Iron clothes, clean the house, make breakfast, clean up breakfast, make dinner, console, read stories, cuddle, discipline, catch a couple of zzz’s, wake up….and repeat. If this routine sounds even vaguely familiar to you then you are, without a doubt, a parent!! It’s no secret that parenting takes much time, patience, energy, a small sliver of insanity when all of this is successfully executed. It is very common to hear in society today the difficulty that stay at home mothers face. And rightfully so!!! Unfortunately, that isn’t a topic that I know anything about. I myself, am a working mother. Welcome to a day in my life!
Being a mother of an active, bouncy, 3 year old bundle of curls and adrenaline is no easy feat. I’m often asked how I juggle this, and manage to work as well. Let me be the first to point out that I am fortunate enough to not share this task alone. My husband is the rock of my family, and most often the more reasonable and patient between the two of us. Nevertheless, a mothers job is never done!
While 3 years of motherhood has certainly not made me an expert in the field, I’m convinced that I’ve learned the overall goal of parenting, regardless of the child’s age: anticipation! That’s right! You must anticipate each and every mood swing, hurdle, traffic jam, potty break, cranky overdue for a nap time, EVER! And then IMMEDIATLEY after anticipating what is to come, you must devise a plan to combat the task at hand with excellent military percison. And then, and only then, when you have realized that both your knack for anticipation and expertly thought out plan have both failed must you reveret to plan B: Wing it!!. That’s right, wing it!
I apologize in advance if you began reading this thinking I was going to share some kind of expert secrets when it comes to juggling being a working mother. In fact, if you know of any, please feel free to share them in the comments below! I could certainly use a few myself! One thing I have learned however, is that organizing your day and getting started early takes you along ways in alleviating your stress.
For instance, my 3 year old is at the stage where she wants to do EVERYTHING by herself. Including dressing herself and tying her shoes. This usually results in inside out underwear, socks with the soles on the top rather than the bottom, and shirts buttoned crookedly. One thing I’ve learned as a parent however…that’s okay! I simply wake my daughter up 30 minutes earlier each morning, and lay her clothes out on her bed. I let her know that I will be back in 15 minutes to check on her, and if she isn’t dressed by then then I’ll have to help. I find that she doesn’t mind if I fix her clothes AFTER she’s made a disaster of them, so long as she has the opportunity to do it herself in the first place.
While this is only one example of picking your battles, if you are a parent, you know there are many throughout each day. You must know your child’s personality, and then set the boundaries and rules of your household. I let me daughter know regularly that with more privledges, come more responsibilities.
One of the pet peeves that I face as a working mother is criticism over leaving my child in childcare. I face even more criticism for this, due to the fact that I work from home. People often have the nerve to comment “why does your daughter go to daycare, when you are home anyways”. The simple answer…. neither one of us want’s to be miserable all day! Just like other working moms head into the office or work place each day, I do as well. I often spend an entire 8 hours in my home office breaking only to take a quick restroom break. It is not at all the lily’s and roses one would think. I often work right through lunch, and my daily schedule is jam packed with conference calls (many of which are recorded) and none of which would be appropriate to have a small child speaking in the background. Rather than lock my child in her room all day with the television forcing her to be quiet while mommy works, I opt to forking up the extra dough to send her to an environment where she is able to interact with other children and have the attention and social environment she deserves. The upside is that by working my butt of throughout the day, I am able to finish my work quicker and pick up my child earlier! This allows us to spend much-needed one on one time together! She even helps me to make dinner each and every night. All in all, I couldn’t ask for a better set up. Rather than being drained and annoyed at the end of my work day, I feel refreshed, clear headed, and am able to put work aside and give my child my undivided attention. A win win situation for the both of us. The extra income I bring in also allows my child to participate in many extra curricular activities, which she greatly enjoys!
One might wonder where does my husband fit into all of this? Unlike me, my Husband has a predefined work schedule. Because he must commute to work each day, I make a point of ensuring he’s got a lunch to work, and dinner on the table when he gets home. One might say he has the best of both worlds with a Wife who works, but still provides a few of the perks of a stay at home wife as well. Luckily for me, he doesn’t take this for granted. We share in the duties of up keeping the household, and my Husband is, admittedly, much more organized than I am! He is a stickler for schedules and routine, which my daughter thrives off of. We sit at the dinner table and eat dinner as a family almost every night, using this time to give my daughter the spotlight to talk about her day. We stick to a solid bedtime routine, and she is in bed by 8:00pm each night. We take the reminder of time before we settle in for the night to bond, talk about our days, and enjoy each other.
All in all, it works for us. The most important thing is finding what works for you.
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