In Part 1 of my post, I shared our typical day of being a mom and working full-time. Now, I wanted to take some time to go into the reasons why I work, my tips for balancing life and work, and my advice for dealing with that “mommy guilt” that we all struggle with one way or another.
Top reasons I feel that working full time works best for my family:
- Money – Life is expensive. Period. No explanation needed.
- Schooling- I went to college then graduate school to pursue a degree where I could make a difference in this world and I want to use it.
- Continuing Education and Intellectual Stimulation – I enjoy learning new techniques and procedures that will better my patients and me, as a Speech Pathologist. I thrive on new information.
- Peer Relationships – I have a great work family. The majority of my co-workers are woman and many of them are (just a little) older than I. That being said, I use their experiences to learn how to be a better parent, woman, and person in this world.
- Daily Rewards – Even on my worst days, I can find at least one thing (but usually many) that I can reflect upon as a rewarding experience. I take these experiences home and use them to better my children.
- Teachable Moments – Last year, I started teaching my own children about the differences between people in this world. I frequently show my kids pictures of children with special needs and teach them that God made each person to be different. After I teach them in terms they understand at 5 and 3 years old, we say a prayer that others accept these differences and that each person fulfills their own destiny and finds as much happiness as they can handle.
- Structure yet Variety – I need structure and I would not be productive as a SAHM. Even though I am with kids ALL day, I enjoy the revolving door of kids. At work, I get new “scenery” and personalities to keep my mind working every 45 mins.
Tips for balancing the pendulum between work and family:
- Scheduling is KEY. Get a dry erase board, large calendar, sync your phone calendar with spouse or whatever method works for you and write EVERYTHING on it. If it’s visible then it will more likely be committed to memory. I already have stuff on my phone for Jan and Feb 2014. Remember there is a word “NO” in the dictionary and it can be used when feeling overscheduled.
- Delegate responsibilities and communicate. You are the Mom, not the ONLY person who cooks, cleans, drives carpool, signs papers, organizes the schedule, and does homework. Sometimes living the saying “If you want it done right, do it yourself” doesn’t make things easier. Communication between your spouse/support system and letting go comes into play here. It’s important to trust others to do the things that we feel only moms can best. It’s just as important to communicate if things aren’t getting done and when you need help.
- Cook in advance and in bulk. Sundays are great days to cook big pots of spaghetti sauce, gumbos, and red beans. I am not big on leftovers in the same week, but the freezer is definitely my friend. We eat the cooked meal on Monday or Tuesday, but always make enough to freeze for the following weeks. My husband even wraps individual servings of meatloaf in wax paper so it’s easy to pull out a couple of servings at a time.
- Make the most of family time. I am very big on family meals. No TV, No phone, No distractions. This time is to discuss the day’s happenings and what’s on schedule for the next day. Talk in the car. Talk at bath time. Snuggle in bed for a few minutes. Pray together.
- My biggest advice, as well as those polled on Facebook, to other moms (cue drum roll): Pick your battles and stop trying to be PERFECT. Yes, it’s easier said than done; but it’s true. Everything will get done at some point…laundry, messy floors, etc. Work was crazy and you just can’t handle cleaning up after dinner… Pick up fast food. Forgot a water bottle… a sip of coke isn’t gonna kill your kid. God forbid you take 5 minutes extra to go to the bathroom and now your son is wearing rain boots on a beautiful sunny day. JUST LET IT GO!!!!!!!
Advice for moms who feel guilty for choosing or having to work:
- Best for YOUR family – Whether you CHOOSE to work or HAVE to because of financial situations or BOTH, you are providing for your family. Always remember that!!
- Don’t let the guilty wear you down – You will feel guilty; it’s a fact. You will miss things; it’s inevitable. All moms miss something at some point. Don’t let the guilt interfere with the time you do spend with your family. The dishes will get done, the laundry will get done, try your best to be as present as possible when you are with your kids.
- Be Positive – Teach your kids about your job and make working a positive experience. You don’t want your child to resent the fact that you have to work (even if you do). Sure we all have lazy days that we want to stay in bed (cue Bruno Mars “The Lazy Song), but life’s responsibilities take over at some point.
- Combine the two – If at all possible create experiences where your children can get involved with your job.
- Mental Health Days – Take days off from time to time to play hookie with your kids or have a “ME” day. If you are feeling burnt out, you are no good to anyone.
- It gets easier – After polling friends on Facebook, I’ve heard the Mommy Guilt begins to subside as your kids get older. So there is an upside to our littles growing up.
Great post and good tips. I work and balance two kids so I get it. I chose to work and sometimes feel bad about it but I also feel like I’m setting a good example for both my girls.
Thanks Megan. Positive examples (no matter what work role) are so important for our children. Would love to collaborate with you sometime.
These are fabulous tips Allison! I work full time outside of the home and, although I’ve felt the mom guilt many times, I know I am a better mom because of it! I honestly do not believe I was meant to be a stay at home mom. I love how you included the suggestion of taking a mental health day for yourself or for you to spend extra time with your little ones! This is so important!! Great post!!
Thanks Elizabeth! I have guilt on both ends when taking a mental health day. I hate to do that to my work kiddos but then realize that I am no good to either family if I am exhausted.
Fantastic! These are great tips. Believe it or not, I get in moods where I resent staying home sometimes. I think your advice about being positive because it’s not worth letting my kids see me feel that way is going to help me in that area! Loved both posts!
Thanks Beth- I think we always wonder “what’s on the other
side of the fence?” but just try to stay positive.
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