Juggling Work and Home Life as a Caring Mother
A huge number of women carry two jobs – the one outside of the home and the one being a mother in the home. The truth is you’re a mother all of the time, no matter where your physical location is. Even at work you get calls from school and those taking care of your kids. Your mind is never completely at rest due to the huge important responsibility of caring for your youngsters.
There always seems to be something you’re giving up, whether it’s fully concentrating on your paying job or spending enough time with your children. The idea of quality versus quantity of time doesn’t quite satisfy you or your kids because you can’t plan when you are actually needed. Unexpected events can occur, kids worry about things at different times of day, and pleasurable time together is always a premium that can’t be fully satisfied. So what to do?
Suggestions for Meeting Your Own and Your Child’s Needs
1. Discuss with your child how important they are to you even when you are at work.
2. Ask them their feelings about your working outside the home and listen attentively. You won’t increase their negative feelings by talking about them. Instead you will help relieve them because they will feel less alone because they know you know what’s on their minds.
3. Work out a plan for contact during the day if that is needed. Depending on the age of the child, they may have a phone to text you at certain times during the day just to say hello. Pick a regular time so it feels like a routine connection that is dependable and gives a sense of security.
4. By setting specific times to text or email, you avoid multiple messages that interfere with your work and concentration and set your mind at ease.
5. However, try to be flexible if an extra message comes your way because your child is upset about something during their school day. Be reassuring on the spot and let them know you’ll discuss it more when you get home.
6. Establish at home routines to include one-on-one time with each child every day. This may be only ten or twenty minutes, but each child knows they get their turn.
7. Try to have family dinners where everyone has a say. Promote casual conversation by asking your child to elaborate on the details of their day without interrupting and giving quick advice. Comments like, “Tell me more about that…” often lead to more information.
8. Make feeling language part of your kids’ vocabulary at a young age. This lets them know you care about what’s on their minds.
9. As needed, go over homework and organize backpacks the night before the next school day, so that the morning rush goes more smoothly.
10. Teens spend a lot of time in their rooms. Make sure to gently knock on their doors to visit and spend some time together. Don’t begin with criticisms for being on the computer or phone rather than homework. Chat for a while first, then give quiet reminders to get their work done so they can get a good night’s sleep.
11. Read to your pre-school and primary school children every night before bed. It’s a calming routine that you share, giving a sense of security and restfulness before settling into sleep.
Remember that all you are doing takes lots of energy and effort that isn’t always appreciated. But, share your work life with your kids so they can imagine where you are and what you’re doing during the day. Keeping each other in mind during the day strengthens the parent-child bond.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit Laurie at her website for more parental guidance: www.lauriehollmanphd.com