support you wherever you need him. You both can divide the tasks among yourselves, which will ensure that the effort gets divided significantly, giving you some breathing time.
- Stay in touch and meet regularly with other working moms. There is a lot to learn from others’ experiences, especially when you see them sailing in the same boat. And, it makes the journey a lot easier when you see other moms going through the same challenges as you.
- Learn to strike a balance in life. You never really lose out on anything if you are giving the best you can. If you are focused and determined, you will eventually be able to build your career the way you want. And, with a dedicated approach to parenting, you will eventually be able to bring your child to become a good person. You must enjoy every stage of life and be patient. Life is kind enough to reward you in ways that you never even thought of. You just need an honest and patient approach towards life.
- Speak to your management if they can allow you to work remotely. This will bring in a lot of respite to your hectic schedule and fortunately, remote working is gaining popularity post-COVID pandemic. So, make sure to utilize this opportunity.
- Don’t complain; be thankful to God for giving you this opportunity to nurture a life. There are millions who are dreaming of a life that you are leading. Gratitude brings more to be thankful about.
- Use affirmations to make your life easy. For example, instead of saying, ‘I am so busy’, choose to say, ‘I am easy’. Your thoughts and words have tremendous power in them. The more you bless yourself with positive thoughts and words, the better your life starts getting.
I hope after reading these tips, you will change your perspective towards the challenges faced as a working mom. I am sure you are well-equipped to handle all this and much more with a broad smile on your face.
Every child and every person is unique. Embrace life at every step!