There is no logic to it. When you become a mum, you start feeling “The Guilt” and yes it has capitals. When a mum goes back to work, the guilt can be compounded and sometimes overwhelming.
It is in our DNA to feel guilty, and sometimes guilt keeps us human; according to Psychology Today, “We are a social species, and an emotion (guilt) that causes us to recognise our actions as hurting others is beneficial.” But what mothers need to recognise is that when they are working, most of the time they are not hurting or harming their children.
While guilt is in our DNA, there might also be remnants in our DNA of mothers staying behind to look after the offspring while the men go out to hunt and gather. But the way we look at it, women have decided to become lionesses – the hunters of the pride. Despite what most people think, the male lion is not lazy rather his prime purpose becomes to protect the land and other lions. His spectacular mane is, in fact, a hindrance when it comes to camouflage needed for the hunt and as a result, the lioness takes over. Therefore, just like the male and the female lion work together for the best of the pride; working mothers and fathers are also working together for the better.
Yes, working mums, you are lionesses and you should feel proud of yourselves. With so much on your plate, it’s only fair that you create a work-life balance. It takes a lot to find a balance that works for you and sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is to admit that things are out of balance – sometimes you end up giving more time to your work, while other times it is tipped towards work.
A CEO of a multinational company and a proud mother once said and we quote, “It is impossible to have a perfect work-life balance. Sometimes my work suffers and sometimes my children and family suffer. It’s just the way it is and I was a lot better when I just accepted that.”
According to Dubai-based psychologist Linda Sakr, the quality of the time spent with your kids makes all the difference to them, “What most mums, and in fact dads as well, don’t realise is that their kids want their undivided attention when they are with them; being in body with their kids but otherwise distracted and occupied with their gadgets does not count by the kids as time spent with them. Ironically, if I am sitting with my kids (three of them) reading a book, they don’t mind at all. They do their own thing or bring a book of their own to read with me. If I am on my phone, the nagging and the tantrums don’t stop!”
We spoke to some working mumz and came up with a few tips to help create a work-life balance:
- Prioritising is key: Today you have a work deadline; it’s okay to not pick up the kids from school and get home a little late. Tomorrow your child has an important football game/performance/swim gala – you leave work early to watch them. If you miss something that’s not on your list of priorities, don’t feel guilty about it.
- Don’t overpromise: When it comes to your kids, promising them that you will do something with them or taking them somewhere will put unnecessary pressure on you, especially since sometimes things get out of hand and you can’t fulfil your promise. This will just make the guilt worse. It’s always better to manage expectations than to disappoint your kids or loved ones. Saying ‘I will try my best‘ is a lot better than saying ‘I promise‘.
- Don’t be distracted when you are with your kids: Put your phone, computer, iPad and any other gadget you can think of away when you are with your kids. When they have your undivided attention and your presence, mental and emotional as well as physical, you both will get what you need out of that time together.
- Explain your work to your kids: When you do need to work from home, don’t shut them out. Have them bring their own work like colouring or puzzles and let them sit with you; it makes them feel included and a part of your work life.
- Be organised: Putting way too much on your plate for a single day is just setting yourself up for failure. Be realistic when organising your day and tasks at hand. Take into account drive time – unless you have a helicopter at your disposal!
- Be kind to yourself: Don’t forget to factor in some time for yourself, whether it’s meditation, yoga, exercise or staring blankly at the wall, whatever you need to do to keep yourself calm is necessary. Forgive yourself for mistakes, manage your own expectations and ask for help when you need it.
To learn more about ways to keep calm head to our Mumz section. Join in the conversation by dropping your own tips below and help other mumz out by liking and sharing this post.
Good day Mumz!