As a single mom, I’ve learned how to balance personal time with family time. I do my best to leave my phone in another room when I’m watching movies with my little people, playing games with them, or just doing anything that involves spending quality time with them. Anything that can preoccupy me or take my attention away from them, I try to remove it. But, more recently, I’ve been navigating the separation between my work life and personal life.
Now more than ever, my daughter’s been asking me to read to her class, volunteer at school functions, and go on class trips. As much as I love being part of those memories & functions, my job doesn’t. I get the glares when I show up to work at 7:30 but have to leave for a few hours at 9. I’ve literally heard sighs when I send calendar invites for my daughter’s school trip and my son’s water party (for babies, that’s a pretty big deal). At first, it was a bit disheartening because I don’t want my job to feel like I can’t perform the way my coworkers do because I have kids but one thing I always say is this: I’m a mom first and an employee, second. That’s just how it is.
You may be going through what I’ve experienced (and am still experiencing!) You may get the dirty looks, hear the mumbling, or people might not respond to your calendar notifications. That’s perfectly fine! Here are a few things I did (and still do) to keep a healthy divide & balance between my work life and personal life:
1. Time Things Carefully. When you know you’ll be out of the office for a few hours, consider skipping lunch a few days. Bring your lunch with you sometimes and work while you eat so it doesn’t look like you’re always gone. Also consider communicating that to your supervisor/boss. Let them know that you have a few things you’ll have to be out of the office for so you’re compensating the time by eating while you work. Hopefully they will have no issue with that & work with you.
2. Ask a friend to go in your place. This one may suck but hear me out. You won’t always be able to leave work unless it’s an absolute emergency. If you have a close friend or family member in the area that your child is comfortable & cool with, ask them to attend in your place. It can be a subtle surprise for your child and they’ll still have the support they’re asking for. For you, mom, it might be tough but it’s a better alternative than having no one be there for your kiddo.
3. It’s okay to say ‘No’. – This one may also suck but it’s necessary. I’m sure you’ve already learned that you can’t have everything you want in life, and it’s important that your child learns that too. You won’t be able to be there all the time, and that’s okay. It happens. You can simply redirect by saying, “Not this time but I’ll do my best to be at the next one!” or “I can’t make it but can I make it up to yo
u?” That’s better than leaving them with a cold rejection.
4. At the end of it all, it’s important that your job knows that your children come first. There should be a healthy balance between work & home but your babies may require more attention than normal so it’ll be wonderful if they keep an open mind to that. If not, you should do your best to balance your time between the two in a way where your kids your job don’t notice your absence.
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