Perhaps the number one concern, to a working mum, is how to achieve a work life balance?
Even though it is not a fixed goal but rather an ongoing process. Fighting guilt off spending
those extra hours at the office or being pre-occupied with work when it is family time, could lead to a lot of stress while, on the other hand, having to deal with family issues at work, would feel like a big hurdle to your career progress.
A yoyo of emotions is very common through a working mother’s career, and add to that the ups and downs of an entrepreneurial journey, is a totally different game. Here, I hope to share some trick and tips on raising children and meeting expectations. At my busiest I was raising a toddler
and a baby, working full time on a national project, completing my PhD while unning a small business and my own community initiative. I don’trecommend this workload for sure, but the experience has left me with a lot to share. Now, the researcher in me has to put out the disclaimer
that the tips are not tried or tested scientifically and would only reflect personal experience. It maybe that my boys have genetic tendencies to behave in a certain way but as a geneticist I would say that behaviour has a lot to do with the environment and making sure that children have a safe and nurturing environment is what motherhood is all about. I don’t claim to be perfect nor that I don’t have those bursts of anger but there are few things that really made a difference.
For this issue I would like to focus on:
The power of conversation.
It is essential to have good conversations with your children. Almost on daily basis. It can start with, how was your day at school? and also sharing your experience of your day. This can be over a meal or even during bed time. This might sound like an obvious must but I would like to emphasize on the undivided attention bit. I am on my phone most of the time and my excuse is work but, when it is time to converse, then the phone is put away. There is no day that passes with me not talking to my children, even when I travel, I make sure we have a daily call to reconnect and sync thoughts.
Sum up I would say that you must;
• Make a daily commitment to talk to your children
• Show them that their thoughts matter to you
• Share with them your daily activities
• Teach them good conversation habits that involves listening and appropriate commenting
Now sometimes they want to ask things at a random moment, even from behind closed doors, they will just introduce topics and expect you to be on board. I have taught my boys from an early age that I value both their random questions and the things they wanted to share. On the practical side though I taught them about attention and how to approach me.
We have developed a system whereby they would ask, “Mum are you busy?” before they can go on.
My explanation has always been that I want to give them full attention and sometimes my mind is busy and it is only a matter of choosing the right moment.
I try my best to answer every question and even though I am an avid leader, I still can’t answer all, especially when I am committed to giving them the right information. I am more than happy to tell them to let us google something and find out. This also intrigues their curiosity to learn.
I believe that children require some explanations and feedback. Allowing them to express their feelings. Having a the conversation around their feelings, and also how your day has been being important, especially that they tend to feel at blame for your mood sometimes. Moreover, telling them something as simple as you having a hard day and explaining that this may
make you a bit on the short-tempered side, would help them to be more of a support and they can take that role for a day. Making conversation a habit is a process but there is no reason why you should not take the steps today to establish that. In my opinion successful parenting starts from a good
conversation and it is the pipeline that would deliver better trust and opportunity to learn.
Dr Fatemah Almosawi holds a Master’s degree in Behavioural Science from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Genetics with special interest in intelligence and helping people reach their full potential and achieve their goals.