Today, I’d like to welcome my friend Jenny from Express Bus Mama to the blog! I “met” Jenny through the Ask Away Friday series, and she quickly became one of those bloggers I think of as a friend, and not just a name behind the screen. She is a fellow working mom and writes all about the ups and downs that entails. What I love most about reading her blog is the realness that comes through in her writing. It always feels more like I’m hanging out with a friend than simply reading a blog when I’m over at her place. I was so glad Jenny agreed to guest post over here today!
One of the most challenging parts about being a working mother is that I often have to miss my son’s events, activities or field trips. While I don’t love this arrangement, it’s par for the course. After spending too much time feeling sorry for myself, I’ve made peace with the fact that I can’t be at every school play, baseball game or summer camp picnic. Here are some tips to help you out when work gets in the way.
- Have a prep session. Be open with your child and explain why you won’t be able to attend the event in question. That way they aren’t hoping you’ll be there or waiting for you to arrive. Kids are more understanding and forgiving when they are kept in the loop. Also use this time to make sure your child feels comfortable with the event in general. If your child is the solo at the school recital and your absence can’t be helped, it might be helpful to have a relative or good friend attend in your place. That extra bit of support will help calm any fears or anxiety your child may have about the event.
- Tag Team. Relive the activity through photos by asking a friend to take pictures of your child during the event. Have them send you the snapshots during or directly after the activity so you can feel like you’re right there with them. Offer to return the favor some time so your friend knows just how much you appreciate their assistance.
- Keep in the Know. It’s helpful to create a dialogue with your child’s teacher or group leader alerting them to your absence. This serves two purposes. First, the leader will be aware that your child may need an extra smile or word of encouragement during the event. Second, it gives you an opportunity to contact the teacher afterwards to see how your child did and what they enjoyed or disliked about the activity. This would be a great standard to set at the beginning of a school year or summer camp session.
- Recap. Now that you have photos of the event and a summary of how it went, you are prepared to have a great recap session with your child. Take a few moments when you first get home to hear what they got out of the activity and help calm any sadness they may have because you weren’t there. Mark particularly special events with a trip to the ice cream parlor or a movie night. If you missed out on a field trip, schedule a future family outing to the location. Then your child can relive the trip with you and act as your tour guide.
- Guilt Be Gone. As working moms we are just too hard on ourselves. There’s no shame in missing an activity because you’re busy providing for your family. In a perfect world we would be able to come and go from work as we please. Unfortunately, that’s just not an option for many of us. Instead of getting frustrated with circumstances we can’t change, it’s important to be proactive and make the most out of what our kids having going on in their lives, even when work calls us away.
Thank you for reading and a special thank you to Beth for having me today. Hopefully these tips will help you out the next time you find yourself missing something because of work. We’ve all been there!