Being a professional mum myself, I share the sentiments of combining work, motherhood, and marriage by other working mothers. It can be overwhelming sometimes, especially when you have to carry out all the household duties in addition to your work. Sometimes some mothers ask ‘is it possible to raise these kids and work at the same time?
This is a difficult question to answer, however, the truth is nothing can be achieved unless with determination and hard work. Below are some worries and how to manage them as a professional working mother.
• UPKEEP OF THE CHILDREN
The challenge here for most mothers is, who takes care of the children when they are not around. Veronica (a mum of two and an engineer by profession) explains ‘if my kids are on vacation, I leave them in the care of a nanny. I make regular phone calls during the day to ensure everything is under control. It is can be a bit uncomfortable when I am not with them, but thank God for nannies’. Depending on the type of work you do, you may have to leave home early and return late. Who takes up the role of the mother in your absence? This is a complex question to answer. Sometimes you may feel guilty when you are not available to take the kids or pick them up from school, or give them a shower and a good night kiss for instance. Here are some available options you may consider;
1. Get help when you can, involve family members or friends when possible. You can engage professional nannies if you can afford.
2. Never go through a day without seeing your children if possible.
3. Appreciate the effort of your spouse anytime he helps with the kids in your absence. It encourages them to do so more often. It is a sign that you approve and appreciate their help.
4. Do your best to communicate with your children about your work and explain to them why you are not with them sometimes. (This should be done when your kids can understand what is being communicated).
5. Spend quality and memorable times with them whenever you get the chance. Read my article on ‘Times Fly Quickly Make Lasting Memories With Kids‘. Do the simple activities like going for shopping, eating out and doing fun stuff with them like taking selfies or playing football. Your kids would simply love to be around you, though they may miss you sometimes. They would always remember that whenever it is possible mum will always be there for us.
• CARING FOR YOUR SPOUSE
Arguably, it was much easier when it was just the two of you until the kids started arriving. The tasks of taking care of yourself, your partner and the kids can be a little overwhelming sometimes. Combining these with other household responsibilities and work can be a daunting, especially when it is your first time of having a little one. Tracey (a nurse and a mum of two) had this to say ‘ I feel very uneasy whenever I am not able to prepare him dinner. I always apologise to him anytime that happens and I do have a secret treat for him; I get a sense of relief for not being around after the treat.‘ You may have to work out some treat for your spouse yourself if it may compensate for your absence. Below are some workable approaches you may use:
1. Always communicate with your spouse whenever you are not available to perform a responsibility. Do not create unnecessary surprises that can create conflicts or disagreements in the future. Try not to assume that he should know you are not available at certain times, it is always best to communicate even when he is aware.
2. Try and spend quality time together as a couple whenever you get the chance. This is important as it gives you two the chance to catch up on some lost times.
3.Take the kids to grandparents or get a nanny if the need be. It helps reduces stress sometimes.
4. Pack lunch for your spouse when he is going to work for instance.
5. Try and pull some occasional surprises like coming home early whenever you can.
• HANDLING HOUSE CHORES
Most mothers would like to have a beautiful home with a cosy lounge to return to after a hard day’s work, but you may or may not get this all the time. The truth is, with kids around, house chores automatically increase. A working mother would have to perform their duties at home after a long and hard day at work. Realistically combining house chores and professional work can be a difficult task, but someone has to do them. Angela (a wife, a mum of two and a marketing manager by profession) ‘I get scared when Saturday is approaching; I literally work through the entire day. Sometimes I feel more tired than the normal working days’.
Rochelle (a wife, a mum of three and a banker by profession) ‘I love Fridays but I am a bit overwhelmed with house chores over the weekend. I have to make sure my house is spot on before I can rest’. I guess these are familiar sentiments most working mums experience. You have to take it easy on yourself and work through your weekends. Here are some options you can consider; 1. You can plan your house chores in such a way that certain tasks can be done within the week so that you do not get overwhelmed during the weekends.
2. Get help from family or friends. You can also employ a weekend house keeper to assist you if you can afford.
3. The truth is you cannot do it alone so take it easy on yourself and work at a pace that would prevent you from stressing up.
4. Get the kids to participate in house chores when the can do so. Peggy ( a mum of two and a nurse by profession) had this to say ‘ I get my kids to pack all their toys after playing and they assist me to clean their rooms, it may not be spot but every little effort helps sometimes’.
• WHO TAKES CARE OF ME
Most professional or working mothers I speak to including myself, do have the feeling of who really cares about them. It is a natural feeling you get sometimes, especially when you are tired or stressed. You can consider the below suggestions;
1. Take time to rest whenever you get the chance. Keisha ( a mum of three and an Accountant by profession) said this ‘I love it when I get to relax and do my other passion of reading and writing. It helps me to cope with all the pressures that come with motherhood and working at the same time‘.
2. Communicate to your spouse anytime you are in need of something. Do not make assumptions because you are better of saying what you want and be given than to keep silent and be deprived of a necessity.
3. Do not refuse treats from your spouse. Avail yourself whenever you are offered to be taken out for a dinner. Do not give excuses for instance ‘I cannot make it because of the kids’. Try and get help so that you can have sometime with your spouse. It makes you feel being taken care of. Appreciate your partner from time to time for His help so that he would be encouraged to do more
4. Learn to pamper yourself whenever you can. For instance fixing your hair or getting a massage or pedicure and manicure.
No one disputes the fact that, God Has endowed women with the capabilities to combine and manage different tasks at the same time. However, with the pressures that come with marriage, motherhood and professional work; you would have to put certain measures in place so that you do not get over stressed. Remember always to take care of yourself, make time for your spouse and kids by spending quality time together as a family.
It is your home so clean it when you can and make time for the kids whenever you can.
The truth is, you married your spouse first, before the kids arrived and so do not preoccupy yourself with them and work to neglect him. Because if you do, he would find solace elsewhere and you can only imagine what will happen.