Being Women

Beat Mom Guilt! 5 Strategies For Time Management

The pressure to balance career and family is enormous. By prioritizing quality time, creating evening rituals with children and delegating chores on weekends at home, alt can be achieved. The story encourages mothers to focus on creating pockets of happiness throughout their busy lives.

Once again, the sun melts into the embrace of the approaching dusk.

She wiggles through the crowd, hasty steps edging her on,

The end of the day yet a powerful stride, no weariness in sight.

Eagerness sparkles in her eyes.

Unconditional love and hugs that keep the spark alive.

Ragini uses this time on the train ride home to scribble her poetic expressions. Her pen waxes and wanes with the jostling crowds in the 6 p.m. local. She boasts a collection of these verses, a narrative of her busy life. In a constant state of balancing, writing is the therapy that keeps her from sinking under the guilt of being missing in action for most of the day. She steps into her home rejuvenated, all set for her second shift that has no end—being a mother to her two lively teenagers. What is Ragini doing differently to balance both her roles? Here is what her pen says.

Quality Over Quantity

It isn’t a count of the hours and days, but what Ragini puts in those moments that steal hearts. She has rituals with the kids before calling it a day. Involving both of them in clearing the kitchen and dining area at night is one such ritual. Not only does the work get done faster, but it turns into a laughter riot. Each of them shares their day’s story, followed by the ‘Aha’ moment and the ‘Dull’ moment. These rituals connect them emotionally, and not just her; even the kids look forward to that time. As a mother, she is raising accountable kids who feel responsible for household chores too, while using that time to bond with them. That one hour makes up for her day’s absence as she tucks in happy and elated kids.

Sharing the Load

This isn’t only the tagline for a detergent commercial but also an important mantra for Ragini. Weekends are when she catches up on the kids’ study schedules. This is also the time when she wants to dedicate longer hours to being with them. This involves hobby classes, walks, and trips to the mall. With her priorities very clear, she hires an additional helper for the weekend who takes care of tidying up the house and tending to other household chores like laundry and cooking.

By acknowledging that she isn’t a superwoman, nor does she have the desire to be one, she can create more time to spend with the kids. Managing a career and a family are both her priorities. She is creating a focus for each of the areas in a different way. If weekdays are for the office, weekends are solely governed by the kids’ needs, routines, and happiness. Seeking help, whether external or from family members, does not hold you in the spotlight. Ragini considers it her right and also a way of involving other family members in her life and in the house.

Setting Boundaries

Since the day she started working, Ragini has maintained clear boundaries at work. She adheres to the work schedule and is vocal about work-life balance. She propagates the belief that nine to ten hours in the office are adequate to plan and deliver the set goals. The key is time management and, most importantly, identifying the efficiency disruptors and tackling them. This belief has also seeped into the work culture of her team, thus ensuring that boundaries are clear and office spaces become a site for late nights only when there is a pressing demand.

Lose the guilt

Guilt around the inability to be a constant in the kid’s eyes is an energy drain. Ragini went through the same as a new mother. However, through self-reflection, she is now aware that guilt is nothing but a red herring. It leaves you sulking and hampers your inner strength. Ragini went through a phase where she felt worthless, both as a mother and as an employee. She constantly lived with the feeling that she wasn’t capable enough. The guilt moved to her workplace, silently taking away her confidence. She felt undeserving of any compliments or accolades.

A workplace learning session held up the mirror for her. She had developed Imposter Syndrome. She volunteered for a short meditation course at the workplace and constantly reminded herself of her strengths. It took Ragini months to return to her normal self. A friend introduced her to the power of Pranayama, and she hasn’t looked back since. This reflective and conscious breathing practice keeps her close to her strengths. The halo of positivity adds light to her kids too.

Onboarding the Kids

Children are gifted with intuition and observation. They imbibe our reactions and behaviour. Ragini understood this when her kids would often point out her facial expressions and question her, “Mom, your eyebrows are knitted? Why?” or “Mom, you aren’t smiling? Are you angry?” Answering these questions became a journey of self-discovery for her. She was honest with the kids, often sharing how tired she felt or how she didn’t feel like cooking. Over time, they became her confidantes, curious to know her state of mind and to share theirs. For Ragini, this was no less than a spa retreat awaiting her at the end of a busy day!

So, dear mothers, do not beat yourself around how little time you spend with the kids. Instead, celebrate yourself for bringing out the best in yourself to create pockets of happiness throughout the day, week, month, and year.

Saravjot Hansrao

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