Reem Alotaibi highlights the challenges that working mothers face during their career and shares strategies to overcome any obstacles.
Finding the balance between motherhood and a professional career is a challenge that many working women face.
Being called a mother is recognition in itself and a unique title mothers obtain in life.
It’s a blessing that creates joy and happiness for the entire family, it brings out the best in new mums and boosts their skills to a level they never thought possible.
However, this title demands such a variety of roles to be undertaken, especially for working mothers.
Dealing with guilt
Usually, one of the most difficult days for many working mothers is the day she has to leave her child for the first time and return to work.
At this point, some new mums reassess their priorities.
It’s hard to leave a young child, especially if they notice you're leaving or if they get sick.
Parental guilt and overthinking what’s best for their own children, as an ideal mother, is considered a common struggle, especially for first-time mothers.
There are a number of tips in order to overcome this guilt, starting with acknowledging such feelings and not letting them take over.
Remember, one of the main reasons for forging a career is to build a better future for your children.
Work-life balance has been identified internationally as a key success factor for working mothers.
However, in real life, implementation of a workable ‘work-life’ balance isn’t easy and can be considered a very stressful phrase!
So, how can we achieve this?
1. Prioritise tasks
Many tasks need to be completed during this period, and usually all at the same time.
But not all of them have the same level of importance.
The trick is to start with the most important things and be flexible, because some days everything will be easy to achieve and other days it won’t.
As a new mother, I didn’t wait until my child was asleep to start my tasks.
When at home, I'd do whatever I could, when I could, while my baby was awake.
I plan to involve the children when they’re a little older – I’m considering even giving them small roles to accomplish on their own.
By getting them involved, I hope to teach them to take responsibility and to share quality time with them.
2. Accept help
Sometimes, being a mother means you’re responsible for your children, your home and many other related duties.
But this doesn’t mean that mums MUST do it all by themselves.
Many working mothers feel pressure to do everything by themselves and this is usually just not plausible.
I no longer refuse an offer of help, either from a partner, family member or friend who I trust and can rely on.
It’s not a sign of defeat, and it’s healthy for a child to be socialised with other caregivers.
This gives me time to rest and reset.
3. Be positive
As a new mum, I surrounded myself with positive people and kept negative ones at arm’s length.
It’s ok to spare time for yourself, watch a film, have a spa day, catch up with friends, and much more.
I needed to fill my own cup to be able to fill my child’s.
Another bright side of being a working mother is that it teaches a child to take responsibility, be successful and manage time.
Mums can create their own happiness and lead by example!
Everyone has goals in their life and achieving these goals requires significant effort.
As a working mother, I continuously communicated my ambitions and exactly what help I needed to achieve them.
Especially my career ambitions.
If there’s no communication, people will make their own assumptions, which may be in conflict with their goals.
Communicate and keep moving forward. Even with baby steps, nothing’s impossible.
5. Identify boundaries
It’s important for mums to understand exactly what they want, and what’s good for them and their families.
Having a clear understanding of personal boundaries gives us the ability to understand what we can do, and what’s acceptable.
This gives the ability to know when to say yes and when to say no.
This goes a long way in creating a manageable work-life balance.
There’s no one right way to do things
There are many ways mums can achieve success in motherhood and at work.
I realised that it’s not about the number of hours spent with children – it's about the quality of the time spent together.
I reminded myself that I’ll always be their mother and the person they look up to in the future.
The ICE's Benevolent Fund can offer workplace and wellbeing support through a range of services available to members and their families. Some former members may also qualify for support.