Does this statement describe anyone you know? Your mother, your aunt, your best friend or perhaps YOU! In our culture today, moms wear many hats. Some are single moms in the workplace trying to meet all the needs of their children by playing many roles: taxi driver, tutor, meal maker, personal shopper, schedule keeper and soccer coach. These roles result in little time for oneself. Some super moms are “stay-at-home” moms, and because they are NOT in the workplace, are consistently called upon to show up at school to: supply birthday parties, drive, chaperone field trips, volunteer their services in the school office, and help the teacher out when asked.
Motherhood is a 24/7 occupation that never gets a day off.
The job description doesn’t offer a 2-week vacation or a certain number of sick days. The typical 8-hour workday, is often more like 18 hours…from before sunrise to well past sunset. For “stay-at-home” moms, the job can be so demanding that some have thrown in the towel and joined the workforce just so they can reclaim some sanity and get some time of their own! Mothers are the “glue” that keep the family together and function smoothly. When that “glue” becomes stressed, it no longer holds. This shows up when moms get short-tempered, critical, judgmental and even jealous of other moms who “seem” to have a more carefree lifestyle.
Moms get discouraged with the unending list of responsibilities which never seem to get done and just roll over to the next day. They never get the satisfaction of seeing a task completed or hearing “job well done”. Therefore, moms begin to question their value and self-worth. They build up and harbor resentment and feel unappreciated. These are dangerous emotions to hold if not dealt with in a positive manner.
What is the prescription to battle these feelings? One must be pro-active in taking care of oneself!
Whether you are in the workplace, or a stay-at-home mom, being a mom is both physically and emotionally draining and requires that moms have a game plan for getting their batteries re-charged. Recharge is best before they feel as they can no longer run “that machine” called “family”!
There is a much over-used illustration, but it is true: When the flight attendants give safety instructions for decreased cabin pressure during flight, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on your child. As moms, it is our first instinct to take care of our child before ourselves. We do it all the time! But in this case, it would be detrimental. We MUST take care of ourselves in order to have any mental, physical and emotional stamina to care for others who are in our care. In the long run, if we see to our own needs, we will have the patience, perspective and perseverance needed to successfully tend to our families’ needs.
Here are a few ideas of how to take care of yourself. First, it helps to identify what your needs are! Look at 4 categories. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Think about what helps you in all these areas? Physically, is it a spa treatment such as a facial or massage? Or it may be as simple as taking off a morning or afternoon when the kids are in school and just being at home alone reading a book, magazine or catching up on emails. You can also join a gym. Get some exercise! Exercise kills 2, 3, or 4 birds with one stone because it satisfies needs in the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional areas! Exercise beats anti-depressants in clinical trials to combat depression, hands down!.
Being organized and having a structured schedule helps one get in the routine of caring for one’s needs. Build it into your day/week to insure that it gets done.
Mentally and emotionally, you may need to off-load some taxing issues that are constantly on your mind. Talk to a friend or therapist. If you are married, talk to your spouse. Take care not to off load too much adult content to your kids. You do not want them to feel that they have to take care of you when they are not age appropriate to do so!
Be confident in expressing your feelings about different subjects. Being free to feel is a gift. Our children feel intensely. Sometimes as moms, we shut down our feelings in order to adequately perform all our duties. In short, we become robots! Spiritually, start your day with a devotional or meditation to calm your inner soul. It may require you to get up a little earlier than the rest of your crew, but it is YOUR time to get grounded before the onslaught of the day! Modeling self-care behaviors for your kids is important. If your children see you take care of yourself, it will ultimately have an impact on them. Additionally, they will be the recipients of a more patient, fulfilled mom and it teaches them good habits for them to learn to take care of their own needs when they get older!