Every working mom needs to help to learn how to leave work at work. The struggle of not bringing my work home with me is an ongoing battle for me. If you have read the article It Takes A Village you already know I work in the garment industry. I promise you it’s nothing like what you see on TV. It’s also not what the fashion schools are trying to sell you. All that glitz and glam you see isn’t the reality I live in every day.
We create for the everyday consumer, not for the runway. The inspiration might come from the runway, but we are always thinking about what the consumer is going to buy.
The job can be stressful at times. There are deadlines that need to be met in a very fast-paced environment. So I am constantly on the go. It’s a competitive and at times very turbulent industry. If you’re not at least 10 steps ahead of everyone else it will eat you up and spit you out. That’s just what it is.
Look at the label inside your shirt. You are going to see your clothes made all over the world depending on the brand that makes them. So that means different time zones. So the emails of issues and questions come in at all hours. I constantly had my phone in my hand. Then if it is really crazy the phone calls start and don’t even get me started on WhatsApp. That app is officially silent.
There was always an apology for calling in the other end. Then the dreaded “but” came out along with whatever they needed and they usually needed it right then and there. They could hear my son in the background. Playing and tugging on my shirt demanding to know who was on the phone.
How I Learned To Leave Work At Work
I Learned The Hard Way
It didn’t matter that I technically had a personal day. Every day no matter, if I am in the office, decisions need to be made. My breaking point came when I stayed home one day with my son because school was closed. Those mommy and me days as we like to call them, are very precious to me. They are few and far between.
I got up early and took care of some urgent emails. Then had the rest of the day to be with him. I would love to tell you that my phone didn’t ring 10 times before noon and that I didn’t get 20 text messages. All I could think was really… They know I am not in the office today. As much as I tried to leave work at work it kept following me home.
Walking back into the office the next day it was utter chaos. All I could think was I was out for one day. What would happen if I took off a whole week. This had to stop. The next day when I was back in the office. I emailed my vendors to let them know I will only answer emails, texts, and phone calls during work hours. I was annoyed because I don’t want my son to ever think or feel that he isn’t my first priority. Growing up with a single dad that worked all the time. I cherished whatever time we had with him, especially one on one I sometimes had with him.
Taking The First Step
Well, the first step was putting a stop to bringing my work home. Then I had a long conversation with my boss. About what I wanted and how we were going to accomplish it. Just a side note the reason I have been so successful in my career is that I don’t just show people the problem I bring a solution to the table.
The issue isn’t the job. There will always be another project or thing that has to get done. It’s after putting in the hours when you clock out at the end of the day and go home. I don’t know about you but I have been told more than once “leave it at the door”. It is one of the hardest things for me to do. I love what I do so when something goes wrong at work it’s unfortunately where my focus goes. At least until it is fixed. I am a fixer. You can say I am a problem solver. Unfortunately when I am in that mode at work, oftentimes I bring it home with me.
The guilt I felt when I brought my work home with me as well you know. It was hard to cope with getting working all those hours. It affected me so much it had me making some drastic changes in the role I played at work.
It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, but it needed to be done. For the sake of my family and myself. I took a position with fewer responsibilities so I wouldn’t have as much to worry about. That way my work can stay at work. When I get home I want to be present for all the little moments. The other thing I started doing was unwinding in my hour commute home. So when I walk in the door I can be fully present for them. I take the time to read a book, listen to music, or just close my eyes and relax.
Here are some tips I can give you about how to be more present when you get home from work.
- Leave work on time! Whatever work that isn’t finished will still be there tomorrow.
- Take a deep breath before walking into your home. It helps me focus and recenter myself.
- Get excited to see them and find out all about their day. It helps distract you from whatever kind of day you had at work.
- Go and get changed into some comfy PJ’s. If you are out of the clothes and in something comfy it will help to relax you.
- Take the time to read to them or have them help you cook dinner. Whatever it is you like to do with your little ones do it.
It takes effort to leave it at the door. I will not pretend that I have mastered this skill because I am working mama after all. All that means I am learning as I go. Finding my own footing between being a mama and having a career. I will tell you this much I have gotten so much better about leaving at the door.