TIPS FOR WORK FROM HOME MOMS - THINGS I'VE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY! - Sasha Müller
South Africa isn’t exactly right up there with other countries, when it comes to supporting working moms. We’re also a nation that doesn’t offer considerable paid family leave, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only underscored the pressures on today’s working mothers. With millions more parents working from home, often with children in remote or hybrid learning models, the line between work and family is blurry at best.
If you are a work from home mom right now, firstly and foremost, the important thing to know is that you are not aloneand to congratulate yourself for the job you have done so far.
Being a working-from-home mother during the pandemic is an exhausting role to fulfil. Juggling work, chores, and spending time with the kids has caused burnout and led to a large number of women quitting their jobs, too. I should know, I felt that, a good part of last year.
While many have turned to wine, shared memes and the occasional scream, these coping mechanisms barely scratch the surface of supporting working mums through this reality. The mental load can impact work performance and lead to mental health challenges if left unchecked. It’s a widespread crisis that we, as a society, have not properly articulated, acknowledged or addressed.
Being a work from home mom, is the art of being the consummate juggler; maintaining the professionalism demanded by work commitments, and being a 24 hour a day mom, cook, nurse, educator, supporter, school homework assistant, guide, friend and shoulder to cry on, all at the same time! It’s not for the faint of heart, but is a reality!
While we can only hope that the situation brightens up for all of us, I wanted to pass on some tips that took me a long way and hopefully will help you too as a work-from-home mom.
Self-compassion: Be your own caring friend
Self-compassion is an important tool in times of anguish, grief and distress. Most of us find it hard to accommodate all our responsibilities into a 24-hour workday and amid this, treating ourselves well, often gets put off to a later time. Practicing self-compassion and talking to yourself like you would to your friend, mother, or close colleague ,will help in reducing anxiety, stress, and loneliness.
Aren't we all in a race to become the perfect mother and the perfect employee? In a normal scenario, balancing work and home could have been less challenging, but working from home often leads us to do what we perceive as half-baked business in both roles. While striving to do your best, understand that you need not be "perfect" and simply trying your best, is good enough, too.
Ask for Help.
Another peril of trying to be a master of several trades is wanting to do it all — without help. It took me some time to accept that seeking help is not a sign of weakness and that it in fact helps me function better. Asking a trusted friend to babysit your child or dividing chores with your partner will help maintain sanity!
While this can seem absurd when you don't have ample time to balance out the tasks at hand, self-care is one that you should not put on the back burner. A hot shower, candlelit bath, manicure, or reading your favourite magazine may just be sufficient to uplift your mood.
Lastly, remember that you needn't perfect it all and it is fine to take a breather once in a while!