It was a conversation with one of my staff that lead me to this week's blog. With two young ones at school and working full time, she had a challenging week. Like a lot of women, she chose to work full time and have a career, and why not? However it can be a tough road being a Mum, whether working full time or at home, it can be a hard but rewarding road. Surprisingly enough we are not superwomen and we need to recognize this and give ourselves a break.
Having raised my kids and worked full time in my career I have learnt a few things on the way, so I thought I'd share some of these with you and, hopefully, you can take something from it to make your life a bit less chaotic.
You are not the only parent
Ok, so you’re the Mum and you think that because of this you should be the authority on your children……well, that is true, but there is another parent, so make sure you let them be the parent too.
One of the most frustrating things I hear is “hubby's babysitting the kids” or Dad saying “I'm babysitting the kids”. No you are not! They are your children, so you are actually simply doing what a parent should do - parenting.
I learnt this really early on with our daughter, first born. Within our first day back at home with her, Pete was bathing her and I was hovering over him…..”do it like this…..don't do it like that.. blah blah” He turned around and said to me “she is my child too and I`ll do this my way”. It really made me stop and realise that I didn't know any more about bathing, dressing, changing nappies etc than he did , we were both new at this. So yeah, I totally let go of feeling that I had to be the authority on our kids. From that day on I never had to plan or organize anything when Pete was with the kids, he did it his way and he did it well.
So as women we need to stop feeling precious about that and let go sometimes.
Let it out of your head and share
I don't know about you but I carry lots of crap in my head, you know the usual stuff, school stuff, dates, appointments, birthdays, sports… it goes on. You need to get this information out of your head and get the family aware of these things and involved in helping with them.
There are great ideas and tools that can really help with this
- to do list
- family home folder
Whatever you chose to use, make sure you keep it for everyone to use and see.
We always had a big calendar that had everyone’s name on it, so you could easily see what was coming up for the family weekly and monthly. We found this kikki-k one worked really well.
Flexible work options
Ok, so we may not all be in a position to have flexibility in our work, but I strongly suggest that you do try and achieve this. If your present work environment doesn't support this, think about finding one that does. I know this is easier said than done, but think about the difference it would make to your life and parenting ability.
One of the reasons I remained with my employer was because they are so supportive of work-life balance. I always made the effort to attend all the important events in my kids' lives - at school, on the sportsground, etc. It wasn't always easy, but I did it. My husband did the same, between us we were always there.
I recall once at a parents' event at the school, a group of mums talking to me about how hard it must be working full time and raising a family. This was about fifteen years ago and a full time working Mum was still not that common. Obviously I talked about the challenge, but I did ask them if they had asked my husband the same question? And do they ask other fathers this question? I didn`t meant to be rude, but it’s important to change some perceptions and expectations that we place on ourselves.
Create the Social hub
My final word on this topic is, as far as I am concerned, the most important. No matter what else is going on in the world, your home must be the social hub for your family. It has to be the place from which their values, and their skills to get through life successfully, are developed . Yes, school and sports friends and other external factors help to broaden their skills and can influence them, but don't ever underestimate the importance of the home. Its one of the things you can actually control and achieve as parent, is to make your home a strong social hub. Always keep your kids close, and never, ever, stop communicating with them, especially in the teenage years.
I know we all have our own family experiences , but I hope this has helped in some way towards making your life easier.
I will be sharing a lot more practical ideas for organizing and planning in my upcoming blogs, so please “stay tuned”. Look forward to talking to you again soon.
Hugs and smiles