How to Stop Stressing About Being a Working Mother
Updated: Jun 3
Balancing family and work is challenging for anyone
I know what it’s like.
You’re trying to answer a client’s urgent email while you’ve got a screaming toddler hanging onto your leg, the toaster’s burnt your toast, and there’s a load of washing in the machine, waiting to be hung outside.
And you need to be in the office in 30 minutes.
Suddenly, balancing family and work seems like an impossible task.
I get it.
But it isn’t impossible. You can do this. You’ll get through it and you’re not alone.
Three in four mothers with children work in the UK.
As working mothers, we feel like we’re being pulled in every direction and that we don’t have enough time to dedicate to everyone.
A study has shown that working mothers can be up to 40% more stressed.
I would wager that a lot of the time, we’re the ones putting pressure on ourselves. And that’s only going to stress us out further.
So from one working mother to another, here’s how you can stop stressing.
Choosing to go back to work after having a baby because you value your career isn’t wrong.
You need to consider your needs too, as well as what works for both you and your family.
So stop stressing about your decision and learn to let it go (god, I’ve watched Frozen too many times with my daughter).
Childcare is great
If you’ve got a toddler and you’re worried about putting them to nursery for the first time, or feeling guilty that you have to leave them in nursery while you go to work, don’t.
Your child will be having a great time getting stuck into paints, toys and learning all kinds of new and exciting things. They’ll likely not give you a second thought once you walk out the door.
I stressed out big time before my daughter went to nursery for the first time and now, I really don’t know why I did. She loves. I love that she loves it. And everyone’s happy.
I get some time to work from home, to do things around the house and anything else that takes my fancy.
And she gets to learn a whole bunch of new skills and play with other kids.
Things that are outside your control will happen
There’ll be times that you’re needed in two places at once. You just need to go with it.
It’s ok if you need to take your child to the doctor’s. Or you need to work from home or take the day off if they’re ill. These things happen all the time.
So don’t put pressure on yourself to be the perfect employee who never takes a day off. That’s simply not realistic with a kid at home.
You’re setting a great example
You need to tell yourself that you’re setting a wonderful example to your child as a working mother.
You’re showing them you’re capable of taking on responsibilities elsewhere and balancing family life with work.
And as a female, you’re showing them that women don’t need to give up their career after having children.
Nobody is perfect
Despite what magazines, celebrities and Instagrammers would have us believe, nobody is perfect. Nobody has their shit fully together.
People don’t tend to Instagram their pile of dirty laundry. Or tweet a picture of the state their living room is in after a day of toddler tantrums.
They might upload a picture of the massive glass of wine they’re having at the end of the day though.
Don’t worry about having the house spotlessly clean, all food made lovingly from scratch, and your kids being capable of reciting the alphabet backwards by the age of two-and-a-half.
And don’t believe everything you see online.
It doesn’t matter how many hours you work in a day, you’ll want to make the time with your little one count.
Forget about the unimportant stuff and focus on what really matters to you.
You’ll feel much better in yourself and happier that you’ve spent your time doing something that’s more important to you.
Time management helps
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by things or a bit disorganised, like I usually am, draw up a list of things you need to do each week.
You’ll feel satisfied as you check things off and you’ll have a clearer idea of what needs done.
If household chores need doing, work things out with your partner. You shouldn’t have to do everything around the home after working too.
This is the 21st century and your partner needs to pull their weight.
You are enough
Depending on the age of your child, just you being there will be enough.
You might feel like you spend a lot of time working and that you only have X amount of hours to spend with them. But they’ll cherish the time you’re together.
If you work from home, you might be able to get some work done while your little one is playing alongside you.
My daughter is almost two and I’m already noticing a change. She doesn’t necessarily need to play with me all the time but she likes knowing I’m nearby.
So don’t feel guilty for doing something for yourself at times like this.
I often take it as my chance to catch up on the news and celeb gossip. I mean, who doesn’t want to know what Ryan Reynolds is up to on Twitter?
It’s ok to feel like you’re going crazy
You’ll have days when you come home from work, hoping for a relaxing evening, to find that your kid is being a nightmare and they have other ideas.
It happens. Children can have bad days too, just like we all can.
Life would be boring if everyone obeyed every rule set down in front of them. Kids push the limits you set as it’s their way of learning.
So you need to accept that some days will be crazier than others and you might feel like all you’ve done is yell at them.
It’s ok. Tomorrow is another day.
So when the kids are finally in bed, make sure you buy that massage voucher you saw on Groupon. You deserve it.
TV is not the enemy
There are some people out there who’ve decided that TV is the devil and no child should watch any TV at any time. Ever.
A lot of people say this before they’ve had children. Ha! What do they know?!
Sitting your child down with a tablet or in front of the TV does not make you a bad parent if you need to get some work done from home. Or you simply need a break.
You need to look after your own sanity too.
Use it as time to get some work done if you need to. Or as time to calm down from the last child meltdown (the latest in our house was over not being allowed to draw on the walls with pen).
If you’re calmer and less stressed, you’ll be able to parent better.
Ultimately, balancing family and work is a challenge. I won’t deny that. But you don’t need to put yourself under undue pressure and stress.
If you’re happy and relaxed, you’ll be able to parent better.
And a happy mum makes for a happy child.
Are you a working mother? What helps you relax and stay organised? Let me know in the comments and tell me what you’d like to see me discuss in future posts.
And don’t forget to follow the Malaga Mama blog.