Miscellaneous

Work-Life Balance: Advice For Mothers

The number of working women in Pakistan is higher today than it was in the last two decades and the trend is ascending. Presently, women are proving themselves more competent and active for different reasons like financial uplift of a family, staying positively engaged, assisting a family enterprise, taking up jobs as a passion, and many others to name. Many working women pursue careers throughout life, over a span of time during which they also nurture children from birth till adolescence. Managing a job with household chores is no easy task, it requires immense multitasking capability, time management and fair judgment. One of the most challenging stages of a working woman’s life is managing teenage children. Raising successful children is of paramount importance and is equally testing.
Working mothers usually complain that workplace obligations hinder their responsibility fulfillment at homes. The 24-hour day seems insufficient to most mothers who manage office and homes, simultaneously. The unmet expectations that working mothers set at either place leaves them with an inner guilt of disappointment and low self-esteem. However, the best fit is achievable if working mothers take a few steps. Following tips may be helpful in this regard.
The Best Fit Between Offices Versus Home
Many working mothers idealize a total work-life balance, while having teenage kids at home. This assumption should be withdrawn in favor of a successful balanced life. In most scenarios, accomplishment lies in optimally investing time at workplace and at home. The reality is that there will be many situations where working mothers need to invest more quality time with kids, and a lesser yet more productive time at the workplace. At regular intervals, attention should be paid to priorities at home and at the workplace, and the best fit can be achieved without compromising on performance in either. One must keep evaluating performance at both fronts, but priorities should be set fairly and rationally. This attitude encompasses effective utilization of time, without delays and incompetence. 
Nothing is ‘Perfect’
One must accept the reality that all cannot be perfectly done! There are always sacrifices one must make, opportunity costs to pay and one finally must accept the reality with a big heart. Having teenagers at home dictates on greater responsibility. Working women should try their utmost, but no outcomes can be assured as per plan. Well suited schedules must be outlined for children to carry out their chores. A best fit should be managed for children’s work and play. There should be delegation of authority, which should increase sequentially in a geometric pattern over time. Authority should increase from few tasks per day to many as they grow through the teenage years. This has a very positive outcome for children’s personality development as well as task management skills. It makes them more rational and reliable with time. As they start to feel elevated, teenagers become ready for the practical part of life and this gives a greater relief to the working mother. The outcome may never be as perfect as planned however, but there definitely is confidence building and efficiency.
Expect Optimally, Not Optimistically
The average working mother usually exasperates and moans at unachievable expectations. In such a scenario we usually tend to have already set quite over-anticipated outcomes from children, family and bosses. This trio leads us into a state of anxiety. This can be avoided and the same situation can be transformed into a satisfying deal by keeping realistic expectations. While raising teenagers children who usually have very complex demands, handling their multi-faceted issues and challenges is imminent. Working mothers need to focus on the brighter side of their life and inculcate self-confidence by not wasting time and feeling guilty. Working mothers should celebrate victory in making each day a success, with the best balance of work and home. Now this ‘best’ varies drastically from person to person and one needs to define the best achievable in given circumstances and hence try to achieve that. The targets should be realistic and supportive rather than being a template of an idealized notion. The nearest you land to it, the more satisfied you become emotionally and socially.
Not Everybody Can Always Be Happy
Working women must remember that they cannot always make their kids happy with everything around them. Setting rules and standards is important! It is needed even more for teenagers. This includes layouts for expected behaviors, study time allocation, timely meals, necessary physical activity, house help, sibling assistance, expected relationship guidelines, cleanliness and much more. There are times when children feel reluctant to fulfill obligations. In such scenarios working mothers need to peek into those matters and resolve the cause for differential behaviors in teenagers. Intermittent intervention in a child’s routine is unavoidable in order to ensure long-term success of the family. Children need mentorship and assistance continually and mothers must seek time from their routines and provide counseling as and when required.
Never Compromise on ‘Self’
Many of us neglect our own endeavors in the pursuit to make things happen according to a set of ‘unrealistic’ expectations. Outcomes will be everlasting if goals are set right, i.e., they involve a productive focus on the ‘self’. Mothers must give time to their own comfort and ease. Working mothers should take a good night’s sleep, do ample physical exercise and indulge in self-grooming. After all children want to see their mother happy, healthy and contented. A working mother with high self-esteem will do miracles at home and at work. 
Seeking Help and Support
One must not be shy in asking for a helping hand. Support and assistance should be encouraged in order to make things happen for better. In the Pakistani family set-up, support systems already exist in the form of grandparents, uncles and aunts who can lend a hand. This can be very helpful in tough times like coping with extra stress during annual closings when office workload is at the peak. Similarly, spouse support should be encouraged and assistance should be sought tactfully in order to even out stressful situations. The same should be compensated later by giving quality time to children. Quality refers to the choice of activities, the time dedicated, and level of interest as well as positive engagement of teenagers. Plan activities together and do not alienate children while making everyday decisions of their interest. Mutually sought out activities greatly relieve children of boredom and promise happier children. 
Effective Communication
This last tip will do the trick. Mastery of communication skills is very critical while dealing with teenage children. It is significant to keep them engaged and give them the space to exercise sufficient freedom. Communication barriers can have very drastic outcomes; therefore, mothers should ensure regular meaningful talks with children. Through effective communication anger management should be exercised and patience must be inculcated in children and vice versa. The same holds good while tackling situations at workplace. This will efficiently curb with stressors that are imminent in teenagers. Effectively communicating on regular basis with teenagers helps resolving conflicts thus avoiding violent behaviors. 
Working mothers who know the importance of a positive home environment must gauge their priorities to create the best fit between home and work. HH


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