Navigating Parenthood as a Young Working Mom

Feb 11, 2023

One Month Old Daughter

It is a chilly Saturday evening as I sit here in my couch, reflecting on the incredible journey of parenthood that I've been through so far as I am approaching 30. Over the past 7 years, I've had the privilege and responsibility of parenting our daughter alongside my very supportive husband. I've cried, failed and most importantly learnt a lot and grown in those many years.

The first few years of our daughter's development were filled with unpredictability in many aspects. From difficult sleep routines to frequent sicknesses but there were still beautiful moments that we loved and cherished. As she grew older, started kindergaten and thereafter primary school, I got to learn some tips that have been instrumental in helping me navigate parenthood in a more graceful way and show up as a sturdy leader.

I share these tips from the perspective of a working mom, who is constantly trying to balance being a good mother and growing my career in the tech space.

10 Strategies of Navigating Parenthood as a Working Mom

1. Wake up before your kids

As a mom, it is important to feed your body and soul in order to help you stay calm and regulate your emotions especially when your child is acting in a manner that agitates you. Waking up before your kids allows you to find time to engage in things that help you with this. This could range anywhere from an early workout, meditation and breathing exercises, seeking spiritual guidance - whatever works for you. You need to feed your body and soul in order to show up better for your kids and family.

2. Teach your kids to plan

Weekly Planning We've all read myriads of quotes that underscore the importance of planning in order to achieve any goal. Think about the long term impact of teaching your children to plan from an early age. I would even go ahead and suggest that you involve them in the planning. In my experience, planning with my daughter increases the motivation towards undertaking that activity. It is also okay if things don't go as planned, what's important is that you put in some thought towards achieving something and you planned for it.

3. Teach your kids to help with chores

This may sound obvious to anyone who was brought up in a household where doing chores was part of the daily routine. However, in this modern day, that seems to be fading away as children are allowed to spend all their time playing video games or watching TV while a nanny or the parents do all their chores. I strongly believe that children should help with chores as this builds a sense of responsibility that we all need as we grow up to become adults. Let your child make their own bed, cleanup the table after meals, wipe and arrange their own study tables e.t.c

4. Teach your kids to wake themselves up

One Month Old Daughter I'll admit that I learnt about this a little late into the journey. Even so, it has been so crucial to my morning routines when getting ready for school. As a parent, one of the skills you need to build in your child is independence. One way to do that is to get them to wake themselves up. You need to do this at an age early enough before they become resentful about waking up early in the morning to go to school. Involve them even in choosing an alarm clock that they really like and buy it for them. Even though you start late like I did, you can cajole them about how much fun it would be if they'd get themselves up instead mommy clomping into their bedroom to get them out of bed with a lot of fuss.

5. Use a reward mechanism to encourage good behaviour.

We all love to get a reward as adults. It's no different for children. In order to encourage more of the good behavior in your child, use a reward mechanism. This method has been proven to yield good results. It's no surprise that children in kindergaten get excited when the teacher puts a "You're a star!" or "Good job" sticker on their books. It makes them exemplify the same behaviours that got them the stickers. The reward doesn't have to be something tangible, it could be a cinema experience of their favourite children's movie.

6. Allow your children to express their emotions fully (especially sad emotions)

When your child is experiencing a sad moment, the best thing you can do as a mom, is to give them a hug and allow them to feel their emotions fully. Do not try to dismiss or water down their emotion as being ludicrous. At their age, what seems so simple to an adult like "My friend didn't want to talk to me today" or "My best friend laughed at me when I lost my hairband in the playground" feels so real to a child. By allowing your child to express their emotions, you're creating a psychological space environment that they can be vulnerable in and this builds trust.

7. Listen and glean from the experiences of other parents

As a parent, it is important to realize that you're not the first parent neither will you be the last parent in the world. Therefore it is important to read, listen and learn from other parents about strategies that could help you in your parenting journey. This could be from your own mother, other mothers around you or even incredible resources on the internet that are based on scientific and psychological research. My personal favourite resource is the Good Inside membership and podcast by Dr. Becky. Go check it out!

8. When spending time with your kids, be fully present

As working mom, it can be difficult to find time to spend with your child besides the mundane routines that are part of their daily lives. When you do find time to to engage in an activity with your child, like playing basketball, going on a walk or even visiting an amusement park, be fully present with them. Disengage from your phone, social media and all other distractions and listen to connect fully with your child. Even though they may last a short while, such moments help to build a deep relationship with your child.

9. Take time away from your kids

It is extremely important for any mom(or any parent really) to take time away from your kids and fulfill their own personal needs. As mothers, we're naturally wired to spend time serving others, especially our families. This can sometimes leave us feeling depleted as we don't find time to fulfill our own needs. It is therefore important to make time for this. You will need a strong support system to achieve this, could be a supportive spouse, a family member or friend that you can entrust with your child so that you can make time to go get your hair and nails done, meet a friend for lunch or anything that refuels your happiness and leaves you rejuvenated. If you can afford, you can hire someone to take care of your kids - and when you do so, please treat them with respect.

10. Accept that it's okay to have a bad day

Despite your best efforts to be a good mother, there are days you're going to mess up, yell at your kids or do some things that you immediately regret after you've done them. In such times, all you can do is to do the work to repair the damage. It is important to give yourself some grace, take a deep breath and just whisper to yourself, "It was a bad day and it's okay - I'm not a bad mom".

The struggle of balancing motherhood while still managing to grow my career that can demanding at times is something that I continue to grapple with on a daily basis. In very challenging times, I lean on my family and friends who reassure me that I'm doing the best that I can with the resources I have. I would like to end with this amazing quote by Dr. Becky, "Even as I struggle and even as I have a hard time on the outside, I remain good inside".