“Mommy!” “Mommy! I am going to be sick!” That was my wake up call at five AM. After caring for my sick little boy, I text my boss and let him know I will not be in today.
Caring for my child is always going to be my top priority. However, as this comes just a week after being asked if everything was okay at work because I have “been missing more work,” it is hard not to feel some way. Is it guilt, fear, or something else?
Growing up, my mom was a stay at home mom. She was always there for us when we were sick. I never thought I would be any different. I knew I wanted to be a “working mom,” but I never imagined the balance being so hard. So, how do you walk this fine line? How do you navigate the career path while still being a mom?
Well, it is hard, but I am going to try and offer some advice that helps me. Here are my top 3 tips for being an effective “working mom.”
Making sure that you have a great support team is vital! Your support can be a spouse, grandma, friend, or babysitter. Making sure that you have someone that can help take some of the responsibility for you will help to reduce the amount you miss work. My mother in law is that person for me. She helps out as much as she can when the kids are sick. She keeps them, runs them to the doctor, picks up their medications, she does it all! However, you have to be respectful of their time too and realize that sometimes, they can’t drop everything to take over for you.
Take Care of Yourself
Doing double duty is hard. You give your all both at work and at home. You run yourself ragged. Since we are moms who give it our all, self-care is crucial. I hate calling into or leaving work early because I am sick, but this has happened. If I am going to miss work, I want it to be because I am taking care of my kids, not myself. Better yet, I want it to be
So, how do you take care of yourself? What is the best way to keep your immune system up? Go to bed earlier, take a bath, get coffee with a friend. Do anything to help you relax and rest. Eat well. Take your vitamins and drink plenty of water; you know all the things mom’s tell their kids, so they stay well! We have to do it too so that we stay healthy.
Know Your Goals
Since having my son, I have started two new jobs. During both interviews, I stressed that being a mom and caring for my children would always be my top priority. However, I have professional goals that are equally as important as being a good mother. Taking care of your career will require some extra work, and you may have to work late when you can or work at home if given a chance.
When mom guilt sets in, I know that I am not performing the best I can at work. My mind is elsewhere, filled with “should of’s” or “if’s.” The guilt that I get when I miss work to be a mom isn’t any different. There is worry about what my bosses think of me being absent from work. I can’t help but worry about my review that is coming up and how it will affect it. Will they think I am slacking or underperforming?
Finding a balance is hard, and I don’t see it leveling out any time soon. Women in the workforce continue to have lower chances of advancement. The corporate world is still ostracizing moms for their dual responsibilities, despite all the equality movements. It is up to us as mom’s to find our balance and make it work for us individually.