Tips for Working Mums: How to Be Fully Present When You Are With Your Kids

There are two types of working mother mentalities. One school of thought claims that working mums are far more likely to spend their time with their kids in a focused and unselfish way, dictated by the sentiment that their time with them is possibly more limited. The other camp cites the increase in the reliance of smart technology as having a detrimental effect on the time spent with the children. Never being able to demarcate the blurry line between work and home, perhaps with the added pressures of having to work harder to overcome prejudices of part time work, some working mums find themselves nose down in laptop or stabbing away at their Blackberry even before breakfast has finished.

How can busy working mums ensure that the time spent with their kids is spent in a fully focused way?

Make it a “task”. This may sound contentious: Who would consider that spending time with your own children could be considered a chore? This is not what this is about. A task is not necessarily a chore or something that is undesirable. However, tasks often are moved high in the list of priorities because of the perception that they are a requirement, something that must be done. If it helps, think of it as a goal. Too often, the reason that working mums struggle to be fully present with their kids, is because a work or home task has become urgent and has taken priority. If the time spent with the kids is considered in the same way, it then becomes the priority. Create a list of activities that you would like to do with your kids each week, capture them on a calendar and allocate time to them. Then stick to it!

Switch off the phone. Stop it bleeping and flashing. By responding immediately to every request and query you are setting untenable expectations for yourself. When you are with the kids, be with the kids. This tactic will also help your children understand the difference between working time and down time and will be far less likely to interrupt you on the phone during an important business call. Just think, they perhaps consider your answering of the phone during ‘their’ time is a rude interruption and therefore the behaviour is endorsed.

Get out of the house. Especially if your office is your home. It doesn’t need to involve costly entrance prices to theme parks; it just requires a change of scene. By making a big deal of the time, you are shifting expectations of both yourself and your children. Watch as their behaviour improves as the quality of your focus on them is heightened.

Be naturally curious. Of course children can natter on about the most ridiculously meaningless things on a very regular basis, and the temptation is always there to enforce a ‘quiet’ meal time to quell the maelstrom of noise in your head. Occasionally make it your target to find out things about your children you never knew, they will, at times, amaze you.
You’ll hear the cliché many times that the childhood stage is fleeting. As a working mother, it can feel like an eternity at times, however, there will come a day when suddenly the realisation hits that the kids have grown up. Ensure that you have the memories you’ll want to treasure.

Amanda Alexander is the founder and Director of Coaching Mums. Amanda is an ICF accredited coach, and for over six years, Coaching Mums has helped hundreds of working moms to balance their lives, get rid of guilt, get more time and have a lot more fun.