by Dr. Shanthi Thomas
Working mothers are a species apart. They are the superwomen of the human race. How do they manage the juggling of work and family? The fact is that several of these working mothers swear by certain life hacks that help them maximize their potential and time both at the workplace and at home.
There are some things that only the mother can do, and there are some things anyone can do. Spending time with the children, reading to them, and meeting their teachers once in a while are things that only the mother can do. Dishwashing, laundry and driving kids to work, are activities that anybody can do. A working mother should use her time on things that only she can do, and outsource the other activities as much as your financial situation permits.
From infancy, one of the main goals a working mother should have is to bring up her kids geared towards independence. Get them involved in chores, and train them in looking after themselves. Wearing school uniform, buttoning up their shirts, combing hair, getting their lunch ready etc. are activities that children can be trained to do.
Plan for a week. Plan what breakfast, lunch and dinner should be for the week. This planning should be done on Saturday or Sunday, for the coming week. Ideally, all family members should take part in this planning meeting. Grocery shopping for the week should be done based on this planning.
Many busy parents forget to pay their bills, and their kids’ school fee or tuition fee. You have to set aside a day each month for paying your bills. For example, you can decide that all payments will be done on the first of every month. Best way of payment? Auto-pay or bank transfer of course. The less cash you need to handle, the better it is.
The mornings are always the most hectic time of the day. Each second counts. Therefore, you should have a routine that you stick to every day so much so that it becomes a habit. Find out what works for you, and do it the same way every morning.
If there is any one chore that is the nightmare of a working mother, it is the cleaning, the mopping and the dusting. However, if you assign a day and time for it and the whole family pitches in, it can become a bearable, even enjoyable activity. You could spice it up with some music playing in the background, and fresh juice for everyone afterwards. And things get done in a jiffy!
It is very important for a working mother to prioritize her commitments. Her time and energy is precious. Whatever is felt to be a waste of time, or is something that does not add value to life, should be declined outright with a firm ‘no’. Remember that ‘no’ is a complete sentence. You are not obliged to give any explanation.
Mothers who work often face burnout because they do not have time for themselves. To avoid this, set aside an hour per day to spend on yourself. An ideal time to do this is an hour before sleep. Let your kids sleep an hour before your sleep time. Within that one hour, you can do some reading, knitting or anything else that gives you enjoyment, or pamper yourself with a nice bath.
Many conscientious mothers make sure that there is nutritious food for their children and husband, and then sometimes forget to eat. A useful life hack in this regard is to stock up on some fruits, berries, vitamins and nuts at your workplace. You could even have some fortified drinks. During breaks, spend some time nourishing yourself.
Are you in touch with your childhood friends? Your school friends? Your college friends? It is a sad reality that once married and having had children, many mothers shrink their world into their family. This becomes detrimental to mental health especially after a certain age, when the children have grown up and gone their separate ways. It is a good idea to set aside a few hours in a week to get together with friends, and perhaps go for an evening tea. In fact, spending time with your close friends is one of the tips for mothers to stay young forever.