WORKPLACE / OCT. 10, 2013
version 5, draft 5

You Are Not Superwoman, and You Don't Have To Be!

Many mothers simply do not have the option of staying at home with their children in the current economic climate. Many others have worked hard to forge a career and don't want to give up the achievement and fulfilment this provides. As a result, there are mothers all over the UK who are balancing having a career with the responsibilities of being a parent. This can be difficult, and it is easy to find yourself performing poorly at work while the children thrive; or succeeding in your job at the same time as neglecting your parental duties. Bound up in all this is the inherent guilt that many mothers constantly feel, and a desire to just stop trying, and sit down with a big glass of wine! Here are some tips for staying sane, getting your job done well, and taking care of your kids at the same time.

  1. Organise your time with military precision

    As a working parent, there are many demands on your time, and it is easy to get so bogged down by the overwhelming nature of your workload that it all feels impossible. If you schedule every part of your day; from getting ready in the morning to story time in the evening; and even that glass of wine when everything is done, you'll find that coping with daily life is much easier. Draw up a big wall chart and put it up in the kitchen, so you and the children know what's happening and you can keep on top of things.

  2. Don't be afraid to ask for help and support

    If you have a partner, make sure he is pulling his weight. This will not be achieved by nagging or saying things like 'You do nothing around here!' Taking an attitude like this will only alienate your partner and leave you to do all the work. Tell him you really appreciate when he does things to help, and talk regularly about how things are working out. You should be working as a team, with one part of the team responding to subtle complimentary prompts on a regular basis! If you don't have a partner, or even if you do, recruit a network of friends and family to whom you can delegate responsibility. You are not superwoman, and you don't have to be!

  3. Make a point of scheduling time for you

    Make time to relax. Have a massage, go for a run or read your favourite book. If you feel guilty about taking time for yourself when you feel you should be spending time with your children, stop that thought! You will not be a good mother if you're too frazzled and stressed to appreciate that new drawing or dance routine! Your children will be much happier with a parent who is calm, refreshed and feeling valued, so taking time out is actually very beneficial for them!

It can be difficult to be a working mother, but you don't have to start each week with a feeling that you are climbing Everest! Be organised, get help and look after yourself; and you'll find your job is easier and the children are happier. Who can argue with that?!

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