By Erin A. Kurt
The one thing working moms have in common is that they're busy ladies with a lot on their plate. The second thing they have in common is that they feel guilty a lot of the time. One of the main sources of that guilt comes from the feeling that they don't have time to spend quality moments with their children; "life is just a race" moms tell me.
A very important thing for working mothers to understand is that it doesn't take much to satisfy their child's need for attention, and if just a few things are put into place, they can be guaranteed that they are giving their child all they need to.
What are those things?
Well, we all know that children need focused attention in order to feel loved. And, if they feel this focused attention on a regular basis, they are better behaved and happier kids to be around. The point then is to create moments of focused attention.1. Create a ritual. The definition of a ritual is: a series of actions regularly and invariably followed by someone. With this in mind try to think of what small ritual you can create with your children that can happen everyday, without fail. Perhaps each morning you and your children light a candle (or turn on battery operated ones) at the breakfast table and you share your intention for the day. Perhaps you do and say certain things each night at bedtime. Whatever it is, keep it simple; the more simple, the more impact it has.
Here are seven ways working moms can give their child focused attention when they have little time to give:
2. Schedule one-on-one time. Working moms need to be organized. Carry this organization through to spending one-on-one time with each of your children once a month. Brainstorm activities you and your child would like to do together then once a month pull one of those ideas and schedule it on your calendar. It doesn't have to be long; 30-60 minutes is all it will take. (Children who I surveyed told me this!)
3. Plan a theme night. This is one of my favourite things to do. Choose a country and plan a family evening around the theme of this country. For example, if you choose Japan, your family can brainstorm costumes, music, dishes to cook, movies to watch, etc. Plan these theme nights every 4-6 months and just watch the bonding that occurs!
4. Make reading together YOUR thing. What could you do to make reading a special event between you and your children? Could youread a chapter book out loud each night for 15-20 mins after dinner? Could you cuddle in bed each night and read them a story? Could you make up a story each night or save this for Sunday night?
5. Bake on the weekend. Get a great cookbook (choose it together) and bake one thing each weekend from the book. Think, "Julie and Julia", the movie with Meryl Streep. How exciting would it be to bake through a cookbook (baking book) and experiment together?
6. Make grocery shopping YOUR thing. Create a tradition that after the weekly grocery shop you all go for a hot chocolate or special drink.
7. Go to the Library. Create a special tradition around the Library.How about Friday after the school pick being your time to go hang out at the library and collect books? Or, does your library have weekend reading, rhyme or story times? Be sure that your kids choose their books first so that they have something to look at as they respectfully give you time to browse.
As you can see, all of my ideas are based around keeping things slow, simple and meaningful. You don't have to have all the time in the world to spend with your kids, it's just about making the time you DO have, count.
Erin Kurt, B.Ed, spent 16 years as a teacher and nanny around the world. Now, she applies her expertise as a parenting expert and author of Juggling Family Life and The Life Balance Formula. You can learn more about Erin and her simple, loving parenting method, and subscribe to her weekly parenting tips e-zine at erinparenting.com. You'll also receive Erin's free video series "8 Secrets to Stress-Free Parenting", packed with parentings tips!