It’s not easy balancing kids and work, but getting my head in the right place helps my heart when it struggles.
I think the word balance is unforgiving, as if nothing can ever fall. I prefer the word rhythm, which means some days are fast and some slow, and managing that tension is the reality of a life with work you care about, and kids you love.
On the days when I struggle, I hope sharing it, rather than pretending, shows them my humanity.
8 Ways This Working Mom is Fighting For Peace
1. Be present when I am present (parenting instead of managing): This means the phone is turned down and the multi-tasking tendencies are curbed. The kids aren’t projects, they are people, and need eye contact, to be heard, and have someone who is curious about their lives. Prioritization is the key skill needed here.
2. Believe God is their primary parent. He encourages, convicts, guides, and counsels (and uses me sometimes to do it.) It is critical I teach them to listen to God. He never leaves them, and can be the voice in their head telling them to go or stop. I can get in trouble when I think in my absence, they are “alone.” He is always with them, and the more I can do to foster their attachment to Him, the better.
3. Trust I am setting an example in how to engage with the world: I want them to see me offering my hands and gifts to a broken world. They are the most important part of my life, but they aren’t my whole life. As the children have gotten older, it’s been important for me to be honest with them when I find myself out of balance. They will spend their lives in the same dance, and the more vulnerably I can share of my journey, the more chance I have for discipleship.
4. Make time daily for connection and sharing: We, as a family, probably error on over-communication, but I make time to be alone every day, with every child. We share our “happys and crappys” of the day, I tell them what’s coming up and why, I ask open-ended questions. Touching base and just knowing where they are, isn’t enough. Knowing who they are and how they feel is a daily objective.
5. Over-explain where/what/why I work: This means everything from the passion I have for my job, to the necessity of income for our household. I want them to know what I do, and why I do it. The outcome is both work we can be proud of and funds to cover expenses. Going to work isn’t rejection, it’s provision.
6. Work as a team with my husband: Todd is an incredible father, and when I rely on him to share responsibilities, it’s a gift to our house, not a failure on my part. Woman can put pressure on themselves to do it all, but the truth is, our teamwork is an example for them on how modern households work.
7. Make heroic efforts towards small details: Love is in the details. Remembering to ask about something important to them, buying the snack/shirt/poster board they need, and showing up when it’s easier not to, says loud and clear: what’s important to you is important to me. I see you.
8. Share responsibilities with them, so time is spent on relationship and not task. I ask my kids to do a lot (ex. their own laundry), because I want to make sure my time is prioritized in relationship. When they help out, they feel a part of a household rhythm that doesn’t work for them, but with them.
Together, we can confess where there have been missteps and misunderstandings and ask Jesus for the strength to do it better tomorrow. I pray the end result is a family who comes together and listens to each other -- a family who have the right words and experiences to foster connection and identity in line with a biblical worldview.