Why would a working mom alter her parenting style after she has more kids?
A working mom of six kids was overcome by emotion when she explained how she was a different mother with her youngest child than she was with her older ones at that same age.
“With my 5-year-old, my first 5-year-old, I wasn’t there,” confessed Noelani Mitchell, a work-from-home Independent Sales Director for Mary Kay cosmetics raising six kids ages 5 to 23 years old. “I was working and paying the bills and striving to give him his best life. I look at my daughter now who is almost 5, and I can’t tell her I love her enough. I can’t hug her enough. I can’t leave the house without her saying, Mommy, I need hugs and kisses. And I’m not going to forget to give her hugs and kisses. It wasn’t like that with the first because I was just so busy and worried about our future,” added Mitchell, a married mom living in St. Genevive, Mo. “So I definitely learned a lot with all of the children about what does matter, and time with them is what matters — being present and being able to have something that I can say, I do what I want. I work when I want, and when I want to be with my children and my family, I’m with my children and my family.”
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Working moms wouldn’t put up with a boss who treated them differently than their co-workers, but many mothers admit they are among the parents who are treating siblings differently — giving their younger kids more attention, more chores, fewer rules, or less of their time than their older children when they were the same age.
Treating your children differently might fly in the face of conventional parenting wisdom, but sometimes working moms feel pushed to change their style while trying to manage a more demanding career and a growing family at the same time, or after finding that they have learned to better manage stress and prioritize quality time with children.
You’ve probably heard you’re supposed to parent all your children the same way – that your approach should be consistent and you shouldn’t play favorites. But every time another baby comes along, the family dynamic changes. I was sure to never let my son see a PG-13 movie until he was 13-years-old, but his younger sister saw those same movies when she was 10 and a half years old, probably because it was simply more convenient.
Other times our parenting is different for the younger ones because we have more experience and don’t want to make the same mistakes for the second child that we think we did for the first one, as Anna Zajac explained.
“I feel I do have more experience. With my youngest I kind of told myself, don’t focus too much of your attention and your time to your children; think about yourself sometimes. That’s the biggest lesson I learned,” declared Zajac, a certified medical biller and mom of three kids ages 11 to 19. “That’s why I got myself a horse, something I always wanted, because life is too short. You need to enjoy what you like, and just because you’re a mom you can’t forget who you are.”
“I became much more organized,” noted Marianna Jones, a full-time elementary school counselor and mom of six kids ages 17 to 40. She said her younger children had to start doing age-appropriate chores at an earlier age than the older children did. “They had to start pretty early: pick up your toys; pick up your room. Make sure your clothes after the bath go out to the laundry room and into the basket,” added Jones, from Kinsley, Kan.
“What’s different is that we got more time to go out,” said Susana Contreras, a full-time housekeeping manager at a hotel who moved to the U.S. from Mexico. “In the beginning it was hard because they were little, and I was working and going to school and learning the language. It was very hard,” added Contreras, mom of four kids ages 8 to 19.
“I’m more lenient with the youngest one,” admitted Mary Hicks, a full-time medical biller and mom of five kids ages 14 to 24. “He has ADHD, Asperger’s and mood disorder, so he is home-schooled because he can’t be around big groups of people. So we’re more lenient with him. He gets away with more stuff that the older children weren’t allowed to do,” added Hicks, a married mom living in LaPorte, Ind.
Are you a working mom accused of playing favorites?
Do you think moms should change for younger kids as they learn more about parenting?
Or do think moms are being unfair to older kids when they do things differently for the younger ones?
I’d love to know your thoughts about this and other working mom topics.
We all feel frustrated at times, but hearing about other working moms who overcame similar struggles can help us see the light at the end of the tunnel. I believe working moms who accept their strengths and weaknesses are better able to prosper day in and day out. That’s why I am sharing more strategies from other working moms in my YouTube videos. The videos feature mothers from all different backgrounds sharing the ups and downs — and hacks — of juggling career and kids. These videos can give you ideas and inspiration to conquer your own challenges.
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