How working mothers can balance back-to-school time
Here are some tips to help working mothers walk the tight-rope of focusing on their careers while sending their children back to school.
Finding the balance between work life and being there for your children can be a difficult balancing act for most working mothers. Staying on top of what your children will need for back to school shopping and making your presence known in their school can be almost impossible when you are also trying to advance your career. In a 2017 study by Reader’s Digest, they found that the average working mother officially “clocks in” for the day at 6:23am and clocks out at 8:31pm once their responsibilities with work and their children is over for the day. That is nearly 70 hours a week. On top of that, working mothers are usually expected to be the ones who are the most hands on with their children in school. So how can working mothers catch a break?
Holly Caplan, a mom, workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the D-ck Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World, has some great tips for working moms to juggle their careers while sending their kind back to school. The way she sees it, the majority of schools have not made it easy for the emergence of more women joining today’s workforce.
There is a lot of stress on working mothers to keep the family unit working like a well-oiled machine. But, is that really realistic?
“47% of the workforce is females and 70% of that is working mothers,” explains Caplan. “This is not uncommon now for moms to go back to work and to handle back to school with it. Don’t beat yourself up. I think as women we try to do everything. We think we can do it all and we can handle it all. And i think the message here is to give yourself some grace with staying on time and being organized. Know that you’re not alone.”
She suggest that by relying on online shopping for school supplies — and even pre-assembled meals like Blue Apron for dinner throughout the week— mothers can get back some valuable time to focus on maintaining their balance between work and family.
As a full-time employee and a full-time mom, there will be some things that will slip between the cracks. You might not be able to make it to that Meet the Teacher event because of an important work obligation, and that’s perfectly normal. Cut yourself some slack and take on what you can handle.
“Keep it simple and don’t sweat the small stuff because you will have time to fix whatever it is,” says Kaplan. “I have laundry sitting on my bed. It’s clean but it’s on my bed. It will get folded but I have to get my daughter back to school! I’ve got to prioritize what comes first and know that the other stuff will come together eventually. It will happen.”
Lastly, even if you feel overwhelmed, you should know that you are not alone in this. You should not have any guilt for missing out on school activities because chances are, there are many other parents who work just as much as you do. Make connections with other working mothers to set up playdates and to carpool to school functions so you can have all of your bases covered.