This story was contributed by our contributor Demetra Ganias, founder of Ganias Media Lab.
With Fall and the holidays upon us, our kids are knee-deep in the grind. The leisurely pace of summer is long gone, replaced by school, activities, and homework. The transition has also been a significant one for us as moms: many of us have returned back to a more aggressive work schedule, or are spending more time at the office for the first time in a long time. These abrupt changes can cause conflict at home, revealing a clear message: our kids miss us! This can take many forms, from tantrums to clinginess. The result? Mom guilt—and if we have learned one thing since we become mothers, it’s that mom guilt serves absolutely no one.
Here are 3 tips to help steer the household conversation and mood from conflict to cooperation.
- Celebrate your wins…out loud!
It’s critical for our children to know not only what we do but also that we love doing it.
Even if some work days are difficult or frustrating, let’s reiterate why we do it: to contribute our talents, find validation in our success, and contribute financially to our families. These are worthy and wonderful wins to showcase! If kids only hear us being stressed, distracted, or angry they’ll grow even more resentful of our absence. So, be straightforward about telling your children the highlights of your day. Use words of emotion – fulfilled, excited, important – to say how you feel. Did you land a new client? Help a colleague succeed? Learn something new? From big to small, celebrate your victories!
- Thank your kids for their sacrifice.
What are we looking for? More cooperation. Less pushback. For that we need connection!
Invite children to feel part of your success. (I.e: nix the phrases that directly say or insinuate that it’s “too bad” or “get over it.”) Even if children have no choice, give them credit for helping the household run smoothly: “Thank you for going home with grandma after school. I love that you’re part of my team.”
“I know it’s difficult that I don’t see you every morning, but I have so much fun playing together at night.” “I am so proud of you for coming home in the afternoon and starting your homework on your own. I admire how independent you are.” Giving our kids an important role in our family plan will only make them more willing to contribute.
- Give yourself credit for what you bring to the family.
“What’s in it for me?” They can’t help it… kids naturally live in an ego-centric world. Our strategy should be to emphasize the upside that comes from our absence. Are you the breadwinner? Are you investing more time in a side hustle? Explain in clear terms what that means for your family both day-to-day and for their future. Your hard work always translates into a blessing for your family, so spell it out! Older kids will grasp this cause-and-effect relationship more easily. For younger children, talk about some perks that they experience because you work. Whether it’s an extra night out to dinner each week, an additional sport or music lesson, or a vacation, don’t hesitate to say how excited you are to provide it! Showing gratitude for what you contribute will model the excitement we want to hear back.
About Demetra Ganias
Demetra Ganias is the founder of Ganias Media Lab. Her expertise propels clients to transform their careers through public speaking and media training. She elevates her clients to become bold, memorable advocates for themselves and their causes. Demetra is a journalist, a former television news anchor and reporter, and a mother of three. She’s also a reporter and host for Fairfield County LOOK magazine, showcasing her trademark storytelling in the community she loves most.