Many of us working moms sometimes feel that our kids might be losing out just a bit because we are so entrenched in our work deadlines, events and projects. Especially if we are not working from home and away for most of the day. But do us working moms ever stop and think about what benefits we might be offering our kids? It all depends on your attitude I would say.
When my kids were younger and my business smaller I could work from home. So my children did have the benefit of full time access to me for the first few years, although I was often working. We found some teen babysitters who would come after school and play with the kids to give us a few more hours of work time after they woke from their naps. But as my commitments became more demanding and business was expanding I became less and less available to my children emotionally as I was always stressing about being a working mom. If it was not trying to learn new skills or better our offering, then it was stressing about customer orders and deadlines. I simply had too much on my plate.
Then one day when the kids were old enough those awful words came ringing in my ears: ” Mom, you are always working and never have any time for us.” I nearly died of guilt and went downstairs to play with my children immediately. All the while I was trying to figure out how I would handle the sheer load of being a working mom whilst not neglecting my children. So I decided to draw up an outline of what I want out of my business and what it meant for my kids. I restructured my business model to make sure that growth was in line with resources. And even though there are still many occasions when I am working late or over weekends, I have established a system where the right people handle the right tasks, instead of always trying to micromanage everything. And sometimes the right people could even be the kids! My daughter has helped me build new product catalogues, enter invoices and do SEO work over the years. And she is really proud of being part of something like that and will not hesitate to start her own business. She says she already knows what to do just from observing me. Even my son has swapped blogposts for games and he was surprised by how much he enjoyed it. Now he is designing his own T-shirts and learning about profit and loss and selling them online.
In addition to involving them in my career, they learn a lot from listening and watching what a working mom does and how she thinks. As the kids grew older I made sure that I was always there to take them to their after-school activities and spend alone time with them, either before bedtime or on the weekends. Supper time is spent chattering away at the kitchen counter whilst making dinner and when the kids ask me to come and lie with them at night, I make a point of doing so.
I decided that with only so many years left before they are out of high school that I would relish every moment, every conversation and take the time to stop and listen to them and I can see the difference in them. Nowadays the kids sit with us for hours outside on the deck chattering away and talking to us about everything that is important to them. The confidence they have built up shows and we are very proud of them and they of us, as working parents.
I would love to hear what you do with your kids if you are a working mom.