By Jenna Cyprus
Juggling business and parenthood will always be tough. But when busy seasons come and your schedule goes from demanding to overbearing, it gets harder to create time with the kids. Do you have a plan to help you prioritize your children?
4 Ways to Put Your Kids First
As a working mom, you feel pressure from all sides. You have a business to run, a family to raise, and – if you’re lucky – some small element of a social life to maintain. And while each of these responsibilities carries its own weight, you can’t let them compromise how or when you parent.
Here are some tangible ways you can put your kids first – even when life gets crazy.
1. Carve Out Time
When your client calls and tells you that he’s scheduled a big meeting for next Friday, you add it to your calendar. When your girlfriends plan a Saturday night out on the town, you jot down a reminder. In fact, any time you have a priority, you make an effort to carve out time in your schedule.
The question is, are you carving out time for your kids?
We’re not talking about carpooling to soccer practice or attending a dance recital. We’re talking about downtime where you just get to hang out and play with your kids.
Unless you grab a pen and block out a few hours each week, it probably won’t happen. Make time with kids a priority by forcing it into your busy schedule.
2. Let Kids Help
Sometimes your schedule is too busy to simply plop down on the floor and play with Barbies or Legos. Between work and household responsibilities, there aren’t enough hours in the day. During these seasons, you can spend more quality time with your children by letting them help in an age appropriate manner. Here are a few examples:
- Invite your kids to help you with simple household chores. Children between the ages of three to six are especially fond of simple chores that make them feel special. Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, cooking, or cleaning baseboards, you get to knock tasks off your to-do list while simultaneously being around your kids.
- If you’re stuck doing work at home, find tasks that your kids can help with. An older child might be able to input data into a spreadsheet or organize files.
The more you let your kids in on the things you’re already doing, the more time you’ll get to spend with them. That’s a win-win!
3. Be There for the Bedtime
Bedtime can be a struggle for many working moms, but it’s also extremely important. It provides a daily opportunity for building and nurturing healthy relationships with your kids.
“There’s something about a quiet darkened room that invites conversation,” explains Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. “This is a time to take stock, to snuggle, to talk about some of the important things that your child is thinking about. When children know that bedtime is a time when you give a few minutes of undivided attention, they often save up their most sensitive questions for sharing.”
There’s also a practical side to bedtime. For example, it allows you to get involved in brushing and flossing your child’s teeth (which keeps kids healthy and prevents costly dental issues later on). It’s also a good opportunity to work with them as they learn how to read books.
4. Create Experiences Together
As a working mom, you won’t be able to spend as much time with your kids as a stay-at-home mom would. But that’s totally fine! It’s all about what you do with the time you do have. In other words, it’s about quality over quantity.
When your kids are older, you want them to look back fondly on their childhood. And guess what? They won’t remember the fact that they spent 18-hours per day with you. What they will remember are the experiences you created. So use your time wisely and make memories together. Ditch the screens and do something fun.
Get Clear on Your Priorities
It’s tough to make important decisions when emotions are running high, stress is bearing down on your shoulders, and life is moving fast. If you want to make smart choices that benefit your kids and your family, it’s imperative that you set your priorities ahead of time.
Use slower seasons to spend time thinking about the direction you want your family to take, as well as what matters most. Then when the chaos sets in, you already know how and where to spend your limited supply of energy and focus.
Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who is particularly interested in travel, nature, and parenting. Follow her on Twitter.