Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Veteran Working Mother Explains How She Makes It Work

Doreen is a 20 year veteran of working motherhood. Her youngest is now 13. In the beginning, her work as an accountant was less about fulfilling serious career ambitions and more about affording her family nice groceries. When her kids were younger, her husband’s career came first.

She was the only woman in her family to go out to work and she admits that early on she was conscious that she was missing out on weekday playdates and parties – but she says managed to attend most of the important school functions and events for her kids.

These days Doreen says she spends 5-10 hours a week on herself. To deal with stress, she tries hard not to talk about work at home and to focus on her kids’ days instead. In the car en route home she is mindful to draw a fence around her day and leave all the work stress behind her. An exercise class or an evening spent with girlfriends once a week helps her unwind.

Doreen admits to feeling resentful only very occasionally … as an accountant her career prevents her from escaping to sunny destinations during the cold and dreary winter months, the worst time of year for her at work -- she refers to it as “the season”. She’s not resentful of anyone in particular; she blames herself, because she decided to be an accountant.

Doreen considers her husband her village. He is a rock and a steady reliable partner. He gets home before her and warms up dinner. They cook together for the week on Sunday evenings which makes things easier to manage during the week. Now that the kids are older, they help too. They do dishes and even their own laundry.

Regarding childcare, Doreen understands the anxieties of new mothers. When her kids were young, the kids were in daycare, as they got older she put them in afterschool care, and now she relies on her oldest to look after her youngest. She well remembers the stress of dropping off the kids at daycare and coping with their emotions and her own, the pull on you when they cling to your legs and don’t want you to leave. But now, 20 years into working motherhood, peers of her husband whose wives didn’t work are envious of their financial stability and the opportunities that her salary affords them, and her children look up to her and respect her for all her hard work.

For young working mothers, Doreen thinks there is a bright future ahead of them. For her the early guilt is long gone and she is proud of how she balanced her working and mothering lives.

For Doreen, the key to staying sane is having a routine, staying organized, and getting her family members including her husband and kids to pitch in and be part of making it all work.

If you have any weekly organizing rituals help you manage your week work, please drop me a line and I’ll post your ideas.

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