for mothers

Strategies for Balancing a Career and a Family

We've come a long way in redefining the common household. It's uncommon now for both parents to have full-time jobs, but that can put a strain on the children. Who's watching them during the day? Who makes sure they get to their doctor's appointments and picks them up from their friend's house? And most importantly, how do the kids feel about their parents, knowing that they have to spend long hours at the office?

This is a common issue around the world, and more of an issue for mothers than fathers. While some cultures usually have a practice of leaving children with their grandparents while their parents work, there are other solutions like asking for help from friends of the family, hiring a nanny, or putting the kids in daycare or afterschool programs. But there still remains the pressure to be a mother and a woman with a career at the same time.

Fortunately, there are some strategies to make this lifestyle viable.

Compromises: While it might be hard to achieve, both your employer and your family should understand that you want to find a good balance between your work and your home life. That means making some compromises, like defining your hours at work and setting up guidelines for your family. It's important to show both sides that you're fully committed to bringing out the best of both worlds and that one side of your life will nourish the other.

Texting and Video Chat: Just because you have to work a lot doesn't mean you can't still be connected to your kids. Since mobile phones and tablets are so common now, it's virtually impossible not to stay in touch with your kids during the day, whether it's through a phone call, a text message, an email, or a video chat. Not only will it keep your technology skills sharp at work, but you'll be interacting with your kids on the same level as their friends.

Car Ride Conversations: As precious as your time is, you might not always feel like you have a moment to spare with your kids. But if you're responsible for driving them to school in the morning or picking them up from soccer practice, then take the opportunity to talk to them while they're in the car. Talk to them about their day at school, their friends, their playtime, and all their likes and dislikes. You'd be surprised what you learn and express during a short commute.

Friends and Family: A family doesn't just start and end with one or two parents and their kids. It also includes aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and very old friends. Every family needs a support network, especially when there are children to look after. Not only is it good for parents to have someone who can help out while they're at work, but it shows kids that they have love and support even when their parents aren't around.

Home-cooked Meals: One of the most satisfying activities that a family can share is a nice meal at the dinner table--preferably one that isn't just take-out or fast food. But it's not always fair to be under pressure to cook dinner every night after a long day at the office. You could delegate your spouse to help, but it's more than likely that they're under the same workday pressure as you. In this case, you could always turn to a relative or friend to cook meals for your family. There are also companies who provide chefs and home-cooked meals at a reasonable price.

Help with Homework: When they go to school, every child is expected to learn and develop their own study habits. But that doesn't always mean they won't need help. It might seem like a small thing, but taking a few minutes to sit down with your kids and help them on a homework question or a school project can be a great bonding activity. Even if you can only get to it after dinner, it's worth it to show your child how important their education is. You'll also be bringing that same focus and practical thinking that you use at work to your home life, putting those skills to good use when you're not earning an income.


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