We welcome once again our contributing expert Dr Maryhan Baker who shares with us her top tips on being working mums and being fully present with your children. You can read her previous posts here.
Balancing work and family-life is one of the biggest challenges parents face, be they a mother or father. With jobs and careers making ever increasing demands on our time, energy and resources, it can feel impossible to strike the right balance. Is it ever possible to feel fulfilled in your work-life and have time to be fully present parent for your children? My answer would be a categorical ‘yes’, you just have to be creative and realistic at the same time.
Lose the comparisons
This is one of the most dangerous of all for every parent. Each family’s circumstances are entirely individual and unique; making comparisons with what other mothers and fathers are doing is likely to result in you making a career choice which simply isn’t the right fit for you and your family. Practice saying to yourself over and over again “I am making choices on the basis of what’s right for my family”, and to hell with what anyone else thinks!
Don’t do anything which makes you unhappy
Our emotional mood as parents permeates through everything we do at home; it’s called emotional contagion. If we feel trapped in a job which we hate, or fails to fulfil us then I can guarantee your children will pick up on this, regardless of how many fake smiles you wear. You are much better off finding ways to make something which brings you joy work, even if it pays significantly less, as your whole family will reap the rewards. Are you able to juggle childcare with another parent; go back to your books to pursue the career of your dreams, or take on more flexible roles which work around the children?
Keep your eye on the long-term goal
Sometimes we have to make choices which aren’t quite right for us now, but which get us closer to where we want to be. This often takes the sting out of working in a job which doesn’t fully fulfil us, but allows us to go to school at night to learn a new skill, set up and establish our own business, or explore different career avenues. Remind yourself constantly of why you are doing what you are doing; and it’s role in the greater good. This will get you through the challenging times and closer to the right fit for you.
Remember you are your chidren’s greatest role model so they’ll learn from your decisions, how you handle your own personal challenges and ultimately your triumphs.
Featured article by Dr Maryhan Baker. Check her website for more information.