To all the working moms out there…
Thank you. It’s a few days to Mother’s Day (Sunday, 13th May 2018), but…
We all know that a mother’s job is never done. Especially when you also juggle professional work with childcare.
You worry about your children.
You worry about your career.
You worry that you can’t balance both…
…And of course, you worry about finances.
Being a working mom is literally like having 2 full-time jobs. On one hand, you spend the requisite 40 or so hours in the office. On the other, you go home to cook, clean, and try to do the crazy math that they’re now teaching primary school students. (Yes, we saw the questions on your Facebook.)
And then there’s days you have to work overtime and end up feeding your family “unhealthy” takeout. Days when important seminars, client meetings, company events, when you get home only after they’ve gone to bed.
It’s very nearly always a lose-lose situation.
At every crossroads, you always have to make a choice between work and child, and it is a thankless task.
Being Supermom is overrated
Part of working mom guilt is the fact that you are always trying to live up to an impossible image. Not to say that there are some people who don’t make the work-child balance work for them (pun intended), but most of us have very little in the way of support.
You’ve read so much about how distant parent-child relationships. You know that it’s a very real threat to your family. You’re always worrying that you’ll lose that connection to them because you were too busy paying for their education.
It’s days like Mother’s Day – when the children present their handmade cards and store-bought flowers – that hit the message home.
You know that you’re doing right if the gifts and thank-you cards are sincerely meant.
You know that something is going wrong when they start getting obligatory.
Yes, it’s difficult to be a working mom. Piling the stresses of a professional career on top of raising a kid is way beyond what a human being should endure.
You can’t change that.
What you can do, is make sure that you have your priorities right. As with many relationships, it’s the small things that count…
1. Be there (for the important things)
Be there when they’re sick, be there for their birthday, give them a kiss before bed, hug them when you’re home.
If you’re too tired to join their activities over the weekend, make sure to let them know it’s not because you’re not interested. Be near when they’re having fun (with a good book in hand or your iPod playlist), because you don’t always need to be a participant to be there for your kid.
2. Keep an open line of communication (with your spouse too!)
When you absolutely can’t be there, come back later when you do have time and remind them that you didn’t forget. Call them for 5 minutes over your break. Leave a message if you can’t.
Heck, hang a whiteboard on the wall to leave little notes before you leave for work (and them for school)! Take time out of your weekend (yes we know it’s precious) to catch up. Just half an hour of chatting to make sure you know what’s going on with your family.
3. Do chores with them (not around them)
So many parents talk about how their children feel entitled. Well, you certainly aren’t going to teach your child responsibility if you’re letting them watch TV while you slave over the stove alone! So why not spend that time teaching them crucial life skills that school definitely won’t.
How many people nowadays really know how to sweep? (Yes, there’s an actual technique) Sort out clothes before dumping them in the wash? (It’s not always whites and colours) Iron? Wash the toilet? (No, it doesn’t stay clean just by flushing!)
Psst, we know that cooking is also an important skill, but it’s an advanced one with knives involved so maybe save that for teenagers.
Don’t beat yourself up
Of course, let’s be frank – all of this is not as easy as it sounds. Working is exhausting and children are not always cooperative. But as always, you have to make the best of things, and with some luck, you just might succeed in wrangling both bosses and children.
Give yourself a gift AND share it with your child this year
Speaking of life skills, financial education is an oft-overlooked life skill. Balancing a budget, sticking to a saving plan, and doing taxes are extremely important!
…but not taught in school.
It’s not just useful in adult life though. You never know – your kid might be the next child entrepreneur.
One of our keynote speakers at the National Achievers Congress, Henry Patterson started his first company at the age of 9. He’s now 14 and has written a children’s book (working on his 2nd) and founded 2 companies, the Young & Mighty foundation and Not Before Tea.
Family support is crucial to a child’s development. Give yourself a gift by teaching your child important financial skills on top of claiming Child Tax Relief. (Remember, they shouldn’t earn more than $4000 a year, inclusive of CPF contributions!)