Being a mom is a full time job. Even worse, it’s a full time job with no training, no days off, no vacation or sick days, and you can’t clock out at 5 pm. So how does one balance that with another full time job? It sounds like an impossible task. and it sure does feel like an impossible task, but you can do it. Balancing your work and your home life is a skill like any other: you’ll get better at it the more you practice. To get you started, follow these tips.
1. Let go of the guilt
This is the most important thing to do. Becoming a mom doesn’t mean that your whole previous life has to be replaced, it just means you added the role of “mom” to all the other roles you were fulfilling. You are not a bad mom because you spend time away from your child. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: your children will grow up with a positive role-model (you!) and you will be better prepared to face the responsibilities of motherhood if you feel empowered in other areas of your life. Besides, think about all the good you are doing to your family by earning your salary: you can probably afford things and opportunities for your kids that you wouldn’t be able otherwise.
2. Be smart about childcare
If you are spending time away from your kids, somebody has to be watching them. And you can’t just leave them with anyone who will take your money. That’s not safe or responsible, and it will not make your “working mom guilt” any better. Ask around for references and recommendations, think about the criteria you think is important to fulfill and start interviewing. Once you are reasonably sure about a nanny, set up a family playdate with them, so you can see them interact with your kids in a comfortable setting. You will feel much better knowing that your children are in good, capable hands too.
3. Work from home
If you have the chance to do it, start working from home at least a couple of days a week. Make sure you have a home office set up (you won’t be productive working from your bed) where you can work with no distractions. This way, you won’t waste time on commuting and you can set up your schedule to work with your children’s. Work your expected interruptions into your work routine. For example, if the kids are going to be home by lunch, plan to have a break then and eat together as a family.