In today’s world, so many mothers work outside of the home. Whatever reasons they have for doing so, trying to find balance between their work and home lives is a juggling act. There are not enough hours in the day and many of those days involve stress, a lack of sleep, and carrying an emotional weight of guilt. It is an unconvincing argument to persuade others that there is no “secret” to how working mothers “manage to do it all.”
In fact, the only secret that most working mothers have is that they manage to keep a game face on despite the difficulty of maintaining a balance and carrying a great deal of guilt when it comes to time management. If anything, most working mothers sometimes wonder if they provide enough time for their employers, their children and their spouses. Modern society still looks at mothers at nurturers and most working mothers that cannot hold it all together are looked upon badly. Further, there is still that notion that children who spend less time with their mothers suffer emotionally and struggle in their learning development. Countless research has shown that this is simply not true; nevertheless, this does not ease the guilt that many working mothers feel.
So, where does this guilt come from?
First, if a mother works, the family needs childcare. Childcare is expensive and finding the right childcare is a difficult and emotional process. Second, stress is the highest amongst working mothers, which affects personal as well professional relationships. Working mothers are stressed to reach work on time, send their children to daycare and school, reach children’s appointments and deadlines, and pressed for time caring for their homes and families.
Did I mention that most working mothers have the responsibility of the work place as well as the domestic front? When their children get sick, the responsibility often affects a working mother’s professional life. A working mother’s relationship with her spouse/partner is strained due to fatigue and lack of time, especially if both partners have long working hours. Quite often, mothers neglect their health by not going to doctor visits and not eating healthy or exercising, in a so-called noble quest to somehow meet all the responsibilities of a home life as well as a professional life.
Of course, there is the upside to being a working mother.
One of most important is that the working mother is an excellent role model to her children. In addition to her children seeing that she takes care of them and her home, she also heads off to work every day and has her own career. By doing this, she is showing them a good work ethic and that it is possible to have the best of both worlds.
In addition, there are personal benefits. First, fathers play more of a role in the day-to-day family living which always them to develop a better relationship with their children. This also helps children to understand that parenting is a joint effort and through this, children grow up to be more independent, responsible and goal-oriented. They take responsibility, not through expectation, but through necessity and they learn quickly that not everything is done for them or handed to them.
As a professional benefit, working mothers offer a great prospective in the workplace because the skills they use in parenting are necessary, such as patience and communication. Social benefits include the opportunity to develop social networks and to interact with adults. Any mother who spends her day with small children understands the appreciation in this.
Sometimes a working mother, myself included, has to remind herself about the benefits instead of stressing about the challenges. All of the experts in the world cannot even begin to tell you how to manage your work-life balance. That is something that comes with time and finding a balance that works for you. The only advice that one working mother can offer to another is not to be hard on yourself and to make time for yourself. The rest will figure itself out.
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