How to Explain Why You Work Long Hours So Your Kids Don't Resent You
And actually get your kids excited about your job.
You don't have to feel bad about your long hours.
Being a parent means sacrifice. Sacrificing sleep, time out with friends and alone time, just to name a few things. For many working moms, work is also something you sacrifice because you want that extra time with your kids.
But it’s OK to accomplish your goals and put in those extra work hours. Society makes it out to be that if Dad works like this, it’s OK. But Mom? Not so much. However, I’ve always been a firm believer this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s OK to work and not feel guilty about it because there are ways to bring your kids into the process in a way that makes your work exciting to them.
Speaking from experience, I know many working moms have felt this guilt. I have—and that’s why I wanted to create ways to get rid of it. Whether you had kids at a young age, decided to go back to school or you’re dealing with the many difficulties that come throughout the years of being a parent, you shouldn’t let any of that stop you from living your dreams. Your kids need to see you reach them, so they know theirs are attainable. If you’re a victim of working mom guilt, here are ways to overcome it.
Both parents need to be on the same page about how to communicate your workloads with your child.
Having good communication with your co-parent is the most important thing for your kids to see, so make sure everyone is on the same page about the ups and downs that come with having a career or job. You need to be sure you and your other half are telling your child the same thing about your schedule and workload. Be honest with this communication, so that there’s no anger coming from one parent going into the ears of the child in the absence of you, the mother. Whether you are working long hours or going on business trips, explain it to your child. This work, time and travel you’re doing is to provide the best for them and allow for a more fun, comfortable lifestyle. If you’re upfront about all this, it will help all parties understand what and why you are doing what you are doing to excel at work.
Be open with your child about whether you're staying late, going to be gone, etc.
Seeing the trend here? It all comes back to open communication. If you work long hours or are going to be staying later than usual, let your child know, so they know what to expect. When you work long hours, find a 5- or 10-minute break during the day to FaceTime or call your child, so they can still see you. Maybe this time is spent just talking, or it’s spent helping them with homework. Either way, it shows you care. You may not be physically with them, but it’ll be time with you that they wouldn't have had otherwise. They may feel uncomfortable, but they’ll see you making an effort to communicate with them.
Other ways to communicate with them? If you’re traveling, have a geography session, so your child knows where you’re going. Watch a movie or documentary about where you’re going, or read a book. Whatever it is, it’s a learning experience for them and they’ll feel a part of your journey and can be more excited about your trip away. Celebrate the wins.
Whether it be a small or big win, include them in it! Did you get a promotion? Add a new client to the company you work for? Tell them! They’ll be both happy and proud of you, and see that the hard work you’ve put in was for a reason. This hard work helped you reach goals and sharing these wins with them will let them know it’s not done in vain.
Not only will they be able to celebrate with you, but it’ll also model good behavior. While the work-life balance may not be perfect, and there’s more of an emphasis on work, it shows how important hard work is and why you do it, so they understand that reaching goals shouldn’t just be handed to you. These successes come from hard work, and they’ll grow up knowing that they can do the same.
What it all boils down to is transparency and communication with your child. Kids need to know about goal setting and they need to see great examples so they grow up to set and reach theirs. It’s OK for mom to be human and have goals like everyone else. As long as you’re open about what it takes for you to reach your goals, communicate with them and bring them into the fold where you can, you’ll find your child will appreciate just how awesome you are as a mom and a professional and will become your cheerleader without feeling resentment.