Today it seems that parents and particularly mothers are expected to be super heroes, their superpower is multi-tasking. The question is what is a working motherʼs kryptonite and how do we sustain the juggling act?
The decision to go back to work after having a baby can be a difficult one for many
women, provoking a complex web of emotions, from liberation and pleasure to guilt and anxiety.
Psychologist, Mother and Psychology Consultants Director, Kathryn Smith comments on her professional and personal experience.
“I frequently see women who carry some guilt over leaving their child to return to the workplace. Women who commonly have difficulty adjusting are those who thought they would stay home full time and are unable to do so due to financial reasons.
Leaving your child in the care of a stranger is certainly an anxiety provoking process and it’s important to be confident in the care you have chosen” said Kathryn.
Kathryn stresses the importance of knowing your boundaries when returning to work after having a child. She says you need to remind yourself that life has changed and therefore your level of commitment to work needs to be different.
Registered Psychologist, Kylie Layton is a mother of one and pregnant with her second child. She has recently joined the team at Brisbane based practice, Psychology Consultants and finds the juggling act challenging but rewarding.
She outlines below three helpful ways to get the most of out working whilst raising children.
“The first is to spend some time exploring and evaluating your priorities and how best to achieve them”
It is important to have this discussion with your partner to agree on your priorities and how to achieve them. Look at where things can be sacrificed or altered in order for you to maintain your personal values, goals, and aims as a mother and as an individual. Then regularly re-evaluate your aims and your situation to see if things are working for you. Each mother is different and it isimportant that decisions are made based on what is important for each individual; there is absolutely no ʻone size fits allʼ when it comes to parenting and return to work decisions. Ignore unwanted advice and opinions; the best emotional balance will come from planning your life around your own individual values and needs.
The second important step is to ask for help. In the first instance from your partner (if you have one), get into the habit of actively making requests for help and assistance and letting them know when you are struggling to cope.
Take up offers or make requests of friends and family when you need it. Explore parenting books for fresh ideas and new options for dealing with things and have open discussions with your childʼs alternate carers to ensure you feel confident and comfortable with your childʼs care.
Thirdly invest in some “you” time. Even a small amount each week will allow you to function better and to build a store of reserves on which you can call when needed. You need to have energy reserves in the bank to draw on it at work and home.
The pressure put on mothers in this generation is far greater than previous generations. Now women are expected to maintain their careers whilst raising a family. There is also a much greater emphasis on the emotional and developmental needs of a child and whether you are fulfilling this as a parent.
Kylie concludes with some sound advice on the juggling act; “Establish clear priorities and values and give yourself permission to do some things well-enough rather than perfectly. This will go a long way in alleviating the stress of juggling two demanding jobs.”