When I was little, and grown ups asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to draw a picture of me sitting at a desk. When I was asked what job that was supposed to be, I always said that when I grew up, I was going to be “in charge”.
I guess that was a little foreshadowing that I just wasn’t made to be a stay-at-home mom. While my own mother was able to stay at home with my sisters and I until we were in our high school years, I guess I never even questioned or believed that I wouldn’t ever not have a job. I went to college right after high-school and in addition to this blog have a full time job in management and marketing.
When I married and my step-daughter and son came along, staying home wasn’t an option either. My income is the primary one in our household, and we were fortunate that my husband was actually able to stay home with my son the first couple years. The kids are now off to preschool and elementary, and do go to daycare programs in the summer as well. I even worked some from home on my maternity leave to help my office out on my absence.
Even though I work, I guess I’ve never felt my kids have suffered. Our kids are happy and well adjusted. My four year old little man absolutely LOVES his pre-K daycare program and begs to go daily. He’s advanced for his age and loves going to “school” to play with his friends and to learn.
Working a full time job and being away from your kids can be tough. I know I miss out on lots of time with my kids and special moments, I feel bad I’m not one of the moms that can stay home and have fabulous educational homeschool curriculms and nutrious menus planned every day. Our schedule is more chaotic, and we sometimes have to improvise with the family time we do have.
However just because you do work, doesn’t make you a bad mom, and doesn’t mean you can’t have great family time either. Here are a few tips for beating working mom’s guilt.
You may plan playdates for your kids, but do you plan them for your family? With work, sports, school and activities, sometimes you’ve even got to schedule in just time for fun. Look at the calendar and plan regular playdates for your family to spend time together. It can be an outing to a waterpark or amusement park, or even something more on a budget like a trip to the beach or a picnic at the park. Make sure you’re setting aside time for each other.
Let the Little Things Slide in Favor of Family Time
There is always laundry to do, and dishes to be done, but more often than not they can wait in favor of some one-on-one or family time. There’s the old saying that good moms have sticky floors, and dirty dishes but happy kids. You will have to do the housework eventually or that paperwork you brought home from the office, but you’ll never regret reading one more story before bed, taking a little extra cuddle time or dropping everything to go run through the sprinkler with your kids. Besides what do you think they’re going to remember about you 10 or 20 years from now? Your housekeeping skills or how much fun you had?
Find Time Savers
When you’ve only got so much time together, every extra moment counts and it can be worth it to invest in things that can save some extra time for your family. Crockpots or slow cookers are a must for easy meals on busy nights. We bought extra car seats for the kids to have in each vehicle to save the time from switching them back and forth, and also pack duplicate bags for daycare that way it doesn’t matter who picks up and who drops off.
Just Because You Work, Doesn’t Mean There Aren’t Rules
Some of my fellow working moms feel guilty about being gone days, so they tend to let rules and children’s behavior slide at home. While this is OK from time to time, just because you might feel bad for having a day job, doesn’t mean you should let your child turn into a deliquent either. Yes, you want to have as much family fun as you can with the time you do have together as a family, but still set rules and behavior expections as well. Our kids are young, so they don’t yet have thing like curfews, grade expectations, etc., but we do require them to behave, and to be polite, especially in public. Talking back, especially to grown ups is not allowed. Period. This does unfortunately mean that occasionally that we spend our precious family time doing time outs, but it’s important to remember to be your child’s parent, and not their friend. They have plenty of those already.
Call in Reinforcements
Got an extra crazy schedule? It is OK to call in reinforcements. There is nothing wrong with asking Grandma to help out for a few hours if needed, or hiring a cleaning service to help with chores to give you more time to spend with the kids or your spouse. It’s not possible to do it all, all of the time and it is OK to ask for help.
What are your tips for working full time and being a mom?