At the end of the day, working parents and stay-at-home parents (who are also working and often combining working from home) are all just trying to do their best.
So how can we overcome this guilt and employ Montessori strategies for working parents?
Be clear on your vision for working.
Deciding to combine parenthood and a career means there will always be trade-offs and sacrifices. To be at peace with this, you must be clear on the reasons you work, e.g. to financially support the household, self-fulfilment. Maria Montessori herself was a working parent which enriched her life not enslaved her conscience.
Accept what being a great parent means for you and your family.
Try to avoid stereotypes, social and familial pressures and expectations. They are now set so ridiculously high that we will forever fall short. Be secure in your choices which will allow you to enjoy the journey of parenthood.
It takes a village to raise a child.
Once you have accepted that you can’t do it all alone, you must pick a team and embrace support without guilt or embarrassment. Share your Montessori approach with those caring for your children. Circulating short videos/articles on using certain Montessori materials, supporting behavior or preparing the environment may offer key nuggets of help.
Find your balance.
Commit to a schedule that works for everyone in your family without resulting in burnout and constantly worrying about how much time you spend away from your family whilst also working longer hours. If you are in a position where both you and your spouse work from home, try alternating shifts and allow each other to have uninterrupted work time.
Communication is key.
Aim to communicate even more than you think is necessary and be clear with expectations with your child based on the Montessori tokens of respect, grace and courtesy. Simple strategies such as a pictorial sign on the home office door can be an effective signal for when you cannot be disturbed.
Be fully present and intentional.
Don’t dilute your presence with your child with distraction and multi-tasking. Respect the Montessori concept of truly connecting with your child and ensure the time you do spend with them really matters. At least one family meal a week and maximising holidays are great starting points.
Montessori minimalistic way of living.
Take value from the Montessori prepared environment and daily rhythms to support the whole family in developing their own stress-free routines.