I think one of the hardest struggles as a parent is finding the balance between career and family. As a Chief Engagement and Brand Officer at EHE, you could say my day is busy. Although, my first job is being a mother. When I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to continue my career in the workplace, but I also knew I wanted to always be involved in my daughter’s day to day. My daughter just started pre-K, so I was super pressed to come up with ways I could stay in her life even while I am at the office.
Below are my top 4 tips on being involved in my daughter’s life while I am at work:
1. Make her lunch/snack for class every day and leave something special.
My daughter loves the brand Annie’s bunny crackers. They make her so happy. So, I find a way to include them every day, either in her lunch or her snack. It brightens her day – I also include a little note that tells her I love her, to have an amazing day, and to eat all her lunch!
2. Include a family photo in their backpack.
I thought it was cool that her pre-K teacher asked that we include a family portrait for her to hang in the classroom. So, I thought why not put another one in her backpack for when she’s scared or feels lonely? She told me as I was putting her down the other night that while she doesn’t look at it all the time, she knows it is there, which brings her comfort. Sometimes when she is having a rough day that makes her feel better. I have to say I feel the same, when I look at my picture of her on my desk at work!
3. The out of town gift.
Fortunately, I don’t travel very much for work, but when I do it is usually for 4+ days. That’s a long stretch for my family and my daughter really takes it hard. So, I have come up with a game that if she can help me keep count for the “overnights” (nights where we’re a part), I will bring her a present for each. Sometimes, it’s just a cool pencil or an awesome geographical tee or a coloring book. It’s not really about one gift, but it’s about the collection of gifts that provides a tangible example on “mom’s exploration”. This gives her something to look forward to and having her participates in the ‘count-down’ helps take the sting out of not being there.
4. The Peach and The Pit Discussion.
Some call it the “sweet and the sour” or the “best and worst” – but, my daughter loves peaches and I love to use it as the example for her to share the best part of her day (the peach) and the not so good part of her day (the pit). We do it every night at the dinner table, which is when I hear about the intricate details of her day. I love it and it keeps me close to her. The routine of dinner time chatter also provides her comfort; regardless of how hard I work… she knows that I care, I’m invested and that she’s my favorite person.
For me, creating and maintaining a routine for my daughter has allowed me to stay present in my child’s life while also driving results in my professional life. Interjecting spontaneity is easier because the routine gives me comfort and a platform to brainstorm great surprises. Remember, your child loves you and just wants to know that you are thinking about them. So, give yourself a break (no mom guilt for working) and spread a little sunshine and happiness on the person who loves you most – your child.
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