By S. Jinaashini
If it takes an amazing amount of strength to be a mother, then it would take twice as much strength to be a working mother, bearing the full load of responsibility both at work and at home. Thankfully, there are ways that a working mothers can make it easier. Here are four simple coping methods. (Tweet this)
Tip 1: Transitioning while in transit
As a working woman, you are likely to spend significant amounts of time transiting between home and work. How do you spend the hour or so? Apart from watching movies on your mobile device, connecting with friends on social media or catching a wink or two, you should also try transitioning while in transit. By this I mean to make that mental switch from being a working woman to a mother while travelling home so that by the time you step across the threshold of your front door you will be fully present and ready to be a wife to your husband and a mother to your children. Many who do not make the switch find themselves stuck in time (and space). They might be physically present at home but their mind and soul are still in the office.
Tip 2: Manage your Expectations
Not only does a working mother have an endless to-do list at work, she also keeps one, albeit an unwritten one, for the home. It comprises grocery shopping, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, making sure that the children have done their homework and more; each one equally important – and urgent. Recognizing that a working mother is not Superwoman, no one in their right mind could or would expect her to accomplish everything perfectly all the time. The only one who expects all to be done, and done well, is you, the Working Mom. .
Margie Warrell in a letter to working mothers (on Forbes.com) writes, “Your shoulds are a melting pot of social expectations, family pressure, often unspoken rules that we buy into it without realizing it. Our shoulds are shaped by our environment, which had seen them skyrocket in recent decades with the rise of so-called “parenting police” – experts that bombard us with advice on what a “good” parent should, and should not, do.”
So, you can either make your life, and that of those around you, really miserable by keeping up the unrealistic and unnecessary expectations, or you could cut yourself some slack and manage those expectations
Tip 3: Take time to Relax
Somewhere between your first job and your second (and I am referring to your roles as employee and mother), you ought to take time to relax yourself. You deserve it – and need more than you think.
Different people relax in different ways. For some, music is very effective in calming their hurried souls. Others take to exercise to expel the excess cortisol, a brain damaging chemical triggered by stress, from the body. The goal of relaxation is to distract yourself from the things that stresses you up, even if it is for a while. This respite activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (or PNS) and re-establishes metabolic equilibrium in the body.
A relaxed mind is a clear mind; a rested body is a healthy body; and a restored soul is a happy soul.
Tip 4: Plan Quality time
The debate of whether quality time is possible without quantity is a perennial one. I personally cannot see what is the reason for the confusion. If you are doing something good and enjoyable, like spending time with your family, why wouldn’t you want to do more of it or make it last longer? Quality and quantity, with regards to time, is not mutually exclusive. It is not a question of “either, or” but “both”. The real question is frequency.
Every family wants to have quality family time. But once it becomes an obsession, the joy of it is lost. Let’s set the record straight: Family Time does not have to happen every week, or every month for that matter. You could plan one every quarter and that would be perfectly acceptable. The key is in planning it well and guarding it jealously – not letting anything interfere with it.
Activities for quality family time can vary from visiting places of interests such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Barrage, the Night Safari and the Botanic Gardens, just to name a few. You could also go fishing at the Yishun Dam, walk on tree tops at MacRitchie, or volunteer with some charities. Here are 50 ideas that you can choose from.
As you continue on your journey as a working mother, remember this: “The best gifts in the world are not in the material objects one can buy from the store, but in the memories we make with the people we love.” – Amanda Boyarshinov
S. Jinaashini is studying Psychology Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore. We had the privilege of having her intern with us from March – July 2015.
We are inviting families to express their gratitude to the working mother in their households. Capture it on video and send it to us.
The first 50 submissions will receive a $50 shopping voucher, compliments of the Far East Organisation, which can be used in any of their malls in Singapore.
Send your videos to firstname.lastname@example.org in either mp4 or avi format.
The only condition for the video is that all members of the family must be in it (excluding the working mother).