How to balance work and parenting?
You are probably here, because you just can’t seem to figure out how those gorgeous influencer moms on Instagram are balancing their work/ home AND looking gorgeous on all those filter-less Instagram pics! Have you felt that 24 hours a day is just not enough? Do your colleagues refer to you as a Zombie? (We have all had those under eye bags which even the best concealers can’t seem to cover!)
It goes without saying that parenting takes up a lot of your time, effort and energy. It is in itself a very demanding job and consumes a lot of your time; It almost seems to complete even simple chores (or even taking a shower), while you are catering to every need of your baby. Couple this with a 9-5 office job and you would expect a chaos! Needless to say that a working mom would require extra efforts, to balance home, work and caring for her baby. It is only natural that working mothers, occasionally feel extremely guilty, for not being able to be around their children all the time - for leaving them in crushes/daycares or with a nanny until they are back from work. If you are going through such a struggle, this is for you! Read on!
You are not a bad mother!
Keep saying this to yourself! - You are not a bad mother. People may guilt trip you into believing this. People may urge you to quit your job and be there for your baby 24/7. You may feel your child is being deprived & he deserves more of your time. But relax! The very fact that you are juggling between work, chores and parenting is because you want to provide the best for your baby. Do not give in to the, ‘I am but a bad mother’ dilemma. Plan your day ensuring that your baby gets a decent share of your time so much so that the bonding between you both stay intact.
Sleeping is Key!
Priorotize your sleeping hours. The dirty dishes can wait! Sleep deprivation has been used as means of torture for many years! This is proof of how important sleep is! Make sure you plan your and your baby’s day such that you can get a good amount of continuous sleep. If you are a new mom, chances are that you are already going through a lot anxiety and stress. Having a good sleep pattern will help you de-stress. Once you are in bed, make sure you do not pick up your phone to browse through your social media, this could easily run into hours! If you need to set your alarm for the next day, do it before your head hits the pillow!
Choose the best day care/Nanny for your baby.
I’ve heard somebody say this - You wouldn’t dare to leave your wallet unattended at home when your maid is around, then how would you dare to leave your baby who is way more precious than your wallet with a maid for 8-9 hours. Well it makes a lot of sense. To make sure that your baby is safe with the Nanny or at the daycare, do a thorough research about the daycare or the Nanny before you decide to enroll your child. Ask mothers, who have already used the services of the particular daycare or Nanny, before you jump headfirst. Choose the place wisely and you will have a peaceful work-life balance.
Realistic working hours.
Once you are ready to head back to work, make it a point to relate to your employer that you may not be able to commit to late working hours. Make use of the law of the land (1 hour of feeding time for UAE moms), if there are any. Set realistic working goals and delegate work. Establish the fact that, while you are still committed to your job, you also need to ensure the wellbeing of your child. Once this has been done, its most likely your boss is going to set boundaries and not dump those files on your table.
Make your home baby friendly.
First and foremost, make sure that your home is baby friendly. Seal the sockets that are placed within the reach of the children. Do not leave any sharp objects around the home within his reach. You can easily buy baby safety products online, to make your home baby friendly. Banister shields, cabinet and drawer latches that prevent your baby from opening cabinets, oven lock, toilet seat lid lock, furniture safety brackets etc are some of the baby proofing products that you could opt for.
Be a REAL mom.
Do not get easily influenced by the glamorous mommy life style you see on social media platforms. Every mom has her own struggle, which is not seen on those IG feeds. It is OK if you occasionally miss a PTA, sports day, bed time story etc. 15 years down the lane, your child is not going to remember those occasional miss outs! Embrace the power of “NO”. This will positively influence your child and will teach them to set boundaries and realistic goals for themselves.
No shame in asking for help.
Always have a back up; which will help you during emergencies or when you are unable to drop of your baby at the day care or your nanny is unavailable. Make plans with moms who have kids of similar age to come over for play dates; so you can spend some quality time with your spouse. Your child will enjoy the extra company and you can take a break to rejuvenate & rekindle those special moments with your spouse. Make yourself available to watch over your friends’ kids as well.
Having a peaceful morning will give you a good mental space and is a great way to start your day. Plan ahead for your morning routine. Have your and your childrens’ clothes picked out and ironed. Pack your lunch, kids’ lunchbox, their school bags, the diaper bag , your work bag and every other bag that needs to be packed! Pack snack for your little ones. It best to have a station to leave your bags (preferably by the door, near the keys); so you can grab them on your way out in the morning. Decide what you will have for breakfast and inform fussy eaters well in advance so as to avoid tantrums during breakfast.
Make sure to spend some time at the breakfast table enjoying a light moment with your family. These are the moments you will cherish and remember!
Limit Screen Time.
When it comes to limited screen time, it is crucial that you lead by example. Make sure you do not indulge in “Mail checking/Social Media Updates” etc during your allocated family time. A small browsing indulgence could easily drift into hours; wasted precious time, which could have been utilized to bond with your little one or get them school ready for next day. Reduce TV watching to once or twice a week to maximize time with your partner during the evenings. When with your child, avoid multitasking, and give them your undivided attention. Avoid casual Internet surfing at work place that will make you less productive. Focus on your tasks at work so that you won’t have to bring back work to your home.
Always set achievable Goals.
Reduce the length of your “To Do List”. Strike out the tasks which can wait and focus on the tasks which needs your immediate attention. You have already achieved a super hero task of giving birth to a human; the “to do” list can take a backseat for now! Tasks such as segregating your baby’s clothes - can wait. Make your daily goals realistic enough to complete.
Set a routine.
If you decide to leave your baby with a Nanny, it is always a great idea to set a routine for your baby to make it easy for her. This could make it less frustrating for your Nanny. When you are at home, make sure that you set a pattern for your baby - from the time he wakes up to having breakfast and taking an afternoon nap. Pretty sure that your baby will also would find it easy and convenient to follow this routine and feel settled even when you are not around. This will also benefit you during your weekends, when you can get some beauty sleep or finish off the chores that you’ve been procrastinating for the entire week.
Prepare a Family Calendar.
Know your family's priorities. Prepare a fun colorful calendar marking the dates you shouldn’t miss. It could include dates when bills are due, birthdays, school and family events, grocery shopping and anything else you wouldn’t want to miss. Prepare a chore chart for the kids, and reward them with stars on chore completion and treat them to an outing or an ice cream at the end of the month to keep them motivated. If you have a stay at home nanny, make sure she is well aware of the calendar and mark her duties on it as well. This helps to avoid any unwanted surprises and keeps you and your family organized. An organized family will always have a clean and neat environment.
Stop taking responsibility for other’s works. Set tasks for your children, spouse, home help & colleagues. Expect them to complete their assigned task and stop overlooking those tasks. “Never mind, I’ll do it myself”? – Remove this phrase from your life… and stop owning other people’s stuff. You will be shocked to see how much time this is going to save you! This will also help your little ones to grow into responsible adults.
Communicate with your employer.
There is no shame in asking for what you want or what you deserve. If your work does not require you to be at office from 9 -5 and the same results can be achieved by working from home, then go ahead and muster up the courage to speak to your employer and work out plan that will allow you to work from home and produce the same results. We often do not ask for fear of being judged or fear of rejection. You will be surprised to know that most often employers are sensitive to new mothers are may agree to your request to work from home. You will never know until you ask! However, ensure to be sensitive to the employer’s concerns and present your request not as simply your own need; but as boost to your productivity as well (“Working at home one day a week, and not having to worry about the commute, will help me be more creative and productive.”)
Parenting is Team Work.
Last but not the least - take up responsibilities equally. It is only natural that you may feel completely exhausted & drained out at the end of the day & you may not have the energy to spend quality time with your child. But know that parents have equal responsibility over the child. You both are a team and parenting could be a cakewalk if you take up responsibilities equally and raise the child together as a team!
Relax and Enjoy the Ride.
Stressed-out people are quite boring and do not achieve much! Stress can reduce your productivity a great deal! You need to device a way to relax yourself & avoid burnout at home and at work. Make time for vacations, long weekends, and family fun to keep you grounded and joyful. Being mind-full allows you to focus on the task at hand. Practices like yoga or meditation can help you focus, and focus drives productivity. Every mother has a different journey; love to embrace and enjoy yours’ and follow a method that is in tune with your soul & heart. Remember… there could never be a better mother for your child other than you. So be the best version of yourself!