I'm a Working Mom: 3 Ways to Not Miss Out with the Kiddos
Some moms work because they want to, others work because they have to, and I’m a little of both. No matter why we work, we’ve all gotten pretty good at juggling –and, in those times that we’re upset, it’s usually because we’re not juggling as masterfully as we’d like. For me, failed juggling (both real and perceived) is often the reason for my frustrations. One of the hardest things for me to juggle as a working mom are all the outings, activities, and social interactions I want and need for both myself and my son that I am not able to attend because I have to work.I feel sad for myself that I’m not able to see my friends who are SAHMs or even those who work part-time. I feel sad for my son that he’s missing out on play dates at the park and splash pad with friends. And I feel sad that we are both missing out on Mom & Me classes and lessons. I have an inherent need to excel at everything I do (hence, why I can’t leave my career behind), so it eats away at me when I feel like some area of my life is slipping (there’s always at least one, unfortunately). My house is a mess, but I survived a week-long work conference. My hygiene is sub-par lately, but I successfully hosted out-of-town family in between work and family life. My husband is going to get us take-out for the fourth time this week, but I finally finished the scrapbook of Baby’s First Year (for my almost 2 year old). As you can see, it’s a lot of trade-offs and, like I said, the trade-off that leaves me out of most get-togethers and outings is one of the most difficult for me. I’m not an expert at making it work and I certainly haven’t gotten to the point where it never bothers me, but here are a couple things I’ve learned to do to lessen the sting a little bit:
Spend time with other mom-friends from work (outside of work).The people you work with typically have a schedule similar to yours, so it’s much easier to coordinate a play-date. Granted, you both have the same woes about hustling home after work to finish everything on your to-do list, but it’s likely that you also share the same sentiments about missing out on fun activities with your kids. Plan an afternoon or evening once or twice each month that you all can get together. Whether it’s for a multi-family BBQ or a late-in-the-day park date, it’s a great way to get some non-work socializing in while being sure to give your child much-needed time interacting with other kids.
Throw the to-do list out the window every once in a while and say “yes” even though it’s going to be hard to swing it.Since many of us are away from home a majority of the day, we spend most of our time off work getting up to speed on everything that needs to be done around the house. I’ve been knee deep in cleaning supplies and right in the middle of finishing a research paper when I’ve gotten an invite to join a play-date with some friends. It would’ve been much easier to be a victim of working-mom circumstances and explain that I had too much to get done to be able to go, but instead, I found a good place to stop and packed us up in the car. We find time for the things we prioritize and it’s not very often that I allow myself to put fun and socializing at the top of my list, but I never regret it when I do.
Play the role of party planner.This one is pretty far out of my comfort zone, but always reaps good rewards. Plan things for the times you know you can make it instead of always feeling bad about missing out on the things other people plan. Make a plan for an evening you have off or a day after work and send out a text to see if anyone can join you. Even if everyone bails – weekends and evenings can be hard for some families- stick to your plan and you will have something to look forward to doing with just your little family.
Being a working mom can be difficult sometimes. We all feel the pressure! But you need to make fun a priority as well. Recharge your batteries, have some laid-back grown up talk where you can be free and easy, and remember: you are doing an amazing job.