I am just finishing my maternity leave and I feel so guilty about having to leave my little one to go back to work. Can you give me some advice on how to cope with the change?
Hi New Mom,
Whether you are an employee, entrepreneur or stay at home mom (SAHM), we all will agree moms have it tough. Being dedicated fully to work and family is an impossible task that moms have to take on; which can be exhausting and thankless, but it does not have to be that way.
Mothers are usually awake before everyone in the house and start to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day. When she is through – depending on the age of the children – she now has to get them dressed, ensure that they have breakfast and finally send them off to school. The entrepreneur and SAHM may have the privilege of dropping and collecting their children from school, due to flexibility of time.
You get to work and perform your duties powerfully, ensuring deadlines are met and that your job responsibilities and duties are executed perfectly; as though, all you had to do was get up and dressed for work.
When school is over, you have to leave your job and collect your children from school, bring them back to the office (if this is allowed), or pay for after care services. Work ends and you have no choice but to face the traffic to get home.
When you arrive at home, there is homework to complete, food to cook, and house chores to get done. If you have a spouse, you also have to attend to them when they get in from work.
This has become the norm for most working mothers. Sometimes we may only get a well-deserved break at Mother’s Day.
Eight tips to help moms balance
Most successful mothers have a support system in place which allows them to have a successful career or business and do not feel burnt out. Below are eight tips we recommend for mothers to use to have a balanced work and family life:
Let go of the mom guilt
Most moms feel guilty for pursuing their career and being a mother at the same time. This is often the case for mothers returning to work after maternity leave. Rather than focusing on being unable to spend all the time with your children, perhaps you can consider the benefits of having a job and being able to support financially by allowing them the opportunity to have an extracurricular activity, lessons, family vacations and so on. These activities add to their overall development and expose them to so many things that can make them a well-balanced individual.
Make time for myself
You cannot be an effective spouse, parent or co-worker if you are cranky. Take time for yourself to relax and re-energise. Whether it is a manicure, a new hairdo, a trip to the beach, a girls’ day out -- manage the time and get it done. You should be the first priority. Always remember to eat well, get enough rest and exercise. These are the simple things that mothers often neglect.
Make mornings easier
The start of the morning usually dictates the rest of your day. Avoid the hustle by preparing the night or the weekend before. Things that can be done the night before to make mornings easier such as preparation of meals, organising clothing, packing bags and so on are time saver hacks which can allow you to leave your home on time and less flustered in the morning.
Find child care providers you can trust
The reality is, some moms are not fortunate to have their parents around to assist with taking care of the children, for various reasons. As a result, moms may have to seek assistance from child care providers, whether it is day-care or baby sitters. To decide on your provider, it is recommended that you seek within your network for references of providers. Establish your requirement prior to interviewing them, to ensure that it is what is required and that you are comfortable. Please ensure you conduct at least two reference checks.
Reduce distractions and time wasters
The internet and social media tends to engulf a lot of time unknowingly because it is available on our mobile phones. Reduce the amount of time on social media, be disciplined and set limits. When spending time with the children, put away the phone. Those WhatsApp messages, phone calls and Facebook posts can be attended to later, when the children are asleep. Remember, the goal is to balance as much as possible so time with the children should be undisturbed and focused.
Create meaningful family activities
Making time for your family is crucial for their development and family relationships. Family activities do not always have to cost a lot of money either. Fridays at your home can be known as movie night or game nights. Meals and snacks can be prepared or purchased and all members can assist with the planning of the activities. Doing this tends to take the pressure off and can release you from the guilt of not spending enough time with the family during the week.
Share house work
Both spouses can be responsible for sharing household responsibilities in the home. The era has passed, where it was the women’s responsibility to do all the chores at home. If your finances can allow it, consider hiring someone to help at home with the cleaning and general housework. This allows you more time to spend quality time with your family and it takes the burden off for those long days.
Being a mother is a joy and a full time job all on its own. The same pressures apply across the board whether you are a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom or a mother with a flourishing career and it is the one role that you do not get time-off, vacation, sick days or even casual days. Embrace the changes as they come along. Regardless of what you do, do your best, do it with love and everything will be fine.
Happy Mother's Day
AFETT is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2002 with the goal of bringing together professional women and engaging in networking opportunities, professional training and business ideas. ASK AFETT is a column meant to address issues and concerns of professionals seeking advice to assist in progressing in their careers. Today's response was written by AFETT member, Patries Ramkaran, manager director, Ramkaran Contracting Services Ltd. Learn more about AFETT at www.afett.com, search for AFETT Events on Facebook, follow us @AFETTEXECS on Twitter or contact us at (868) 343-2160. Email us your career-related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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