Working Moms: Go from Frazzled to Fulfilled
- Wednesday, April 06, 2005
How do you feel when you're trying to get from your office to your daughter's recital or your son's game, but a traffic jam makes you late? How about when a big project is due at work, but one of your kids is sick?
For moms who work professionally (either from home or outside the home), it's all too easy to feel frazzled. But your life doesn't have to spin out of control. If you're deliberate about the decisions you make and rely on God's strength, you can trade your frazzled feelings for fulfillment.
Here's how you can go from frazzled to fulfilled as you combine work and family:
Handle guilt in a healthy way.
Consider which circumstances and people in your life are making you feel guilty. Think about whether or not you sometimes impose guilt on yourself. Then determine whether or not your guilt is valid (an urging from God to make some changes in your life) or not (a bad feeling that has no basis in a real problem).
Since working moms often feel guilty about working outside the home, pray for God to show you clearly whether or not you should be doing so. If so, ask Him for peace about it. If not, ask Him to help you think through alternatives. Ask other working mothers to share some ideas with you as you figure out any new plans for your life.
Whenever your husband or one of your kids reacts negatively to a work/family conflict, respond in a calm and reasonable manner rather than through an emotionally charged reaction. Consider whether your family member has a valid point without dumping a huge load of guilt on yourself. Work with your family to find a solution. Rather than striving to please everyone or be a "perfect" mother, seek God's will in all you do and pursue the peace that only He can give you.
Be a positive parent.
Think about what you hope your kids will be like five or ten years from now - especially what character qualities and value systems you hope they'll possess. Then write down specific parenting goals based on who you hope your children will grow to become.
Look for teachable moments in the course of each day to communicate healthy values to your kids. Consistently discipline your children with love and firmness whenever they are dishonest, disobedient, or disrespectful. Plan simple devotional lessons you share with your kids on a regular basis.
Be real with your kids; don't be afraid to let them see you make mistakes and learn from them. Model humility and compassion for them. Encourage them to have a reverence and respect for God.
Take your time and ask for God's wisdom to find good quality childcare. Make plans for what to do when one of your kids is sick. Find reliable transportation for your kids to and from school, and to extracurricular activities. Establish a regular routine for your kids to get their homework done well and on time. If you're a single parent (or if your husband is away on business often), find support through places such as your church and a babysitting co-op.
Develop a co-parenting plan with your husband during a meeting with him where you each clearly communicate your expectations of how things should work in your family. Pray together for your kids and your marriage. Divide household responsibilities equitably, according to each other's talents and natural bents.
Be flexible and open to change. Don't keep score on each other and be willing to give all you can and cover for each other when necessary.
Create a family calendar. After you return home from work or your kids return home from school, look them in the eyes, genuinely listen to them, and touch them in encouraging ways (such as a hug). Write notes of encouragement to your kids and speak encouraging words to them. Smile. Share their emotions. Make a habit of doing "devotionals-on-the-run" in which you write a Bible verse in a journal and invite your kids to write a comment about it while you're at work. Then discuss it when you return.
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