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Every Working Mom’s Balancing Act

More and more moms are joining the workforce. In the Philippines, women make up 49.7% of the labor force (based on the results of the October 2010 Labor Force Survey). That’s 14.2 million women (and growing)! Although we can only assume, about 50 to 60% of this figure are working mothers, sharing the responsibility of breadwinning with their spouses while managing the household and taking care of the kids. Now, that’s a tough job.

How can you keep a healthy balance between family and career without sacrificing one for another and without feeling so stressed-out and guilty? Here’s how.

1) Make mornings easier

Plan ahead. Stop frazzling by preparing all the things that your kiddos and hubby would need the next day. Better yet, let your man help you. It’s another opportunity to bond. Or, you may create a weekly family calendar and to-do list where you can outline the tasks and who should accomplish them. Lucky for you if you have househelpers; if you have no one, you might as well ask your husband. Let your older kids do the mundane tasks. Sharing chores with the kids teaches valuable lessons such as the sense of responsibility that they will surely appreciate in due time. In the morning, you need not to hurry for work since Amaia Skies Shaw is so close to your workplace. Spend a few more minutes with the entire family while eating breakfast.

2) Stay connected with those at home

Disconnect from your work and connect with your children and husband. With the plethora of low-cost technologies nowadays, there is no reason you cannot connect with them. Hearing your voice is what might your little one needs to fend off the tantrum. He’ll be comforted to know that you are thinking of him while you’re at work. And, as for you, the same gleeful feeling is what you need to get through a rough day.

3) Create weekday and weekend family activities

Making time for the family especially the kids is critical on weekdays and more so on weekends. They expect that. It could be movie marathons on Friday nights, picnics on Saturday afternoons or whipping waffles on Wednesday mornings. And your spouse might not ask you about it, but for sure, he also wants to go out with you during Saturday nights while Sundays are spent with the entire family. Whatever it may be, these activities nurture the family dynamics. If you have to, put it on a calendar. The secret is creating activities that will fit into your busy schedule seamlessly.

4) Avoid time-wasting and limit distractions

When working, make sure that you are being productive. While you want to establish a good working relationship with your co-workers, you may limit the chats, casual Internet surfs, and long breaks. Finish what you have to finish for the day so there is no need for you to continue the unfinished tasks at home. When at home, focus on your loved ones. Spend some quality time with your kids. Don’t multitask when you are with them. The same goes when it’s time to spend some time with your better half. Skip the TV. If you really have to check your email, do so when they are already asleep.

5) Be ahead of the game

Simplify your life. Don’t make several demands on yourself. Don’t skip the most important occasions, commitments, and activities and scale back on those that are not significant to you and the family. Keep a family calendar so you’d know which ones to attend. Through this, you may keep your work schedule organized, and increase your chances of having your leave request approved. Do the same for the most important company activities. Keep a calendar of activities (can be obtained from the HR department) so you may coordinate with your family plans.

6) Squeeze in some “me” time

Being a wife and a mother while being a career woman can be draining. You’ll need time to re-energize. Working for eight hours everyday may leave you a little cranky. Upon going home, you just want to retire to your bed and call it a day. The last thing you want to do is do the dishes. But, someone’s got to do it and that someone is you unless your hubby will volunteer to wash them himself. Manage your energy well through “unloading.” Take a quick walk. Indulge in a bubble bath. Go to the nearest spa. Have your mani and pedi. Do something to calm your nerves even just for 30 minutes every day.

7) Squeeze in some “we” time

We cannot emphasize this enough. Reconnecting with your husband is as important as reconnecting with your kids during the day, throughout the week and all year round. It doesn’t matter what you two want to do, but the goal is to make it happen. Do the things you love to do together. While at it, be in the moment. Focus on him.

8) Don’t dwell on the guilt

When working full-time, you are at least 10 hours away from your kids everyday. We all get it and how it makes you feel, being away from children most of the time. Think of it this way. There is a virtue to having a role in a company. Since you can plan for your son or daughter’s college early on, there will be better educational opportunities for him or her in the future. Come to terms with your decisions. Acceptance is important.

Work-life balance is called as such for a reason. Balance is the key. Prioritize. Create a plan and stick to it. Get organized. Don’t forget the littlest of things. Surely, it is what your husband and kids appreciate the most about the whole setup. So, find the right balance and make it work.

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