Let’s face it; the time of the stay-at-home mother is all but gone. The working mother is always faced with challenges, we have outlined ways they can cope and spend time with their kids.
Apart from the reality that women; now more than ever are vocal in claiming their rights to have the same choices as men (for the most part), there’s also the fact that; in a country like Nigeria, it’s just no longer economically viable to be a stay-at-home mother. A lot of men would rather marry someone who can contribute to the upkeep of the home and support the family financially and otherwise than marry someone who earns no money.
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Let’s also not forget; single parenthood is quite popular among upwardly mobile people of both sexes. We have single mothers now more than ever, and these women come from all walks of life, from entertainment to banking to medicine to advertising. Hence, the era of the working mother is upon us.
Someone; I think it was Napoleon said; “I find nothing more absurd than the title ‘working mother’ because there is no job more sacred than that of a mother. All the work in the world is already captured in that one word; ‘mother’.”
I agree. But I digress.
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Typically, career-driven people have the potential of being the worst kind of parents. Of course, that isn’t always true, but when you think about the truth that; especially in Lagos state, the average person leaves their house before seven in the morning for work, and returns between nine and ten in the evening, you begin to wonder; how much time is left for parenting?
But every now and then, a balance can be found. Serious-minded people find a balance. They find a way to not sacrifice their children for their career and vice versa. They carefully consider the options: their personal/career needs and those of their children. Therefore, they think, plan, and execute carefully.
How Can A Working Mother Cope?
There are a couple of ways a working mother; single or otherwise, can lessen the burden on herself. If these suggestions are taken into consideration, it will go a long way in helping.
1) Have a solid relationship with your work; and by extension, your boss
I’m sure every one of us has had or have times we’ve had to dash out of the office to do something that couldn’t possibly wait; something personal during our work time. Being reliable and solid at your job makes such moments easier.
It will be easier for a boss to give time off to someone who delivers on their responsibilities than someone who has to be chased down and hounded to get something done. Even if you don’t need time off yet, do your job well and ensure you are the best at it. It stands you in good stead when the rainy days come, and trust me, it is going to rain.
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2) Keep your job options open
The reality is; people can be jerks. For every boss who is a dream to work for, there’s another boss who is a nightmare. As a working mother, if you cannot find a place convenient or flexible enough for you to be able to be with your kid(s) when necessary, keep looking till you find a job that is convenient and flexible enough. You can always find a place where you can move things around and have that quality time you need so much with your angels.
3) Have a solid support system
Your spouse/partner, friends, family, neighbors, and so on are around you and can be helpful. I am not suggesting that you just hand your child over to the nearest available human being. However, you should know reliable people around you, people you can count on in a pinch. They can either be there to watch your child whenever necessary or can provide contacts for solid childcare services. You know people who know people who know people and so on.
4) Save time and energy by preparing early
Most times, no matter how tired you are, it is easier to prepare for your child’s day the previous night than in the morning. You won’t have to rush through anything, you will have time to focus and pack their meals and books and so on. It’s better than starting early in the day and wearing yourself out by rushing.
5) Stay close to your kids even when you’re away
You can keep in touch with them through someone at their school or crèche or whoever is with them via cell phone. Everyone is mostly just a phone call away these days. Whether your kid(s) can talk into a phone yet or not is irrelevant; I’m sure a mother can recognize her child’s gurgles in the midst of several other children. Talk to whoever is with them, know how they are doing, and so on. Stay in touch!
6) Forgive yourself dear working mother
And I’m not talking about buying gifts or spoiling your kids with toys and other irrelevant nonsense just to assuage your own guilt. I’m talking about spending time with them as much as you can, and not feeling down or depressed when you can’t.
Life is sometimes about balance; being there for your kids can sometimes be more important than being there with them in the flesh. You do the best you can, try not to miss important dates, remind them often of how much you love them, and don’t forget to take care of yourself. Everybody needs love – including you.
Balance is king.
Are you a single parent or a working mother? How do you find the balance between your career and your kids? Let us know in the comments!
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