Working full time or outside of the house will make parenting harder, but for most of us – that’s the only choice. This is what you can expect and how you can make it easier with connection 101 for busy moms.
Leaving the house to work full time and leaving our children at the care of others is one of the toughest decisions a mother can make, it is, however, a choice most of us have to make.
Why Working Full Time Makes Parenting Harder?
Working full time or out of the house will take its toll on your connection with your child – it can’t not to. Your little one will have to spend most of his waking hours longing for you, and by the time you’re finally home, you are both tired and probably cranky from the day’s feelings and happenings.
I’ll tell you a secret (that you might already know): it’s as hard for us as it is for them. Often all we want is a peaceful hug, words of love and recognition, comfort, closeness, and affection, and what we eventually get is a massive emotional outburst that lasts the whole evening out. It’s frustrating and hard.
Why Toddlers of Working Moms Experience Bigger Feelings During Evenings?
Consider connection to be a need as existential as water; one who grows up knowing water is abundant will not even pause to consider it. One for whom water is a scarce resource, will stumble upon a source of water and will never leave its side, fearing to lose the source of water again, fearing the thirst.
When children’s main source of connection is gone for most of the day, feelings of loneliness, fear, disconnection, confusion, and yearning build up into massive waves in their hearts and when they finally meet you – these waves often threaten to wash away everything they touch. Logically, we’d think that feeling these feelings all day long will result in sheer happiness when the meeting finally arrives, and sometimes it does, but more often than not – it doesn’t. Because all these feelings, when not vented, not given space and recognition, not given the opportunity to process – turn to anger, lack of patience, annoyance, and even aversion.
The Perfect Bedtime Routine for a Working Mom
If you’re already a working mom, you know that something went totally off at bedtime. It became long, impossible, and maybe even explosive. Everything discussed above is the reason. Oh right – there’s another reason: sleep is another form of separation. We don’t often think of it this way, but it is. This is the reason for which children try to avoid it, push it forward, and fight you for it. They need more time. With you, with them, together. But they don’t know how to ask for it.
The following strategies (bedtime included) will help you keep a strong connection with your children while working full time or out of the house. Implementing these will not make magic happen in one day, but with time and as the sense of connection and belonging builds up – it will make everything easier.
If you didn’t yet start working – I’m happy you came across this article 🙂
8 Ways to Build a Strong Connection with Your Kids While Working Full Time
- Let the dishes wait: really. This is the most important lesson in connection 101 for busy moms. The house doesn’t have feelings. Laundry doesn’t have feelings. Dishes don’t have feelings. This simple fact makes all these objects secondary to our children. A house with children and working moms will never be as clean as a house without children. And it’s 100% OK. Really. It is.
- Let all feelings be: true, you, too want a calm evening. But often, it won’t happen and your children will show their frustration from their long day without you. Hear them, see them, feel them. It is not your job to make them feel better, your job is to let them feel. And know that they are not alone. Acceptance is the single most important strategy to build an unbreakable bond with your child. And there’s a bonus here: once you begin allowing their feelings, you’ll start treating your feelings with the same grace. Don’t you want a bit less guilt, a bit less anger?
- LOVE BEDTIME: I know – you really want them to fall asleep. You have so much on your shoulders and so many thoughts are running through your head. I know. But all these thoughts make bedtime even longer. When we are not present, when we want something to end – it always lasts longer. Additionally – the little ones can feel it; they know when we are not fully there, and they protest it. Only with your acceptance, and joy, can they release their tension faster, trusting your presence, and fall asleep. Accepting this process does not only make it easier for you, but it actually makes it shorter. Give it a try 🙂
- Do as your little one says: this might sound off at first read, but when our toddlers “order us around” it’s because they NEED to know that their words and wishes matter. If you’re busy, working full time, and spending more time out of the house than you are at home – you might be experiencing a lot of these orders. If your child wants you to sit in a specific place, give him his water in a specific cup, or play something very specific – it is because he is not getting what he wants during the day and feels that his wishes don’t matter.
- Claim you thought of it first: whenever your child asks for your connection – tell him you already planned on it. He wants to play a game? “I was just about to offer you the same!”. Does he want a hug? “I was just about to come and squeeze you!”. The idea here is that connection is like water – the more thirsty we are, the more water would be the only thing on our minds. Once we learn that connection is always there for us – we are free to concentrate on other aspects of our lives.
- Make them part of everything you do: no matter what it is that you need to do, just a little bit of creativity will present you with some aspect of it that your little one can do, too. Making children feel part, let them know they belong, trust their abilities to do, is a great way to strengthen the connection when we don’t have the time to just be. Plus – it will allow you the time to do what you need to do (but don’t try to complete the task and refer to paragraph 2).
- Ask for Help: this is to elaborate on the previous paragraph – when children are asked to help the ones they love most – their hearts fly. Almost literally 🙂 It makes them feel seen, important, strong, and empowered like nothing else can. Ask them to help you with whatever you can, but please – completely disregard the result. The result has nothing to do with their heart’s pure intention. And it is indeed pure.
- Be grateful: you know how they say that gratitude makes what we have into enough? Well, I say that gratitude is a complete game changer. Everything that happens to us is something to be thankful for, as soon as we train our thoughts to see life this way – this is what life will become. A glass of water, a good word, an honest word, a hug – all these tiny things make life beautiful the moment we stop looking for the greater, and unachievable things.
Working Full Time and Building a Strong Connection with Your Child
It’s not easy, but it’s possible and it’s a journey more worthy than any other. The daily struggles and hardships often push parents towards standard methods of discipline, towards punishments and rewards that, sooner rather than later, push children further away from their parents and make all opportunities for cooperation and connection slip away.
Parenting using the method of Nonviolent Communication is not just peaceful parenting or positive parenting, term that are quite open to interpretation, but it is a language, a specific language of compassion that no human being can reject. We are what we feel. Our behavior stems from our needs and feelings. Understanding this is understanding life as it was meant to be.
I hope you found points to take away from this connection 101 for busy moms. Join my parenting support group on Facebook and take a look at what this means in real life. Hope to see you soon 🙂