How Do You Successfully Balance Career and Family as a Working Mom?
This is a question that I was asked when guest blogging for Armed With a Book a couple of months ago.
As a mom of two, and parenting blogger, some of the topics that I write about, such as Mindful Parenting and Attachment Parenting, have made me realize even more the importance of being present with my own children. I make a point to spend at least an hour a day with my toddler playing something she wants to play.
Now that I am overseas from my adult daughter, I have to be much more intentional about making time for her. We text every day on Instagram, and I make sure to video call a couple times a week to check in with her. Since this is new ground for us, I am sure that our relationship will continue to evolve.
No matter what else I am doing, or how busy I am, I always make my kids the priority, and make sure to spend plenty of time with them.
Sometimes it can be hard to create a balance, but I am lucky to have a supportive partner who not only edits my writing but takes extra time with our daughter when I am in my writing zone.
My partner’s help allows me to have time for my writing and still know that my daughter’s needs are being met. Successful co-parenting has been key for me to be able to find a work life balance.
Working From Home Helps
For the last two years, I have been able to work from home because of COVID-19. It has been great, and when I started looking for a new job in Germany, I exclusively looked for work-from-home jobs.
It has been amazing to be home all day, so that I get to have more time with my family.
Before that, I was wasting 2 hours a day on my commute, and I never want to have to do that again. Since the landscape of work in general is changing, work from home options are expanding.
My five-year-old knows that when I am sitting at my computer, that means I am working. Even so, it is nice having her nearby, even if it is just for a hug in-between calls.
If you have a job where you can make your own schedule, like I can with my writing, then you can schedule your work early in the morning or late at night, when kids are sleeping. That way, you don't take time away from them.
Or, you can work on the computer while they are engaged in self-directed play or watching a movie. Either way, you can be in the same room with them while you are working. It may not seem like quality time (it isn't) but at least you are there if they need something, and you can put away your computer if they need some interaction.
Work Outside the Home
If you work outside the home, you can still be a great mom. I worked in an office for years, and before that I worked in Hospitality. I still always made time for my kids.
One of the most important things to remember is that scheduling is key.
We have 24 hours in a day, and the more organized that we are, the more of those hours we can spend interacting with our kids.
One thing I try to do is to minimize running errands. If something can be done online instead, do it online. This can mean buying things from Amazon, renewing your driver's license, or paying your bills.
If you do need to run errands, you can either do them on your lunch at work, or early in the morning on the weekends. If you get your running around out of the way early, you have the rest of the day to enjoy with the kids.
No matter what kind of job you have, you can still find quality time for the kids.
If you don't have a ton of time every day to devote to your kids, making it count becomes even more important.
According to Parenting NI, there are many benefits of spending quality time with your children, including:
It builds children's self esteem
It strengthens family bonds
It develops positive behaviors
It encourages communication
It can help your child's academic performance
It can help your children be a good friend
Although we may just want to zone out and stare into our phones for a couple of hours after work, making time for our kids should be a priority. I would also advocate for making this time free of devices, ours and theirs. Even if it is just for 15 minutes, putting devices down allows for real conversation and connection to occur.
Every day when I get done working, I take time to spend about an hour doing something with the kids to decompress and reconnect. This is an important way to show that you care.
If your kids are in daycare, you can ask them about your day during the drive home. This gives them the sense that you care about what they are doing and value hearing from them.
Although we typically have dinner pretty soon after I get done working, you can make dinner prep into a family thing too. You can have young kids pretend to cook with play dishes while you are cooking. With older kids, you can either have them help you with the meal prep, or talk together while you are cooking.
Sit-down dinners are another great way to connect. If you have all your devices off during dinner, it is a great time for the family to catch up with one another.
On the weekends, I typically will take my kids to do at least one fun activity. It could be going to a kids place like the rec center or a bounce house, or to a museum for them to learn something new. It could even be as simple as going for a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood together.
Before bed, you can build in a story time where you read together. Letting your child choose a book is a great way to connect, and also share in their interests.
Whether you work inside the home or out, it is important to build in quality time with your kids each day. You don't have to go anywhere fancy to do this. You can bond over simple activities together.
It isn't just about how much time you spend with your kids, but about building connections. That's why it is important to make sure you spend at least a little time connecting each day with devices off.
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