Live A Guilt-Free Life
- It’s very easy to fall into the trap of guilt when you are not with your child. But rather than falling into this trap, think about how your job is helping the family. Perhaps you can afford certain classes or educational opportunities for your children or you’re able to put away savings for college. The most successful career moms have found ways to be efficient in both worlds—and that requires being able to come to terms with choices and focus on the priorities that are in the moment. Accept that there will be good and bad days. Mothers should know they are not alone and they should discuss their feelings with partners, friends or support groups.
Make the Mornings Easier
Avoid starting the day on a worn out note by getting organised the night before.
- Get clothes ready, both yours and the kids
- Pack lunches if possible
- Prepare the school bags as much as can be done the night before, have the toddlers and older kids help there too. It will definitely bring a sense of responsibility in the kids
- Decide already what to make for breakfast or the hot lunch boxes
- Repack the diaper bag
- Place all bags, purses, backpack, work bags near the door, right next to your keys, so you can grab them and lock up on your way out
- Look over the next day’s to-do list and divide the schedule, determining which parent gets the kids dressed, buys necessary groceries, and cooks the meals. If you are a single parent, look for help from the older kids, give responsibility for certain tasks and provide true appreciation when the tasks get done, they will feel proud to do it for you next time
Knowing that a lot of the mundane tasks are completed will allow you to spend a few minutes eating breakfast with the kids without rushing out of the house
Look for the best childcare
- Do some serious nannies, babysitters and daycare centers shopping. Build up a list of criteria that are important for the caring of your child and start scheduling interviews and visits to daycare centers. As a personal advice regarding nannies, I always prefer choosing someone with a history of long-term commitments to families. This shows they have excellent experience and can adapt to various age groups, from caring for newborns, to toddlers and older children requiring homework help. It also shows their commitment to the family and will not just leave you after a few weeks or months. A good childcare provider should have extensive experience, excellent references, and a record to prove it.
While choosing a good daycare center on the other hand you would look for the following:
- low teacher-to-student ratio
- flexible hours (early start and late finish to accommodate for your start and finish times)
- Safe outdoor space
- Valid and up-to-date licenses
- Qualified employees – it’s a good idea to interact with the employees before choosing to build an opinion
- State of the art equipment – at least up to your expectation
- With a kitchen and qualified Chefs to prepare children’s food – ensure they provide a balanced diet and
Create and Organize a Family Calendar
- What are your family priorities? A calendar could help. You can download some sample calendar chart here or order online. I particularly like the magnetic calendar that you put on the fridge because it’s practical, reusable, colourful and it will give your kids the satisfaction of checking off their own completed tasks.
It can include dates when bills are due, a chore chart for the kids, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and much more. You could spare 15 mins every Sunday to review and prepare for the upcoming week’s schedule. It helps for better preparation and avoid surprises in the middle of the week. You should share the calendar with your babysitter or nanny so that everyone is on the same page. I wouldn’t recommend using anything like Google Calendar or Outlook because it might have the totally opposite effect of doing a family task together. Plus, it’s not a good idea to introduce such an important part of the daily routine on a device, especially for younger ones, although very tempting it might be. Staying organised is also about having a clean environment. You could have a family command center near the entrance where you keep keys, chargers, batteries and petty cash. Carving out dedicated spots for specific things will save time and improve efficiency in your home.
Talk about Flexible Work Arrangement with Your Employer
- Before talking to your employer or HR representative, construct a written plan detailing what you need. Try researching whether other employees have flexible arrangements and using this information to your advantage. This information will help tailor your proposal to the terms that your employer has already embraced with your coworkers. Every employer is different, and only you will know how much to share, but try to be as open and honest as possible. Be prepared to present alternative solutions, such as a trial period of your projected work schedule so you can show how the arrangement won’t restrict productivity. Discuss and see if work from home options are feasible depending on which field you are in.Moms seeking maternity leave should ask questions when speaking with a supervisor. The two biggest questions to ask are “How much time can I take off?” and “How much of that time will be paid?” Discuss using short-term disability or vacation/sick time to cover some of your time away from the office. It’s best to know those answers beforehand to avoid any confusion during your leave.
Stay Connected During the Day
- Stay connected with your children even when you’re not together. Phone, Skype, Video call, there are so many ways these days for staying connected. For moms with younger kids, consider recording yourself talking or singing on a video or record your voice reading along to a children’s book. Check out Hallmark series of recordable story books.
If you’re going to miss or be late to an older child’s event, give her something special in the morning, like a good-luck charm or a personal note. Look into options for filming the event so you can watch it later and not miss a moment. Hang pictures of yourself and your partner so the kids can see your faces. During your breaks at work, call your child; hearing her can help you get through a rough day, and she’ll be comforted to know you’re near.
Limit Distractions and Time Wasters
- Be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making phone calls. Don’t spend hours on end on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), things you can do when the kids are sleeping. Reduce TV watching considerably to maximize time with your partner during the evenings. Try to avoid multitasking, especially when spending time with your children. At your workplace, try to avoid wasting time. Of course you want to have a rapport with coworkers, but numerous email exchanges, casual Internet surfing, gossiping, and long lunches are distractions that will make you less productive. By being less productive, job doesn’t get done on time, you end up staying late at work when you could have spend that precious time with your family. Focus on your tasks at work and talk to coworkers during breaks or lunchtime.
Create Special Family Activities
- Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond. If you’re pressed for time, have a family breakfast or a family night with board games or movies. Create activities that regularly fit into your schedule so everyone knows what to expect and what to look forward to. When you do have family outings, avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Instead, focus on your kids’ interests such as friends, classes, and hobbies. With older children, ask for their activity suggestions and try to meet their needs. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you do it together.
Spend Time with Your Partner
- Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner, who will often be the number one person by your side. Start by having monthly date nights to get closer, feel rejuvenated, and enjoy each other’s company. Often, if you’re busy with work and home, your partner is the first to get neglected. Fostering this relationship will bring back some excitement to the marriage or partnership and help you to “check in” with each other. For some couples, going out on a monthly date can be difficult and expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on each other. Have an indoor date night by cooking an elegant meal together or even sitting together and talking (but not about work or the kids).
Spare Some Moments for Your “Me” Time
- By managing time wisely, you can create valuable moment for yourself regularly. A refreshing break will help you recharge while taking care of personal needs. Because your time is divided between your home and your career, make sure to manage your energy well. You can’t be an effective spouse or parent if you’re cranky, so take time to care for yourself to feel relaxed and effective. Lose yourself in a book before you go to sleep, take a bubble bath once a week, or treat yourself to a spa day. Fit in time for exercise (like a yoga class) or focus on a hobby. Remember to eat well and get enough rest — simple things that even the smartest moms neglect.