Up until I had my son, I was a working mama in an office setting. My husband and I decided after having Charles that it would be best for our family for me to stay home to raise the kids. It’s been about two months since Jeremy went back to work and I’ve been home with the kids.
I admire the crap out of stay at home mamas.
I admire the crap out of working mamas.
I shared some tips for new stay at home mamas a few weeks back. It’s a hard job, man.
Now I’ve got some love for the working mamas out there.
- First of all, you are awesome
- Having a full or even part-time job on top of being a full time mama is a lot of work. (I don’t care what anyone thinks—as a mama, you’re never off duty, even if you’re at work).
- Leave work at work
- Easier said than done, I know. But it’s so important.
- Many mamas feel guilty for working and leaving their kids with someone else. A great way to combat this guilt is to wrap things up at the end of your workday, trust that everything will be okay until tomorrow, and be fully present when you get home.
- Leave home at home
- I know, I just said that a mama’s never off duty. But do your best to leave your home worries at home while you’re at work. It does you no good to worry about the mound of dishes waiting for you, the science fair project your daughter has been putting off, or your son’s upcoming birthday party you have yet to begin planning.
- If you need to return a doctor’s phone call or check in with the sitter, do those on your breaks so you can stay fully focused on your work during the day.
- Take a lunch break—away from your work!
- Full disclosure: I very rarely did this. And I know I suffered because of it. I needed rhythms of rest in my workday and I didn’t get them.
- Here’s why you need a lunch break:
- You need to eat. It seems obvious, but too many of us get to mid-afternoon and realize we haven’t eaten because we’ve been so wrapped up in our work.
- You need to rest. Whether it means sleep (no shame in a car nap!) or simply a change of atmosphere, you need it. One of my coworkers would actually drive across the street to the Kroger parking lot because she knew that if she was on the premises, someone might still track her down, even if she was on lunch. We need to fully disconnect for even a few minutes during the day.
- Share responsibilities at home
- No one ever said you have to do it all.
- When you have kids and are getting ready to go back to work, have an honest discussion with Dad. How do responsibilities at home look right now? How could things change in order to help you both adjust to juggling your jobs and home life? If Dad is staying at home, what will that look like in terms of how your household will operate?
- One of the biggest frustrations of working mamas if feeling like they have to also carry the full burden of the household on top of their jobs. It doesn’t have to be that way (nor should it be!).
- Outsource if possible
- Some mamas work out of choice, others out of necessity. Whatever the case may be, if you can squeeze it in your budget, hire out some of the housework. This eases yours and Dad’s burden and allows you two more quality time with the kids.
- Have the neighbor teen cut your grass. Hire someone to spend a few hours cleaning your house each week. See if they’ll throw a few loads of laundry in while they’re at it.
- If you have older kids, get them in on the chores. Have some basic chores that are a regular responsibility and consider offering a small allowance for “extra” chores above and beyond the day-to-day ones. Don’t expect perfection in their work. Just be glad it’s one fewer task on your own list.
- Say no to anything that isn’t essential
- We don’t have to be martyrs. Don’t say yes to everyone’s requests because you feel like you can’t say no. You’re doing your family a huge disservice by overcommitting yourself outside of the home. Your family needs you.
- Be intentional about rest
- No matter how much you have going on in your week, be intentional about rest. Set aside a day each week (for most, this is Saturday or Sunday) for your family to have a day of rest. Sleep in. Make pancakes. Go to the park. Catch a movie.
- Rest is not lazy. Rest is a discipline and is a matter of being obedient to the Lord.
- Finally—be intentional about your time with your kids
- When you get home at the end of the day, give your kids at least 10-15 minutes of your undivided attention. Don’t start dinner yet. Don’t throw in a load of laundry. Hug your kids and smother them with kisses. Ask them about their day. If it’s time to nurse your baby or give a bottle, make that the only thing you do for that time. No phones…no TV…no distractions. Just you and your sweet babes.
Like I said earlier, I admire you, working mama. You are a superhero. You are appreciated. You are loved. You are awesome.