ChicExecs Senior VP of Elevate, Lydia Vargo, shares tips on how to explain your career to your kids on Forbes blog. Enjoy this highlight from the piece.
If you find yourself in the position of returning to work after a significant amount of time off, it can be a big adjustment for everyone. Children may not understand why you have decided to spend time away from them—or how it can affect their lives for the better.
No matter your children’s ages, it always helps to explain the situation and prepare your children for the changes ahead. For any mother diving back into the workforce, having these three conversations with your kids can help ensure a smooth transition from “mom” to “working mom.”
1. The What: Explaining The Meaning Of A Career
Your children may be used to getting all of your attention throughout the day. When you return to the office they will need to understand what it means now to “steal” your attention. By giving them an age-appropriate understanding of the “What, Why & How” of this chapter in your life, you can empower them to embrace it as well.
2. The Why: Discussing The Benefits Of Having A Mom With A Career
Once your children understand the definition of a career, they still might not embrace the idea of not having 100% of your time and focus.
That is why your second step should be to explain why this benefits everyone—especially them. Areas to highlight could include:
• Finances: Have your kids been begging you for a trampoline or gymnastics lessons? Explain that as a mom with a career, the family might be able to afford these extras! Work means the possibility of greater provisions for your kids. If you can help them see that your career equals some kind of payout, they’ll be a lot more supportive.
• Balance: Moms are people, too! It’s important to explain to kids that you also need time outside of the home. Just like your kids need hobbies outside of school, Mom might need some time to be more than just “Mom.” This can also be a great way to strengthen your kids’ sense of independence and responsibility.
• Modeling Healthy Habits: This one’s for you, Mom. It can feel gut-wrenching to leave the kids for work sometimes, but you can also demonstrate to your children why it’s a good move for your family. This might include the research indicating that sons of working mothers are more conscientious, while daughters of working mothers are more likely to build higher-achieving careers of their own.
3. The How: Demonstrating And Explaining The Effects On Your Daily Life
The final step in getting your kids ready for your return to the workforce is elaborating on how your career will change the day-to-day that they have experienced so far. The purpose of this is to become a united front since Mom won’t be around all the time.
A big component of this will be chores. Based on their age, you can ask your kids to help with appropriate household duties. That might mean asking tweens to help with dinner and cleanup, toddlers to pick up their toys or teenagers to cover laundry and pet care. There are even extraordinary apps that can help keep everyone on task.
With the percent of American employees working from home five days a week rising from 17% before the pandemic to 44% following the pandemic, more Americans than ever are facing the obstacles of cultivating a home office. In order to peacefully coexist with your kids as you work, there are some ground rules that will need to be established so that you can tackle your duties and preserve your sanity.
Read Lydia’s entire blog here.