Is ‘work-life balance’ too good to be true for working mothers? Such is the everyday struggle of working mums around the world who are striving to find the right balance between their career and family responsibilities. Surprisingly, a 2015 study by Harvard Business School shows that working mothers have less reason to worry about their children’s future.
Findings from the study which was conducted in 24 countries revealed that working mothers influence their children in more positive ways than one. Research suggests that daughters of working mothers are more likely to be professionally successful, while sons are more likely to contribute at home, sharing household and family responsibilities.
Do you still need to feel guilty about not being around? Absolutely not! It’s about time working mums hit pause, take a deep breath and feel good about themselves. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some tips to help you manage your time better, between your busy work schedule and family life.
Have realistic parenting goals
Seeking a perfect balance between your work and family life is definitely an unrealistic goal to achieve. You must understand that choosing both career and motherhood means some compromises have to be made along the way. Chances are you will miss out on concerts, classes or other precious moments of your child’s life. Instead of feeling guilty about your work keeping you away from your children, allow yourself to enjoy the time spent with them.
If you are contributing towards the family income, you are sharing responsibilities with your spouse. Needless to say you’re also sharing childcare responsibilities with him. So make sure you both have your parenting duties chalked out, take turns to drop your kids off to sports practice or help them with homework.
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Optimize your time at work
One of the priorities of working mums is to be at their productive best during work hours. Many find it difficult to focus on work with kids around at home. Optimizing their time spent at their workplace means not having pending workload to carry home or working weekends.
For example, you could pay a quick visit to the grocery store next to your office during lunch break. This will save you some precious time, and you can head back home straight after work. If your work timings are flexible, attend the parent-teacher meet and cover up for the lost hour on another work day.
Spend more quality time at home
While most of your day is spent at work, the rest is spent running around the house getting things done. Most mums are so overwhelmed with household chores and their kid’s routines, meals, schoolwork, etc. that they hardly spend any quality time with their children. Talking to your children and emotionally engaging with them on a one-on-one basis is very important. That’s when you become their friend.
For example, cooking can be a fun activity for the whole family. You could allocate one weekday as a cook-your-own-meal day, for an interactive family experience. Or you could ask children to wash vegetables or lay out the table, while everyone shares how their day went.
Take time off for yourself
Managing a career and family can be quite demanding. Not only are you working on achieving your career goals, but also towards fulfilling various responsibilities such as contributing towards your children’s education fund, loan installments, household bills etc. All of this can become too overwhelming, which is why you need some time off just for yourself. Whether it’s a good night’s sleep, a ladies night out or a day of relaxation at the spa every month, pamper yourself every once in a while. A happy and relaxed you will have a positive influence on your children as well.
Get external help if you need
If you have a hectic schedule and find yourself trying too hard to be a super mom, consider getting some external help. Understand that you cannot be at multiple places at one time, which is why some help could be of great use. Whether it’s a nanny, a part-time or full-time domestic helper, don’t shy away from seeking help if you need it. For those who can afford it, the UAE is not short of options and there are hundreds of agencies to help you hire domestic help as per your needs.
Remember that all moms are super moms and yes can have it all! So ditch the guilt trip and make the most of your time with your family. You shouldn’t ever have to choose between your career and family life.