How to Be Present with Your Kids When You’re a Working Mom

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Photo: Kristen Wessel

The pursuit of balance is a neverending one for all moms, but it’s especially tricky for working moms. As a working mom, you know all too well the struggles and pressure that come with succeeding at work and at home.

Since 81.2% of mothers with kids aged 6—17 work full-time, many women struggle to balance family and work. It’s no wonder that, between work and family duties, working moms actually clock 98 hours of work a week. Even if you try to carve out time to connect with your kids, emails from work and anxiety about the workweek make it tough to enjoy this limited time with your kiddos.

Your family is starved for connection, but in a world where you have to give so much of yourself at work, it’s tough finding the time to be present with your kids. Instead of beating yourself up or thinking you’re a bad mom (you’re a great mom!), remember that you’re human. Try these 5 tips to be more present with your kids, enjoy more quality time, and pursue a work-life balance.

1. Put the Devices Down
I know, I know. It feels physically painful to mute work notifications or place your phone in another room. But if you want to be present with your kids, you need time away from your devices.

Just set aside 1-2 hours in the evening where you aren’t checking your phone. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can recover without the constant distractions! Device-free time also shows your kids that you don’t need to be glued to your phone 24/7. If you want your kiddos to spend less time in front of a screen, this tip will help you lead by example.

2. Prioritize 
The word “priority” is singular—that means you can only have one “most important thing” on your plate at a time. Trying to juggle work priorities and home priorities is just setting you up for failure and mom guilt!

Do you really need to answer that work email at the dinner table? It feels easier to just deal with work emails immediately as they come in so you don’t have to worry about them all night. But are low-value tasks worth sacrificing precious time with your family? Try to prioritize what needs your immediate attention. Unless a catastrophe is happening at work, get back to your email during regular working hours. Show your kids how important they are by making them your priority when you’re at home.

3. Schedule Regular Family Time
Sure, a schedule might take some of the spontaneity out of family time, but if you’re struggling to spend time with your kids, a schedule is a must!

You don’t need to play Monopoly with your kids every night. Just try to carve out scheduled family time once a week. That might mean doing Saturday family movie nights or going to the park on Tuesdays after dinner. It doesn’t have to be anything big—as long as you and your kids are spending time together, that’s what matters.

4. Eat Together
Hey, sometimes you’re going to grab Happy Meals on the way to soccer practice, inhaling a burger while you’re stuck in traffic. It happens. But if you’re at home with the kids, make it a point to eat dinner together at the table.

Eating dinner as a family leads to more emotionally resilient children and can even improve your kids’ performance in school. Just 30 minutes at the table together gives everyone a chance to talk about their day; it’s the perfect way to stay on top of what’s going on in your kids’ lives. And guess what? You don’t need to put together a gourmet home-cooked meal, either. Feel free to keep dinner simple, involve kids in the cooking, or pick up dinner on your way home. What matters is the time you spend together.

5. Connect With Your Kids
Despite what your moody teenager might say, your kids want to feel connected to you. Even on your most hectic days, saying “I love you” or “You are so special to me” or “I am so proud of you” goes a long way.

Take a moment every day to give your children these positive emotional connections, no matter how small they are. This shows your kids they’re valuable, models healthy relationships, and builds parent-child trust.

Motherhood is a beautiful journey. But in the hustle and bustle of daily work, it can be hard to find the time to connect with your kids. You probably aren’t going to achieve all of your goals every day—that’s okay! These 5 tips will help you manage your focus outside of the board room, connect as a family, and be more present with your kids.

How to Balance Work & Life in 2021
What I Didn’t Understand About Being a Working Mom Before I Was One
Dear Working Mom: I Don’t Know How You Do It


As a former Emmy-Award Winning News Anchor and over 10 years of experience in the news industry, Kristen prides herself on being able to tell great stories. As an expert in communications and mother of two, Kristen gives her tips and tricks.

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