Submitted by "Mom2Boys"
I am not the mom who cries when dropping her kids off, but today, as I prepared to return to work after completing my parental leave, was a little different. Our baby had his first day at school with his “experienced” big brother.
I can't begin to tell you how much we absolutely love our kids’ teachers, which is why I was positive I wouldn't cry when I put them in such good hands. I was doing well, dry eyes and everything, until I turned to walk out of the infant room and saw my older son's concern for his little brother; he was peering through a window checking on his baby brother as I left the room. His big heart was so obvious, and I could see him caring about and being protective of his little brother. It made my mom heart want to burst, but instead my eyes welled with tears.
Later their teachers let me know that my older son insisted on visiting his baby brother multiple times throughout the day just to make sure he was adjusting well. I can’t imagine loving these boys any more and appreciate their caring teachers so much!
Submitted by Jessica Duff
It happens to most of us working parents; the dreaded after hours text question from your boss. Or worse yet, a group text conversation with several managers. You know you should respond because, well, it's your boss!
As a parent, you weigh the cost of losing precious time with the kiddos knowing that your response will likely get you involved in a 20-minute back-and-forth conversation as you strive to hash out an "urgent matter". Or should you ignore the conversation in the short term so that you can deal with it later, after the kids are in bed?
I've faced this dilemma quite a bit lately. I strive to deliver high value at work to help my company succeed, but balancing my career with my role as mom can be so tough!
One of the more valuable benefits a company or manager can provide to working parents is to respect their work at home. A manager who understand when an employee needs to say "no" to work and "yes" to cuddles, bath time, reading, bedtime prayers, and other memories and feelings children will draw upon in the future will usually cause an employee to develop a strong sense of loyalty to the company.
Because, when it’s all said and done, being a parent is the best and most important job of all.
Submitted by Sherene Abrahams - "I've let go of the idea that I need to be just like everyone else."
Before my children were born, I assumed that I wouldn't work outside the home after they came along. I figured that a part-time work schedule wouldn't be an option, and I didn't want to work full-time.
But things don't always go according to plan. When my eldest was 9-months-old, I was given the opportunity to return to work on a part-time basis. I was told that I could work from the office two days/week and from home one day/week. I accepted the offer, held the job for five years, and even had another baby during that time.
When my eldest started school, I was ready to make my career a higher priority. By that time I could do my job with my eyes closed. It was easy and convenient for me as a working parent. But it was no longer challenging.
I found a new job that sounded perfect; there were shorter hours, it was closer to home, and it was a step up on the career ladder. Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as I hoped it would because it just wasn't a great fit for my skills. But luckily, after nine months on the job, I found and landed my dream role. It was closer to home, super flexible, and involved work that I love.
While it took some adjusting to find the right fit, I'm happy to report that I've found it and am balancing my roles at home and at work. Here's how I do it.
In an attempt to help other working parents, I created The Working Parents Hubshub. This site, which currently serves parents in Australia and New Zealand, helps working parents find services they can use to achieve better balance between their families and their careers. It is also a place to share tips and experiences with other working parents. We share lots of great info on our Facebook page also, and we even have a small Facebook group dedicated to discussing these things in more detail.
Pointer to a BuzzFeedVideo by Hannah Williams - "We had some intersting results."
This BuzzFeedVideo (8:40 min) from Hannah Williams may have you thinking she's crazy at the beginning, but by the end you may find yourself convinced that she uncovered some valuable lessons you can use (while avoiding the actual "experiment").
Submitted by Kathy Haselmaier
The great thing about a long career is that you can look back, pull out a few nice stories that highlight your "shining moments", and share them with others as an example of your experience. Then you can conveniently forget all of the other "stuff" that happened. There is great value in sharing the good stories to be sure. We all learn from each other, and it's better to leverage the good stuff. With that said, when we only share our positive stories, we may leave others with unrealistic ideas about what it takes to manage a career.
While talking with a young working parent who was questioning her ability to continue pursuing her career recently, I made a casual reference to "my meltdowns". She stopped the conversation. Then she said, "You had meltdowns?" I had to laugh, because all of my close friends know that I had meltdowns, and boy-oh-boy does my husband know that I had meltdowns. They were most frequent when our kids were little, but I have to admit that they started before we had kids, and they didn't end after the kids left home. It's possible I'd have had even more meltdowns if I didn't pursue a career.
By the time I reached my mid-20s, I learned that you don't do anyone any favors when you go on and on about your own shortcomings, so I mostly kept the meltdown stories to myself. But in case others find it at all comforting, let me just say that there were meltdowns. There was whining. There was complaining. And on occasion there was crying. My husband was there and endured it all. It's probably worth mentioning that he also became overwhelmed at times. He handled it differently, but there were times he wasn't sure he could handle it all either. But I had meltdowns more often and better than he did. I definitely "won" meltdowns. (In case you're wondering, we had a string of years when our kids were little when I bet I had a meltdown every quarter. As time went on, I think they may have gone down to a rate of one every five years. It did get better, especially as the kids started taking more and more responsibility for their own activities.)
There was problem solving too. And there were a lot of very long conversations and negotiations that occurred between my husband and me about how we could keep going while keeping it all together. It. Was. Not. Easy.
But we both wanted to make it work, so we did. It wasn't always pretty, but we crossed the finish line. And we're glad we stayed in the race.
P.S. My husband (aka "assistant editor") said that he was disappointed after reading this story. He thought I was going to share a dramatic story about one of my meltdowns, and he thinks other readers may be a bit disappointed with this ending. Sorry about that, but I'm not going there.
Submitted by Mark Haselmaier
As a kid, Halloween was obviously a big deal. A costume ritual was involved. I would wear it around the house a couple of times before the big day (to make sure it worked and all), and then be near euphoria when it was finally time to reveal its awesomeness to the world.
I always considered myself lucky at Halloween because my parents took me to the store and let me pick out my own costume. Very rarely did we do stuff like that. Usually, if I wanted something, I either had to work around the house to earn enough money to pay for it, or I had to save money from my allowance to purchase what I wanted. But it felt like during Halloween my parents and I were on the same wavelength; this kid needs a costume, and it needs to rock.
So it came as a shock when just this past weekend my mother experessed embarrassment because she had to buy me costumes all those years instead of making me something more special. What? You’re embarrassed? Why are you embarrassed about something that totally kicked ass? You let me pick out whatever I wanted from the costume aisle. That was the only time you let me just walk into a store and pick whatever I wanted and then you paid for it. For a Haselmaier child, this was almost unheard of.
After further discussion I learned that the purchase of a Halloween costume, instead of the creation of one, saved a lot of time for my working parents. It seems funny to me that they were embarrassed that they resorted to a K-Mart or Walmart aisle at Halloween. For 4-year-old me (and 11-year-old-me for that matter) it was the pinnacle of Halloween fun.
Chill out parents. You may be taking things a little too seriously.
Submiteed by Ibinye Osibodu-Onyali
After becoming a mom for the first time, I had very high expectations for myself and my children. I wanted to be the perfect mom who would raise perfect kids. Parents won't be surprised to learn that my expectations quickly produced anxiety and lots of hair pulling. I needed to get real.
So I sat down and created a vision for myself. I actually wrote it down. It included spending quality time with my family and quality time with myself. It included helping others too. The vision helped me find balance in my life, and I'm happy to report that my vision is being realized.
Recently I was able to show my kids where I grew up in Nigeria and we were also able to show them London on the trip. The vacation was amazing! I had time to rejuvenate, eat tons of food, hang out with friends and family, and I was spoiled by my parents 😊.
I am determined to help other busy moms achieve fulfillment in their lives via my work as a therapist and life coach. I know that it's possible to be a working mom who has a happy personal life because I'm doing it!
Submitted by Jessica Duff
As a working parent, few things are as discouraging as not being able to leave work to take your sick child to the doctor!
Recently I ran into this situation while trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment for my 8-month-old son for a possible ear infection. As a busy working mom with two kiddos, finding the time to step away to take my son to the doctor seemed impossible. Then a friend helped me realize that I shouldn't complain or feel bad about the situation. She pointed out the silver lining: I am able to provide medical care for my child because I am a working parent. It really doesn't matter who takes him to the doctor.
My husband and I both have busy work schedules, but we make time for our kids whenever possible. Luckily, we have amazing family in town who can help out at a moment's notice. I have a great family, supportive (and insightful) friends, and a baby on the mend.
Who could ask for more?
Submitted by Modern Cynical Dad
"Full-time Mummy/Daddy" is a term that irks both my wife and me because it is usually used in the context of a career choice. The distaste for the term is not aimed at the individual who chooses to use it, nor the choice that person makes. It bothers us because parenting is not, in any way, a career.
Use of the term suggests that those of us who pursue careers (by choice or not) are less committed as parents. Of course, I am not naïve. I don’t really believe that other parents mean to imply that, but sometimes it is interpreted that way.
My wife and I both have full-time careers. She is an Advisor for a well-known optometrist and runs her own business. I am an Area Manager for an equally well-known retailer in the UK.