Coach Amanda Alexander gives some tips on how to make it through the week as a working mum.
You’re not going to avoid the inevitable tantrums from the kids, but, as a working mum, you can still prevent the flow of frustrated tears from your own tired eyes.
Follow these five tops to help you handle it all.
1. Remove all notion of guilt. Even in today’s society working mums can still experience the guilt associated with returning to work. The felling that you are doing your kids a disservice by not being a stay at home mum can add untold pressure in an already stressful lifestyle, especially if this is a personal choice not borne out of financial necessity. Slowly but surely people are beginning to realise that, if you have the desire to work and the need to keep hold of a part of your identity that is not intrinsically linked to your children, then the chances are that your kids are better off if you acknowledge that fact. In truth, doing the opposite of what you require to live a balanced life may actually be worse for your kids as you’ll always be looking longingly through your window at the career women leaving for work, whilst you are making playdoh at the kitchen counter.
2. Prioritise or, in other words, learn to say no. Due to the enormous multitasking ability required to be a working mum, their skills are highly sought. From the charitable committees to the school PTA, there are so many things that would have her time spread even more thinly. Be selfish, you are allowed to sit down for at least five minutes in a day, and regretfully decline the invitations.
3. Create boundaries for yourself. Attempt to keep work and home life distinct and separate. This is increasingly difficult with the advent of the smart phone and the large proportion of people opting to work from home. However, it’s often the spill of one into the other that creates stress; taking an important call from work during the kids’ bath time or trying to get to school sports day which overlaps a business meeting. Differentiate where you can and be fully present in the one that you are focused on in that moment.
4. Become friendly with the back of a closed door. When it all gets too much, step away from the situation calmly, walk into an empty room, shut the door behind you and breathe deeply. Just putting a little bit of distance between yourself and the scenario can help your coping ability enormously.
5. Remember to play hard. The work hard aspect comes so easily that sometimes the very thought of playing sounds exhausting. Rarely does a day or night out seem appealing on its advent, when the thought of a takeaway on the sofa is tempting you, but, once out, you’ll ask yourself why you don’t do it more often.
No-one ever said being a working mum would be easy, but many feel that they simply can’t complain about their chagrins because ultimately it is their choice to work. Having a network of other mums in the same situation will help you handle the load as unburdening has a very cathartic effect. Whinge, gripe, moan then get back out there to take on the world.
Amanda Alexander is mum to two fabulous boys and Founder and Director of Coaching Mums. Since 2003, Coaching Mums has helped thousands of working mums to swap a guilt-ridden, stress-driven vicious circle for virtuous circles of calm, confidence and fulfilment. Amanda will be leading a workshop at Workingmums LIVE in Manchester on 8th November.