When I went back to work, I was very concerned about how my relationship with my children would change. Having stayed at home with them for a few years, I knew them like the back of my hand and had become quite adept in all ways of caring for them. Thinking about how it would go as a working mom made me worry about whether the closeness we had would fade away over time as I let Momma Daycare take over.
Now, I am almost four years in and I can tell you that my relationship with my kids is wonderful and does not seem to have suffered any damage as a result of my working outside of the home. I have to say, though- it takes some effort. I work 8-5pm, Monday through Friday, and counting the commute, I am without my kids for a good ten hours every day. With their bedtime being 8pm, we are left with a a very small window of time during the week to be together. I definitely had to give some thought as to how I would still feel like a present mom to my kids when my mind would be in 1000 different directions in the course of a typical work day. Here are 10 ways working moms can feel closer to their kids:
1. Keep Photos Of Them At Your Desk
My fave photo ever of my kids- and it is at my desk.
This may seem like sort of a "duh" but truly, it is the best idea. I have overhead cabinets at my desk that I tape all kinds of pictures too- mostly, from vacations we've been on so I can be doubly in my happy place when I look at them.
2. Call And Email Your Daycare Workers
There have been many times where I simply email our daycare girls to say I miss my kids and wanted to know how the day was going and they will shoot me back a picture or tell me a little story. It makes me feel better to have access to them whenever I want.
3. Plan Special Outings For Weekends
This is more for slightly older kids that can understand what's going on. I will tell my kids all week about the fun things we will do together on the weekend and we will count down the days together. It's nice for us all to have something to look forward to while grinding out the work week.
4. Wear Something That Reminds You Of Them
My kids make me bracelets and necklaces all the time and I wear one to work some days and I love to glance down at it and remember my kiddo. For babies and toddlers, you could get a cute necklace with their initials or something that reminds you of them.
5. Find A Co-Worker To Blab To About Your Kids
I have certain co-workers (mainly, my managers) that I don't really discuss my kids with. I am there to do a job and I know they are not interested. This is why it is important for me to have a few co-workers that I know will always be willing to listen to me wax poetic about my little guys so I can feel like Mom for a few minutes while at work.
6. Spend Your Lunch Doing Something For Them
Sometimes, I will run out on my lunch and get them a big cookie from the grocery store or cool new Ninja Turtles toothbrushes. I like to run little Mom errands on days where the work stuff is overwhelming and ridiculous and it's fun to come home with a little surprise once in a while.
7. Have An Evening Ritual
Once we've all eaten dinner and taken care of baths and homework, it is time for books and chatting in their rooms. Sometimes, its Legos and chatting or Barbies and chatting but the point is, it's time dedicated to us being with them and focusing on them. I have had the best talks with my kids during this 30-40 minutes before they go to sleep and I know it relaxes us all.
8. Dance It Out In The Morning
Sometimes if my son seems grumpy in the morning, I will crank the B.O.B or Lady Gaga and we go to town for a few minutes. It puts a smile on his face and when we get to daycare, he is so excited to tell his teachers what silliness he's been up to. I then get to remember it all day, which is nice.
9. Have Car Fun
My kids love riding in the car with me over their father because I'M THE COOL MOM. We listen to the radio and dance in our seats (safely, of course, just a little wiggle here and there) and they love my singing. I think it makes us all feel close to know it's our own goofy little party every time we ride to and from daycare.
10. Visit Once In Awhile
Now, this definitely depends on what kind of kid you have. My son would not be able to handle it and would want to leave with me but my daughter would love a big hug and a quick chat and would be totally fine with me leaving afterward. Both daycare centers we have used have been very encouraging of parents visiting during the day so I have taken advantage in the past.
(Image: Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock)