Being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress from divided attention between work and family. I am extremely thankful that I am able to take my children with me to work but I still have to be able to share attention between work and family. The key is to focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance for you.
Make your mornings easier
Avoid starting your day off on a frazzled note by getting organized the night before. Pack the kids’ lunches, lay out everyone’s clothes, and make sure everyone is showered. I also will make sure I figure out what I want to do for breakfast, make sure you repack the diaper bag, backpacks, your purse and make sure you put them out near the door so all you have to do is grab them and go. Divide up the schedule between you and your significant other, determining which parent buys groceries, gets the kids dressed, and who cooks the meals. I also make sure I get up early enough to drink my coffee and exercise. Making sure you have everything finished the night before will allow you to spend a few more minutes eating breakfast and spending time with the kids without feeling rushed out of the house.
Create a family calendar
Make sure you figure out your families priorities. A calendar can include dates when bills are due, a list of school and family events, chore chart, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and much more. My husband and I have a shared calendar on our phones so he knows when i make appointments. We also have a whiteboard calendar hung up in our home where I write important things including birthdays, bills, school activities, and appointments. Make sure you set aside a couple minutes each Sunday to prepare and review for the upcoming week’s schedule.
Stay connected during the day
Make sure you stay connected even when you’re not together. If you are going to miss or be late to a child’s event, give them something special that morning, like a good-luck gift or a special note. Also look into filming options for the event so that you can watch it later. During your breaks at work. make sure to call and talk to them. Hearing their voice can help you get through a rough day, and your child will be comforted knowing you are near.
Create special family activities
Making time for your kids is very crucial during the week and the weekend. If you are pressed for time, have a family breakfast or family night with games and a movie. Have family outings, and when you do go to the outings avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Focus on your kids’ interests such as hobbies, friends, school. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what you do just as long as you do it as a family.
Spend time with your partner
Do not forget to nurture your relationshio with your partner. Often, if you are busy with work and home, your partner is the first to get neglected. Fostering this relationship will bring back some excitment to the relationship. For some couples, going out on a monthly date night can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on each other. You can always have an indoor date night by cooking a meal together or even sitting together with a glass of wine and talking, not about kids or work.
Have “me” time
If you are managing your time wisely, you can fit in valuable “me” time. Having a refreshing break will help you recharge while taking care of your needs. You cannot be an efffective parent or spouse if you are always cranky, so make sure you take time to care for yourself and feel relaxed. Remember to eat well and get enough rest, the most simple things are the easiest to neglect.
Let go of the guilt
Instead of dwelling on how you can’t be with your kids, think about how your role at work is benefitting your family. Maybe you are able to afford a great school, extracurricular activities, the best daycare, or start a college fund. Accepting that there will be good and bad days, you are not alone and you should discuss your feelings with your partner or support groups.