How to successfully reconcile work and education

Every mother has to make the difficult choice between going back to work or staying at home to take care of their children. Whether it is for financial needs, her passion for her career or the way others look at it. There are numerous “reasons” that incite a mother to return to work. On the other hand, the desire to see her child grow up, to be beside him or her and to create special memories with him, tilts the balance the other way. To all this we can add the feeling of guilt the mother experiences when separating from her child and the child’s feeling of abandonment. It is normal to have to make such a choice?

For psychotherapist Isabelle Filliozat, author of the book “Maman, je ne veux pas que tu travailles” this is a very French problem: “This situation is aberrant! We should be able to do both. In the United States, it is not uncommon for a woman to work only part time with important responsibilities. In France, this is not possible: You have to choose between your career and your children”.

In addition even if the choice to return to work is the most common one, it is not always easy to combine the education of your children with your working schedule. Between bringing the kids to school in the morning, the meeting with the company directors, picking up the kids in the afternoon, the teleconference with a client on Wednesday, the appointment with the orthodontist and finally taking care of your kids when they get sick, it is better to have a flexible schedule and above all to work in a company that understands your need for flexibility. Because depending on the size of the company, its sector of activity or the position that you occupy, the working hours are more or less flexible from one company to another to let you educate your children. More and more companies are taking measures to keep their employees, improve their productivity and reduce absenteeism and their stress. The company’s nurseries are a good example of this, but as we have mentioned before, not all the companies offer this kind of service.

This is a very personal choice and at Max & Lea we believe that there is no right or wrong choice, just facts of life that push us to make a specific decision at a given moment. This is why, whether you work or not, we believe that the education you give your child should be the same, even if it can be stressful when we have to reconcile work and raising a child. It is therefore important to know yourself and take the time to understand where our emotions and desires come from. This could give us valuable information to improve our communication with our children and above all to not feel guilty about your choices or your actions. This is why we recommend you read more about it (yes we love reading at Max & Lea, as you have probably already noticed) “Il n’y a pas de parent parfait” by Isabelle Filliozat.

Max & Lea 6 tips:  

Stick to what you say!

Children learn from interacting with you. They understand very well the limits that he can’t cross, and the ones that are less important. At Max & Lea we don’t believe in threatening but in direct communication with the child. If you tell him that it is time to go to bed and after negotiating you agree to let him 5 additional minutes, you should keep your word. After 5 minutes, the child should go to sleep and understand that you were already nice to him by giving in and letting him stay 5 more minutes. If on the contrary, the 5 minutes become 15 because the child keeps insisting, this pattern is likely to reproduce often. The same way, saying “no” to one of his requests is a strong choice. So you shouldn’t go backwards and change your mind. In case you change your mind, you have to explain to him why.

Encourage good behavior

It is difficult to be positive with a negative remark. So a balance is necessary. If he disobeys for example, do not yell at him, but explain to him in a constructive way how he is disobeying. Add a positive fact to this remark to keep a balance. Always try to praise him for his work. Results (grades at school for example) are not the most important factors. In fact, some children get good grades without even working, while others study a lot and don’t get good results. This is why we recommend that you always recognize and encourage the effort made by the child rather than the result.

Give him lots of love

We know that you don’t need us to explain how to do this. Give him a hug, tell him explicitly that you love him! That way he will learn to express and talk about his feelings easier. It is important that a child gets used to expressing his feelings such as joy, fear and sadness out loud. This will allow him to understand and recognise these feelings from an early age. This will also allow you to communicate better with him.

Teach him your values

Work, politeness, perseverance, tolerance, respecting others and the environment…
Teach him the values that are important to you. Your child will thus be armed to fight and resist mockery, jealousy or bullying. The most important thing here is not the quantity of the values instilled, but that they are in line with yours. His behavior will meet your expectations and you will understand each other better.

Avoid screens

Even if the screen can have some beneficial effects when not used too much, at Max & Lea we prefer educating without screens. You can consult our next article about this.

Let him get bored

A child that gets bored thinks and develops his imagination. If he does not have the opportunity to get bored, he will not explore or use his imagination. Therefore, do not feel guilty about letting him get bored. Our grandparents used to tell us that in their time they used to play for hours only with a stick or a cord. Their imagination transported them to worlds where these simple objects took a different meaning. Unfortunately, nowadays a lot of children need noisy and ultra sophisticated toys that do not challenge their imagination. So let him get a little bored!

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