{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Moms, how do you keep connected with your children while working consulting? I just started working full time after the birth of my first child (which was 3 years ago lol) and been worrying if eventually this job will take its toll on my relationship with my children. Is it actually doable to be a consultant and maintain a healthy relationship with kids?", "post_id": "619cef65188872002ce1fb90", "reply_count": 7, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "58f81646ae9f610010f869be", "bowl_name": "Consulting Moms" }

Moms, how do you keep connected with your children while working consulting? I just started working full time after the birth of my first child (which was 3 years ago lol) and been worrying if eventually this job will take its toll on my relationship with my children. Is it actually doable to be a consultant and maintain a healthy relationship with kids?

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I’ve got four kids ranging from ages 5 to age 11 and have been in consulting for their whole lives. It’s different at different ages, but here are a few things that worked for us at under 5. I think all parents go through what you are feeling, whether they are traveling or not, and it’s a big transition. - record you reading stories for them to listen to while you are not home (either because you are at work or traveling). My kids used to like to listen to those throughout the day - I tried to make the stories very dramatic or silly. - have special activities together that you do with regularity - it’s varied with my kids over time but taking a weekly class together, Saturday morning walks or playground trips, craft time or art class, favorite show that you only watch together, baking or cooking together, etc. I try to make time for these special rituals on the same day and time each week and it’s something we look forward to. - when I’m home, I am usually the one getting the ready in the morning so we get to spend a bit of time and then i block my schedule and take time to spend with them after school and eat dinner with my family. If I need to work after they go to bed, I do but that way I get some good hours in with them. - when you ask about their day, don’t ask ‘did you have a good day?’ It has always been more productive conversation when I ask things like who did you sit by at lunch, or what game did you plan after nap, etc. at that age. - after dinner we started playing games together as a family a lot. It’s been a great way to have family time without screens and we just keep shifting the games as the kids grow. - have boundaries at work. I know this has made my career progress a little more slowly than some others, but I’ve been pretty firm about them over the years and it’s paid off for me. I know it’s easier said that done and uncomfortable at times but very necessary for me.

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Thank you for sharing! Recording stories is a wonderful idea, I will try to record some of my children's favorites. Also, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who prefers to slow down at career progression to maintain work/life balance. This is actually one of my initial fears when deciding to go ba k to work, that people would perceive me as incompetent because I would not be as 'hardworking' as everyone else.

I think depends on your goals and mental bandwidth. My mom worked in hospitality growing up (long hours) and tbh I was never close with her. She was too busy to attend most of my events, stay on top what was going on in school (tests, deadlines, etc), cook meals, etc. When she had time we did do things together like artsy projects or go to the pool, but overall she wasn’t super in my face growing up. Made me really independent early on (did all my own laundry, learned to cook young, stayed on top of my own deadlines, organized my own transportation,etc) and helped me in the long run, but I don’t ever feel like she knew who I was as a person growing up. I will say that my moms personality isn’t exactly “organized” so maybe if she had been, it would’ve made things easier. Also my mom is French and culturally it’s not really a “thing” to be super connected, so as long as i was “fine”, she was “fine”. My mom did a great job overall given her circumstances but that was the reality. So all that to say if you are purposeful with “making the time” it can be possible to maintain a healthy relationship. Wlb culture and ability to WFH has greatly changed since I was growing up obviously, so if you voice that your kids are a priority people are more understanding these days and I think you can make it happen!

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Congrats on return to work! A few things that “fill my cup” as a mom: - wake up quality time, a book before breakfast - setting alarm to leave work at 5:30 so that I can hang with my kids between 6 and 7pm before bedtime - Read “Hunt, Gather, Parent” about how to include kids in parent and normal family time - every Saturday doesn’t need to be play dates and museum trips - When they’re older, try lock in a couple mornings a week that you can do school drop off - Choose a daycare or nanny that will send you photos or videos of kids - Establish a bedtime routine you enjoy - kids books you love that allow you to emotionally connect with your littles (e.g., Nancy Tillman are lovely for pre-toddler age). None of this is ground breaking. It’s just about being present when you’re present. Tell them you love them. Enjoy the cuddles while they’re willing to cuddle. Give yourself credit for ALL you are doing whilst working full time!!

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I like the phrase 'being present when you're present', to be honest after going back to work I cherish more the time spent with my kids compared to when I was a SAHM. Do you work late at nights / start early before office hours to compensate leaving work on a set time?

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Everyone has their own model. Find what is important to you, make it known and stick to it. My personal story: back to work 6 months ago (my son was 8 m.o.) with rule "9am-6pm available, before and after is my business" and strict organisation to ensure I deliver during this time + max 1h more in evening. Turns out it works 90% of days. I was afraid no one would staff me but leadership found that inspiring and are happy about performance and self-drive, sooo thanks baby for boosting my reviews!

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