It’s never easy to become a mom trying to juggle a full-time job with a family life. Both entail different tasks and big responsibilities. When my sisters and I were younger, my mother solely ran our household because my father worked as an Overseas Filipino Worker in Saudi Arabia for almost 12 years.
But despite having three kids, my mom continued her day job and still managed to attend our school activities. How did she do it? Let me share some of her tips and tricks:
- Set your priorities. Family should always be your number one priority, but you must value your job as well, especially if it’s your bread and butter. Working as an accountant, my mom has a really strict work ethics. She doesn’t put off things until tomorrow what she can do today. She’d show up at work every day, finish her tasks on or before the deadline, and work fast and efficient so she’d have more time to attend our Parent-Teachers’ Association meeting or when we have school performances.
- Employ help. Asking for help doesn’t diminish your role as a parent, it even reinforces it. Employ help when needed just to assist you in cooking your meals, washing the kids’ school uniforms, cleaning the house, and looking out for them during the day while you’re at work.
- Plan weekly meals. My mom usually spends her Sunday mornings attending church service and going to the market. After that, she’ll be busy preparing our meals for the week. If weekly meal planning is not feasible, try three-day meal planning or whichever is more convenient and easier for you.
- Teach your kids how to be responsible. Teach your kids to be responsible. It’s even a good start when you just let them do the household chores. In time, I realized how important that kids know how to wash the dishes or clothes, clean their own rooms, cook food, run errands, make a choice, or just do things for themselves. Someday, they will have to decide and do things on their own anyway and they’ll have to thank you for teaching them that at an early age.
- Send your kids to a driving school. You have to trust your kids on this one because trust builds confidence. My mom doesn’t know how to drive, so when I was 17, she sent me to a driving school so that when I have to go somewhere, I can just drive on my own. In return, I have to drive or fetch her at work, or whenever she wants to go (as if I have a choice!)
- Dine out or order food. My mom prefers home-cooked meals for a reason: It’s cheaper and healthier. But if she’s pressed for time, especially if she’s too busy to cook, traffic’s bad, and she has to work late, she eventually gave in to the idea of dining out or ordering food. It saves time, more convenient, and practical, too.
- Limit your social media use. Everybody’s hooked on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Viber not knowing it is already taking much of your time. Limiting your social media use for once or twice a day can be very difficult, but it’ll help you focus more on your task at hand and concentrate on your relationships on a more personal level other than virtual.
Busy mothers pride themselves that they’ve mastered the art of multitasking, but it has its share of advantages and disadvantages. While multitasking can stimulate creativity, keeps us from boredom, and even inspires us, it can be reflective of diminished focus and it usually results to poor quality of work compared to someone who does only one thing. It also wastes a lot of time.
How you parent is a personal choice, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. Keep in mind that a few second, minutes, or hours of saved time can be well spent with your kid/s, husband, or yourself and those are precious moments we can never get back.