Boss Lady

10 Hints for working mums to cope at home

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For many women, their real – and indeed the toughest part – of their day begins when they arrive home after a long day at the office. Kids need help with their homework, dinner has to be cooked, and there is always someone who needs a sports uniform for the next day – which, of course, is sitting crumpled and dirty at the bottom of the laundry basket.

Most working mums feel torn all the time as they can never be 100 percent in either place – at work or with their kids. So how can life for working mums be improved? Here are 10 tips to help working mums cope.

  1. Separate work and home as much as you can. Be aware when  you enter the front door that you are leaving your “office hat” outside and putting on your “mum hat.”  It may seem contradictory but to manage the mayhem and the chores awaiting you, you need to sloweverything down. After you walk through the front door, take a few minutes to breathe and recalibrate. Don’t go full steam ahead; everything can wait for a few minutes. Change into something comfortable, ditch your high heels for slippers and have a cold or warm drink. Giving yourself a child-free zone for a few minutes will give you time to slow, calm and prepare yourself for the next part of your day. The kids will get used to this if it becomes a nightly ritual.
  2. Embrace flow rather than being rigid. Don’t attempt to try to fix everything straight away, divide the chores and prioritise. If the kids are whining and complaining try not to react, but instead listen to them. Remember they all want your time and support.
  3. Turn off your cell phone’s ringtone and put it away for the first half hour after you get home. This will show your kids that they – not work – are your first and most important priority.
  1. Laugh! It’s very healing. Some things that seem serious may not be as bad as you first think. Studies actually show that a good laugh can not only lighten your load mentally but relieve your response to stress and soothe tension. Do not underestimate the benefits of a good, rollicking belly laugh! Even more so if the whole family can share the joke.
  1. Do at least one thing every night for yourself that you can look forward to after the kids go to bed. Whether it’s yoga, a chocolate bar, a good glass of wine or your favorite television show, it’s essential for your own peace of mind to have some valuable “relax” time to yourself. Try and be patient and forgiving of your children and yourself. No-one is the perfect mother and no child is good all the time. They are always learning and growing, and remember, when they reach their teens mood swings are hard to control with all those raging hormones!
  1. Enjoy a good chat over the family meal. Ask everyone how their day was; and talk about yours. Ask your kids what the best and worst parts were, and what they are looking forward to tomorrow. You will find you hear many heart-warming stories – but you may also learn what could be troubling your kids.
  2. Be aware of your expectations and think about the word “should” before it leaves your mouth. This word is usually linked with judging someone else or yourself. Equally, be aware when someone else uses it.Mothering provokes many varied and complicated feelings at different times. The uncomfortable ones are a signal that  something needs to be thought about and perhaps attended to.   Be aware of your own feelings and don’t ignore or push them  away; rather give them space and time to reflect on them. It is always good to develop a space in your mind where you think, rather than react.
  1. Be aware of what triggers your annoyance. Is it a messy house? An unorganised child? A lazy husband?  Work out what you can do to sort these issues out before you walk through the front door. You may be surprised about the help and support you get if you just ask for it.

Dr Lowy recently released her first book, Maternal Experience: Encounters with Ambivalence and Love.


About Dr Margo Lowy

Dr Margo Lowy, a psychotherapist and author, has three children. She recently released her first book "Maternal Experience: Encounters with Ambivalence and Love". You can find more details on her website www.drmargolowy.com

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