How Do You Teach Your Kids To Give You a Moment To Breathe?
After an unbearably long day at work you get home and all you want to do is collapse. Unfortunately you can’t because your kids, who have been with the baby sitter since coming home from school, are crawling all over you the minute you open the door. They are literally clamoring for your attention and of course your baby sitter has high tailed it out of there!
So what’s a single Mom to do? How can you help your kids understand that Mommy needs a little time to decompress after work without hurting their feelings?
According to Eluise Gambino, leadership and personal success coach most working Moms are in conflict with balancing self-care and giving their children their undivided love and attention. However, this phenomenon is especially true for single Moms.
“Women are innately nurturers; we want the best for our children and sometimes we lose what’s best for us in that mix,” says Gambino. “Single Moms need to strike a healthy balance between caring for themselves, and their kids so that neither one of them gets hurt.”
So, how do institute such a precedent when you walk through the door and despite the fact that you may need time to reenergize and regroup from a long day at work, your kids want you mind, body and soul at that very moment?!
Gambino believes as soon as you walk in the door, no matter what you are personally feeling, it is essential that you give your kids a solid five minutes of one-on-one, “I’m giving you my full attention” moments.
“Unless you have a splitting migraine or you’re ready to pass out your initial contact with your kid needs to be a loving moment,” says Gambino. “When kids get to share their day with you, those first five minutes of emotional and physical contact will set tone for the rest of the night.”
Communicate. After your five-minute love fest you’ll need to communicate with your kids and create a nighttime plan and course of action together. Children do best in an environment when they know what to expect.
“When you are clear about what your expectations are and what you will or won’t tolerate, you’ll typically get the results you want,” says Gambino.
Therefore you’ll need to set up a time schedule with them, so that you all get an opportunity to manage this precious after-school/after-work time period.
“Tell your children, ‘for these next fifteen minutes I want you to sit here and do your homework, while I go upstairs and wash up, and when those minutes are up, we’ll make dinner together,’ ” says Gambino. “By giving your kids a defined task to accomplish, you’re giving them an opportunity to prove to both you and themselves that they can be responsible and feel accomplished. And of course the benefit is that you get those fifteen minutes to take care of your needs with little or no interruption!”
Be Consistent. Say what you do, and do what you say. You must remain consistent in your actions, behaviors and spoken words to create change. Once you’ve communicated effectively what your expectations are to your kids- you have to be consistent in what you expect from them.
“If you tell your kids that they need to begin the doing their homework in that 15-minute time frame, if, when you go to check on them, they haven’t gotten started you’ll need to be consistent in the consequences,” says Gambino.
Most importantly…Don’t forget to use your block of “Me” time wisely!
“Find a ritual that helps you transition from work to home mode, and don’t feel guilty about making that your priority,” says Gambino. “In order to be the best parent for your kids you have to give yourself those moments of self care. Do whatever you can within that timeframe to center yourself so that you’re able to be present for your kids. Remember quality time spent with your kids is what they remember most.”
For more information about Eluise Gambino, check out her website, www.changewishingintodoing.com. Gambino not only works full-time as a leadership and success coach but is also a full-time stepmom to her fiancé Pete’s three children, aged 15, 12 and 8, of whom they have full custody. As working professionals, their daily life revolves around creating a healthy balance of work, caring and spending quality time withthe children,and ultimately making time for themselves just as much of a priority.
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