Published On: Wed, Jul 2nd, 2014

The Juggling Of Career Kids And Guilt

Danielle Mantakoul
The juggling of career kids and guiltBe you a working parent out of need or because you are career driven, we all experience guilt, not one of us is immune including those of us that are stay at home mums. When we think about guilt we tend to view it as a bad feeling, but one that we seem to let sit within us, shrug our shoulders, bite our bottom lips and continue on accepting that it is eating us. I look at guilt a little differently. I see it as a mechanism within us, and without it there is no push for change. Guilt can be a good thing if you are willing to listen to it and act. While we can never relieve all guilt, we CAN relieve it, and don’t need to necessarily make big changes to do so. Here I list some simple strategies that you can implement to relieve some of that guilt we ALL feel.
  • Use social media as a means to communicate with other career minded women also juggling. Feeling like we are not alone empowers us. What tips and tricks do other professionals have to better their family lives?
  • Get back to basics. To do lists and your diary will be your best friend, write down everything you need to remember. On my laptop I have three different coloured stickies. One is a to do list for work, one for family and one for myself.  Missing that library day or school excursion money tops up your guilt like there is no tomorrow.
  • Designated family time. Commit as a couple one day a week to have as a family day. One day in our weekend is spent doing something as a family. Park, visiting friends, going to the markets, a train trip. Whatever it is, everyone is together. These are the days your kids will look back on and smile. Every weekend we also watch one movie all together. We take turns each week on who chooses the movie which works really well. You won’t believe how spending time with the kids even doing something as simple as watching a movie with them will relieve some of that guilt. They just want some of your time and for you to enjoy the things they do.
  • Create boundaries for yourself. It can be very tempting to take my phone with me when I play Kids Monopoly (a great game I must add). If you’re going to spend time with the kids, then spend time on just them.
  • Reading to kids brings with it a certain closeness.
  • Be a united front. If you and your partner are both working, make an agreement on who should do certain home tasks. I know that my stress levels at home increase when basic chores are not getting done. An untidy house makes me feel less than a good parent when my workplace area can be spotless.
  • Find alternative ways. Just because you may not have time to help out at school with the concert or class reading groups, doesn’t mean you cant contribute in your own way and feel good about it!  If there’s chocolate fundraising grab an extra box or two to sell at work, or an extra booklet of raffle tickets. There are always things that you can do to fit in with your lifestyle?
  • Know what you don’t want just as much as what you do. Knowing both of these aspects helps to steer us in the direction we want to go. Be confident in your decisions but at the same time remember to reflect.
  • Make use of your extended family. For many of us though there is no extended family living close enough that they can help. My friends have become my extended family and I am not afraid to ask them for help if I’m stuck.
  • If you’re after more time at home, is it possible to have a more flexible work schedule. While this may be more difficult in some jobs, perhaps in yours it could be an option. Work out the details, and only then approach your boss about it. They will want to see you have thought it through and considered all areas. If you have and they can see this, it may be easier for them to see “why not”.
  • Plan, adjust, plan. If you’re thinking of having a second or third child, you are now more aware of what this can do to your everyday life. By planning your pregnancy you may be able to have a baby due date that is more inline with your career and increase your work options. A baby doesn’t have to mean your career comes crashing down around you.

Lastly, if you have made the decision to work full time in a demanding career then be happy with that or change something. Do not get pulled into the working mothers vs stay at home mothers debate. Different arrangements work for different families because we all have different needs. While some may need to work, others want to work. They love their career and if were at home would be unhappy making them grumpy mummies, and no one wants one of those.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2014

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