I am not your typical working mom; I work long hours, I am away from my children and I am not paid. Nuts, I hear you say. Yes, at times I feel it is all a bit nutty. I am a medical student and spend all of my days on clinical rotation. I will be a doctor soon (5 years and 2 kids later) but for now I have to be an unpaid working mom. For the most part I am able to muster the strength to be immune to the resounding feeling of guilt that is associated with not being with my children during the day. I know that the end goal of being a doctor and being able to provide for my family is definitely worth it.
However, the holidays escalate that guilt to entirely new level. What challenges me is the happy family commercials, seeing families on outings as I try to grab a quick coffee break, or hearing of all our friends exciting holiday plans well aware that we will be stuck at home working the same old daily grind. This holiday season I have decided to embrace my life as a working momma and do all that I can to make the holidays as memorable as possible for my family. Here are my top 5 tips for embracing the holidays as a working mom.
Slow down mama – As a busy mom who spends most mornings flustered, I have made the resolution to slow down. Of course there will still be the internal rush to make it on time, but to the kids I appear to have all the time in the world. It’s not easy, trust me, but opting for a sense of calm makes the world of difference to small children. It also helps to deescalate what may eventually lead to the early morning screaming match that we all want to avoid. Take some time to talk about the holidays with your children, explain their meaning, and what plans you may have for the holidays. It will keep the holiday excitement alive for both you and the kids and may even leave you with some of those glorious conversations you have with your kids to get you through the day at work.
Make every moment count – When trying to schedule time to spend with the family I subsequently miss all the little moments I have here and there on a daily basis. Five minutes is better than nothing and even if it means taking 5 minutes out from my daily routine to watch my toddler fill in her holiday activity workbook it is better than brushing her off in my busyness. She will feel valued and I will feel included in the excitement of the holiday period.
Have Family Time – It’s very tempting to fill my weekend up with school work, but doing this eats into family time. Even if it means staying up late on a Sunday night after the children are in bed to get my work done, I make sure that the day time is free to indulge in time with the family.
Focus on what you can and not what you can’t – It is so easy to get caught up in all the things you are missing with the children and hence bring on the attacks of guilt. I have found it far more effective to focus on the time I can spend with the children and capitalize on the joy that brings me.
Confide in your fellow working moms – Don’t hear me wrong, I am not saying that you can only be friends with working moms. There is a lot to be said for having friends from a variety of backgrounds. I think that knowing there are others out there who feel the same as you is very comforting whether in person or online (there are lots of online communities for working moms and if you are a blogger there are communities for you too).
And most importantly mama….Yes you! Cut your self a break – you are doing the very best you can do. Stop being your own worst critic and start writing your self a guilt free glowing review.
Writer, mother, travelista. Experiencing life one day at a time.