At a time when technology is at our fingertips, many busy career women may feel overwhelmed by the idea that they are not completely detached from the office. Although the convenience of smartphones and other similar devices has made face time in the work setting less demanding, these devices are often the reason work seeps into family time. What`s more, children may feel that mom is there, but not really “there” since your attention is divided.
This unfortunate reality is becoming increasingly common for many career women. However, the purpose of this post is to rethink work and family time, and set clear boundaries you and your family will embrace.
It’s no secret that many women feel guilty when they hear comments from others regarding their absence at a child’s function or about long hours at the office. Once again, men rarely, if ever, get this thrown their way—but that’s beside the point. Because of this, Williams and Dempsey (What Works for Women at Work) offer some sage and practical advice; Feel free to try whatever works for you!
1. Make standing lunch dates with your children once or twice a week. Book them in your calendar and stick to them. You can pass them off as “meetings.” Depending on your work setting, this can be at your discretion. An added bonus of these lunch dates is that they help make up family time for when some work projects demand longer hours;
2. At the beginning of every semester, take time with your children to ask them which three or four events they would like you to attend. Then, mark them in your calendar and stick to those events—no matter what. By doing this, it signals to them that you value them and their activities, they are a priority to you, and that you want to be involved in their lives;
3. As an added bonus, pop in on one or two of your children’s activities. If they’re not aware that you will be attending, this surprise visit will be an extra treat; and
4. Create a “bucket” system to organize your family’s duties: (a) essentials: talent shows, recitals, soccer games, (b) take-turns: appointments, school fundraisers, and (c) delegables: errands like picking up dog food or pharmacy runs.
As a final thought on the issue, Williams and Dempsey stress the importance of always leaving home with a smile and returning home with a smile. This signals to your children that everything is okay, mom is happy working, and she is happy to return home. By doing so, we are being positive role models for our children, especially our daughters.
Call to ACTION!!!
What tips and tricks do you have to integrate work with family life?