‘So you were the bitch, again?’
‘How could you yell at your kid for the third time in a day even after promising yourself you won’t?’
‘No mother is as harsh as you are. Seriously you didn’t deserve the privilege of mothering such an adorable kid.’
This is my inner critique shouting at me every time I fail to remain calm at apparently innocent actions of my child. Do your critique is as harsh as mine?
This guilt of losing temper is common among working parents. And these lists of issues for which we feel guilty have many more entries. We fight against the guilt of not being with our children during their success and when they are feeling low, of not listening enough to their stories about their days, of not able to cook them quality meals every day, and of not investing more time in their personality building.
This guilt is un-ending and takes a toll at our performance at work. Along with work stress and poorly managed working schedule, this guilt can affect our emotional as well as physical health. The emotional turmoil associated with working at times my kid needs my attention often prompts me to rethink my priorities, making leaving my profession a very likely consequence of this situation. So, I often have to remind myself why I chose to take the role of working mom in the first place, and how would my decision to leave work will impact my relationship with my child.
Although I understand the importance of my career in my family’s life, I have to put in continuous efforts in keeping my spirits high, professionally and casually, to avoid burnout and to maintain productivity. Following tips help me in saving my sanity when I use them in addition to time-saving hacks like outsourcing unproductive and time-consuming chores and saying no more often.
Close the Door Behind You
We worry so much about balancing the two circles of our lives that we forget to live in the present. When we reach our office thinking how our child must be feeling at the daycare, would they fight off bullying they are currently facing, or how will we make it to their parent-teacher meeting this month? Our worries harm the productivity we could show at our workplace.
When we reach home, we worry about doing house chores, about caregiver’s comment regarding child’s misbehavior, and, as though the list was not full yet, about the last task at work we were unable to complete. All these concerns harm the quality of time we spend with our children. Anger takes hold of the situation, and attention turns into absent-mindedness.
Solution: When I noticed that my workload is harming my relationship with my son, I started keeping track of my thoughts. This allowed me to understand what is affecting my mood and I could manage them promptly before they get in the way me enjoying my present moment.
Accept Yourself as a Human Being
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of workload you have to deal with as a working mom. You need to attend your kids. You have social responsibilities. And you cannot miss out on meetings. Your career development programs are demanding your attention. You simply cannot minimize the requirements your partner have on your time. And you want a ‘me’ time, too.
How can you manage all these? How can anybody manage all these? I, really, cannot understand what do people mean when they say ‘make time’. I have tried and, I admit it, I failed miserably to make time. I wish someone could tell me.
Solution: You cannot make time. But you can use 100% of your time to get most important things worked out satisfactorily. I mean just satisfactorily, as in most cases perfectly is just not an option. Once you accept a satisfactory level of your performance at some of your roles, you will be able to spare time for those activities which nurture you. Spending two minutes with yourself, after stressful incidence, to accept and validate your feelings and satisfactory performance, will reduce the number of upcoming regretful events you are going to trigger at your home by 70% (at least).
Reconnect with Who You Were
It is easy for us to get too busy in balancing our professional and familial lives to forget why we decided to take up all these roles. We indulge in the act of appearing fulfilled and successful without remembering how we used to define success and fulfillment.
Yes, we can feel everything is going in the right direction. Sometimes we feel lost. But, hey! It’s part of the game. We are living life, and we cannot gain 100% from life. So, we are Okay.
Solution: We are not meant to be Okay. We are meant to be fulfilled.
Yes, we cannot achieve everything in life. But we can maximize the power we gain from 50%, 60% or 70% of the life we are privileged to live by knowing and remembering why we opted for this life? What have we gained from our efforts in life? Which of our beloved values have we lost? Why wouldn’t you trade your yesterday with your today?
This analysis will tell you how you want to appear in your kids’ books. Do you want to continue your true nature in your generations? Make time. But this created time will not appear until the appearance of next generations.
Thrive to Become Who You Wanted to Be
When I was younger, I wanted to be a leader. Then I grew up and engaged in many fulfilling trades, built family, and established my career. The dream didn’t go anywhere. But most of the time, I don’t pursue it. I just cannot pursue it most of the time. I can make a million excuses: time, money, talent, environment, etc. Then I grew up a bit more and understand that there is a single excuse I should actually be making; commitment. Do you think you are also killing your dreams most of the time?
Solution: Although you may not establish a daily routine to work towards your dreams, you can still acknowledge what they were and how did you wanted to accomplish them. You can inventory the real causes which are holding you back by taking first steps towards the fulfillment learning from mistakes. The only key to materializing our dreams is perseverance.
The sooner you start incorporating your dreams in your life; sooner your family will start owning it. Make your goals a meeting point for you and your family’s ideologies.
Seek Emotional Support
You are not alone in trying to achieve a balance in your life and failing. There are thousands of women like you. The only factor which is isolating you is your inability to seek support. The crushing workload we have to deal with as working moms keep us so engaged that we find it impossible to find time for those social gatherings which can recharge our super-human powers.
Solution: Prioritize meetings with those you trust and get encouragement from any duty that you deem secondary to your mother, employee, and wife roles. It may feel difficult at first, but we can cross activities such as cooking, office gatherings, and (even) workout activities from the over-spilling schedule.
What about You
Life as a working mom is not difficult. It’s exhausting. Whatever we do, we cannot reduce our workday any less than 24 hours minus few minutes. Even these minutes are spared only if we are vigilant and lucky. Our only option is to accept this situation as it is and look forward to a time when kids are more dependable and less demanding.
But till then, it’s all a quest. How do you cope with this quest? Are you satisfied? Or are you struggling? How can you improve your approach towards the time-consuming workload?