Advice I wish someone had given me as a working mom

Lori Mabardi Connor

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hint: It's NOT Lean In!!!

Each child is different. One of my children needs snuggles, the other needs quality time.

But as a working mom, the latter was hard to come by.

I saw my eldest and I drifting further apart every day.

He would climb over me in bed to jump in his dad's arms.

I would say "I love you" only to get silence in return.

If it was like this when he was 5, what would it be like when he was 15?

My heart was breaking...

I resorted to a dramatic solution. I gave up my full time job and took a part time role so I could course-correct our relationship.  

A few months into this new routine, I started to enjoy spontaneous hugs!  "I love you too" started rolling off his tongue easily and seamlessly.  

But did I need to take such a dramatic stance?

Hindsight is 20/20.  And I want to tell new moms, it doesn't have to be black or white.

If you work full time, and you have a child that really needs quality time (many do!), steal the moments.  Don't let the emotional divide grow to the point of despair. Don't let a drought take root...  Many of you know this, instinctively. Many full-time working moms do this, maybe subconsciously. As a person who didn't have much exposure to young children growing up, this was all new to me...  I thought loving my child was enough. The reality is, your child needs to FEEL loved. 

So, here is what I learned... 

  • Make a special date on a Saturday or any day you don't work.
  • If you can do it, take a day off to spend with your child.
  • Pull your child from school for a special day together.
  • Block the time MONTHS in advance.
  • Make it recurring in your calendar.
  • Travel all week? Pick up your kids at 3pm each day for a week when you are back in town.
  • Work on a crazy project for a long period of time? Take a long weekend off to recalibrate.
  • Take your child for breakfast before school.
  • Wake them up at 6am on a Sunday for some special time together.
  • Make it a point to go to lunch after a morning doctor appointment.
  • Steal the moments.
  • As brief as they need to be. Be selfish and disciplined about it.

The reality is, many moms need to work for financial reasons, or they simply LOVE their careers, which is A-OK!!! But we can keep those emotional tanks full.  We can keep the connection healthy in little incremental moments. I wish someone had told me all this...

No one will miss you for those couple of hours, but your child will relish those very moments.

One book that was truly helpful to me was The 5 Love Languages of Children by Chapman and Campbell

(I mention this as friendly advice - I was not asked to review anything! I just simply loved this book and when I read it wanted to give it to every mom I know!)

Let me know how you manage to keep your children's emotional tanks full! What do you do to keep the relationship in bloom, amidst the chaos and the stress?

Wishing you happy babies and happy blooms!

xo, Lori