Asking For a Friend | Chapter 42
Advice from Babe to Babe
In this week of Asking For a Friend, the advice is centered around the ups and downs of making it work as a hustlin’ Mama.
When my kids were younger, I hired a family friend to watch them. Then, I found a daycare that was pay-by-the-hour. Then, extended day, YMCA and summer camp now that they’re in school. I also have a solid group of friends and family thankfully. You get really good at logistics after becoming a mom!
I’ve always made sure my employers know my family comes first—it‘s important to have that conversation upfront. If there’s a way to get some flexibility in your schedule, take it. I also make sure that when I’m at work, I work. If I have an event, I tell them as far in advance as possible. Emergencies/ conflicts come up, but, in my experience, if you’re responsible and communicate openly, most people understand.
Last, just know it’s hard and there’s always some “mom guilt” involved. You’ll miss some things, which sucks, but your child will be fine even if you don’t make it to every event.
I have been fortunate to work for bosses who believe family comes first, but my current role requires me to be on call pretty much all the time. I actively work to manage expectations with leadership, letting them know up front when I have a conflict. I do this by saying things like, "I have to walk out the door by 5:03 to make sure I get my kids on time, but we can continue this via phone," and, "I'm unavailable between 6:00 and 8:30, but as soon as I get the kids down, I'll plug back in and take care of this."
The biggest challenge is overnight trips, and I have essentially just had to get OK with telling my boss I can't go because I have young kids. I've only had to do that twice, but being direct, candid and offering solutions for how I can still help even though I'm not there seems to keep my boss happy.
—AMANDA HANDLEY, CONTRIBUTOR
Until you have kids, you never fully understand the stress that comes with it. Cut yourself some slack. Raising a human is no easy feat. If you weren’t stressed about it all, you wouldn’t be a good mom—or employee.
Try to remember when explaining why you’re acting/ looking/ feeling like a hot mess that people without kids don’t really get it. Be patient with them and make an effort to spend time together still, and not to only talk about kids. It’s sometimes nice to be reminded you’re not simply a mom. Also, seek out a group of mom and working mom friends. They’ll understand your situation and let you vent or talk about babies without getting bored or annoyed.
I think being open about things is the best you can do. Or, you could ask them to babysit your kids while you go destress—that will certainly give them a glimpse into your situation. (I'm only half kidding!)
—AMANDA HANDLEY, CONTRIBUTOR
You know the part in the airline safety demo when they tell adults to put on their masks first? That is the best advice. You really can’t be a good mom if you never take time for yourself. I think the trick is to ask for help and take advantage of any time you can. You probably know someone who would love to babysit for an hour or two, or you could find a daycare that charges hourly or try doing a trade-off with another mom friend and watch each other’s kids for a little while. When you do get time, use it to do something good for you (not fold your laundry or scrub a toilet). Instead, do something to make yourself feel good, whether it’s reading, napping, working out or getting a massage. That little bit of time can make a huge difference.
At least once a week I take time for myself. Sometimes my grandmother watches the girls and sometimes I have a local teenager I was lucky enough to find watch them (I found her through the Jax Moms Blog Facebook group; they have Facebook groups specific to where you live, too!) I take at least three to four hours and just do whatever (movies, dinner with friends, dinner alone, a date, coffee, blogging etc.). I’ve been doing this for about two years now. It was an adjustment for my girls and I tried my best to explain to them, in a nice way, that mommy needs free time too and they won't make me feel bad about it (because they will try). It has given me a chance to feel like an individual again, and I’m not as stressed out when I take time. Just recently, I’ve added taking one day off a month while the children are in school so I can just lay around the house if I want or focus on anything I need to outside of work.
—DOMONIQUE JACKSON, BABE #198
I made a promise to myself that—no exceptions, no excuses—I would leave the office during lunch at least three times a week and go run. It’s such a gift to have that hour when no one is asking me anything or needs something from me. I come back ready to tackle the afternoon and then to be present as a mom after work. It makes me a better doctor and mother to have that “me-time.” Maybe for you it means carving out an hour after the kids are in bed or getting up an hour earlier, but you can find time for yourself a couple hours a week if you make it a priority.
—JODY JOYNT, BABE #41
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!