Millions of Americans have discovered over the past year that running a household is not easy, especially when you have to homeschool your kids and work from home at the same time. Working parents, especially single moms who don’t have a nanny at their disposal, have been stretched thin for months since they have to juggle being a daycare provider and home school teacher on top of their usual responsibilities.
If you’re beginning to worry that working from home may have harmed your relationship with your kids due to feeling stressed out or angry, you are not alone. I know first hand how difficult it is to find a balance between your career and family life. Although I was fortunate enough to grow closer to my family during the pandemic – even while launching My Life Couch – I know everyone else may not have had the same journey. Below are some common problems you may face as a working parent during the pandemic and some possible solutions that will make it easier for you to navigate while you are working from home with the kids.
You Don’t Make Your Mental Health a Top Priority
One of the easiest ways to sabotage your relationship with your kids and partner is to neglect your mental health. Your mental health should be your top priority. Although it can be tempting to continue putting off a day of rest in order to do just one more thing, it can eventually lead to many mental and emotional problems in the long term.
When was the last time you did something for yourself? Personally, I love my daily hour long breaks! Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I dance, and other days I simply do nothing but rest. Going outside for a short walk sometimes can also be very beneficial for your family relationships. I highly recommend that you add breaks into your daily routine so you will have more time to recharge your batteries and focus on yourself. Do your best to take off your problem solving hat and stop seeing yourself only as a wife, mom, sister, and employee. You can also schedule an appointment with a mental health profession or life coach if you need a safe space to talk.
You’re Too Hard on Yourself
Let’s face it. We’re living in unprecedented times. If you’re still trying to hold yourself to the same standards as before the pandemic – please stop! As parents, we have to adjust your expectations due to the current circumstances. I know it’s not easy but try to give yourself a little grace to make mistakes and not be as productive as you would normally be if you worked in a traditional office.
Kids, especially if you have young kids like mine, demand a lot of attention and constant supervision. One day you may need to spend more time tending to them, while you may find yourself making work your main focus the next. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to work late or on the weekends sometimes to complete a project. We need to accept that we are imperfect human beings. There are going to be some days where you aren’t a super mom or parent, and you have to be okay with that!
You Don’t Speak Up
The main way parents can harm their relationship with their family is by not communicating their needs. Your circumstances can improve so much quicker if you speak up and communicate what you’re going through and ask other people for help.
Think about the parts of your life that cause frustration or make you feel worn out. Reach out to your support system and tell them about your struggles. You’d be surprised how many other people are in the same boat and could help you out. For example, you could ask a family member to babysit or talk with your employer and see if you could get a more flexible schedule that works better for your family. Even if it is not a long-term solution, it could help reduce a significant amount of stress. Or you could ask your work colleagues if they would be willing to help out with some of your projects.
I know it’s not easy to constantly spend so much time with family, even when you adore them. As a life coach, I believe that making your mental health a top priority, reaching out to your network for help, and giving yourself some extra grace are some of the best ways you can prevent harming your relationship with your children. One of the main reasons why I founded My Life Couch was because I am passionate about creating a safe space for working moms who want to rediscover what brings them joy and learn how to put themselves first.
Gladys Simen is a life coach for moms who are trying to balance their work and family life.