Working while being a mother is a massive task for sure. If you are a working mother, I salute you because you are doing a super job. Being a mom is a blessing that many women pray continuously to gain. In this day and age, while some families are lucky to be able to function with one income, many families need two incomes to make a living in many parts of the world. If you are a mother and you had to go to work, or you chose to go to work, this might harm your mental health. While some women can do both parenting and work at the same time, many others struggle to maintain both roles.
Following are six tips to maintain your mental health while being a working mother:
1- Prioritize your tasks
Our lives are full of responsibilities, and having to juggle too many at the same time can be hard to manage. As a working mother, you have the responsibility of children, a husband, and the house as the prophet- peace be upon him- says: ((All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the people of his house and he is responsible. A woman is the shepherd of the house of her husband and she is responsible. Each of you is a shepherd and each is responsible for his flock.- Albani. We know in Islam both men and women have responsibilities. In a marriage relationship, men are required to provide for their wives and the kids. While working is not a request for women, they have the option to do so keeping in mind that the work suits them and is not going to affect their kids and husband. Nowadays, many households need two incomes to survive, therefore more women are working. If you are a working mom, remember to prioritize your tasks to get the best out of your time and energy. For example, try to keep work-related tasks at the workplace and remind yourself: no work at home, only time for my kids, myself, and my husband. Organize your time around your prayers, for instance, after Fajr prayer make it your spiritual refuel time where you read pages of the Quran and meditate in silence. Studies have shown that silence is beneficial for your mental health because it promotes self-awareness and lower stress. Meditating and reading the Quran can take from 5 minutes to an hour depending on your time and your day plan.
After your early meditation period, prepare for work and kids.
Here are some tips to help you prioritize your tasks:
- Organize your time around your prayers
- Use time management tools such as google calendar and forest
- Keep work-related tasks at work
- Make a specific time for you and the kids
- Cook meals on the weekend
- Specify days and times of the week to spend time with your spouse
2- Keep guilt away
Remember! you are a human and cannot do everything. As a mother who works, you might face the guilt of not spending enough time with your children and husband or of not doing your best at the workplace. You might also hear from people that you are not being fair to your kids and how come you leave them and go to work. People will continue to judge and speak without understanding the reasons and the causes for you to work. Therefore, there is no need to give much attention to what people who judge without understanding say. On the other hand, you need to remind yourself that you are a human being with limited ability. Understand that you might not be able to achieve 100% in everything and be willing to accept 60% as your new normal. We as human beings have limited abilities even though sometimes we wish to multitask everything. When we understand our abilities, life becomes easier and more fulfilling.
3- Ask for help and Delegate tasks
As a working mother, you might need help with childcare especially if your kids are under the age of 5. If you live with your family or they live close to you, you can ask your family members to support you with taking care of your children. Depending on where you live, you can enroll your kids in childcare or some people choose to have a nanny at home as well. Asking for help is normal and ok. At the workplace, explain to your co-workers and your manager your schedule and needs in terms of taking care of your children. Let your co-workers and managers know if you need help or to go to your kids’ school performance, and be open with them. Delegating tasks to your kids is fun to them and also a teaching method for their future. Kids from the young age of 3 years old can help with simple tasks around the home. Make use of your kids’ energy in helping you with preparing the table for dinner or taking the laundry if they are big enough. Besides the benefit of helping you at home, delegating tasks to kids will build their confidence and make them proud of their achievements. Do not forget to encourage them and reward them for helping you.
4- Cherish the moments with your kids
Make sure to give your kids attention especially if they are young. After all, they are your priority after obeying Allah -SWT-. Kids will not remember how much they bought their clothes for, yet they will remember how many times you spent time with them and laughed with them. Kids strive for attention because it gives them a sense of who they are. When you give your children the needed attention, they will give you the time when they grow up. Moreover, giving attention to kids will help you understand them and will increase the bond between you and them, therefore it will be easy for you to correct their mistakes and talk with them about their misbehaviour in the future. Seema Khan a Certified peaceful parenting educator, talks in detail in this Instagram live about the importance of building a connection with your children to succeed in correcting their behaviour. You might have seen that view in movies when the kid is waiting for his mother to attend his competition at school and the reaction he or she will have when the mother attends as well as when the mother does not show up. Of course, we all want that moment for our kids when they are happy and excited to see their mothers or parents in general showing up for their big moments. Because of the importance of your existence in your children lives , remind yourself that you will only be grateful later when you spend time with your kids. There is nothing worth neglecting your children by not trying to spend time with them. To be able to spend more time with your kids, try having a set time and day only for you and the kids and call it family time. Prepare some games and activities together or even talk about your day and check on each other.
5- Communicate with your husband
Parenting is the job of both the mother and the father. Being open with your spouse about your needs and expectations is very important. Set together and create a plan that works for both of you in regards to taking care of the children and the house. Communication is a key in your life as a working mother because with communication, you will understand your husband’s needs, and he will understand yours. Therefore, both you and your husband can work together to plan how to take care of the children and the house. For example, you can schedule who will drop the kids at school every day and who will pick them up. Also, you can divide the grocery shopping between yourselves and food preparation. In addition to that, make sure to communicate your feeling with your spouse. If you did not like something they have done, do not keep that inside you and build resentment rather you should ask your husband for a time and speak with him about what is bothering you. Being honest and direct in an acceptable way can act as a protection for your marriage. Remember, you and your husband are the pillars of the home and having a healthy relationship creates healthy children. In addition to a healthy family, when your children see you both communicate, they will understand and know that, yes, mom and dad sat together and talked about their issues, so it is ok to talk about our problems and feelings.
6- Practice self-care. Have a me time
Finally, to be able to function fully, you need to make sure you have the energy and peace of mind. To gain energy and peace of mind, you need to remember your self-care routine. Self-care can sound like a selfish act for some people while in reality, it can be the cause of you being self-less. According to the world health organization “self-care is the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent diseases, maintain health and cope with illness and disability.” Your self-care routine is an important task in preventing the stress and burnout resulting from working inside and outside the house. You can create a self-care practice that is suitable for your needs. Here are some suggestions for self-care habits that you can adopt:
- Going early to bed and getting enough sleep
- Eating healthy foods
- Exercising at least twice a week
- Meeting with your friends
Remember, you are the backbone of the house. If your kids see mommy happy and healthy, they will be happy and healthy. You need to fill your cup in order to pour for others.
Written by Duaa Saber