by Jeanne Sager
Most of the time, I love being aworking mom. I work because it puts food on our table (and in my daughter's belly), but also because I find it fulfilling. But a long day at work drains you. And then you come home to your child and still want to give them your all as a mother.
If you ever get the feeling that your quality time with your kiddo is being sucked away by the time you spend making dinner, doing laundry, and running the bathtub, join the club.
And then stop worrying about it. There are plenty of ways to be a working mom and still stay connected with your child, even after a long day at work. Sometimes you just need to think a little out of the box:
1. Family game night. Why do I feel like people used to do this all the time but no one does it anymore? Maybe it's more that people don't talk about it? Anyway! We started playing board games with our daughter during a power outage one night, and I realized just how much fun it was for all of us -- one of the rare things everyone in the house enjoyed doing.
2. Plant something. Something as simple as growing a tomato plant together is not only educational, but gives you something to do together, from the actual planting to watering to weeding ... it's like the gift that keeps on giving.
3. Play dinnertime games. You're already eating dinner anyway, so kill two birds with one stone -- try some mealtime games to spice up the conversation and get the kids giggling ... and talking about their day.
4. Feed the birds. Set up a birdfeeder outside your window, and check it daily with your kids. This is an other educational idea, but it also gives you something to talk about, especially with kids who are hard to draw out after a long day of pre-school!
5. Start a community service project. Teach your kids about giving back while you do something for the good of others too. It could be something simple that you can do in one night, such as visiting the local animal shelter on your drive home to drop off a bag of dog food, or you can plan something ongoing that you can do in dribs and drabs when you have time, such as clearing out their toybox to donate gently used items to the local domestic violence shelter.
6. Color. Not exactly creative? Yeah, well when was the last time YOU sat down and colored in a coloring box instead of letting them do it all? It's actually very therapeutic, and if you're side-by-side, coloring in your own little books, you have a captive audience to talk to them about their day.
7. Play car games. Do you pick the kids up and drive while staring straight ahead, just willing the traffic to disappear from in front of you so you can get home? Do you try asking them about their day and find it's like pulling teeth? Try playing the same car games you'd play on longer road trips -- it will get them laughing, and hopefully talking. If nothing else, they'll make the car rides memorable in the years to come.
8. Scrapbook together. You know all those photos you have always meant to put in albums? Ask the kids to HELP you with it. Albums complete AND kid bonded with.
9. Watching funny videos online. Laughter is the best medicine, right? So pull the kid on your lap, pull out your laptop, and get giggling. Even if it's just for 15 minutes.
10. Teach them to cook. Don't let them being underfoot while you make dinner annoy the pants off of you. Put them to work! I realized recently how much fun my kid really is when she'sgot an apron on!
What do you do after a long day at work to stay connected with your kids?
Image by Jeanne Sager
At dinner time, we have a "what was your favorite part of the day?" conversation. That way, we can connect and check-in. I also ask if they had a "not-so-favorite part of the day."
We also have a time to do chores together. When it's relaxing time (TV time), sometimes we watch shows together. Right now we are watching America's Got Talent.
I do many of these actually. I have them help me a lot in the kitchen. Even if it's just putting in a little of this and a little of that, or helping me stir something in a bowl. Every year they help me with our tomato plants. We water together, then everyday they check for red ones. We've also been doing board games. Once at daycare I showed up to find them playing Hi Ho Cherry-O. I never realized how much they liked games. We went right down to the toy store that day, and picked out a whole bunch. We also color and do a lot of art activities. I get ideas from daycare and my son's teacher.
we do a lot of these. i actually did four of these today (we painted, raced cars around the house, watched funny videos, and baked a pie!). lol! but it's definitely true - working moms have to make a specific point to create those memories. it's hard when you're tired and desperate for some alone time, but it's so important and so rewarding for everyone.