In a recent Dear Abby column, a reader asked about a survey done years ago by her twin Ann Landers that queried "If you had it to do over again, would you still have kids?" The surprising majority answer back then was "no." The reader wondered what the responses would be like today. While women today aren't expected to become mothers, as they were historically, today becoming a mother often comes with the pressure of becoming a "supermom." Supermoms feel they need to juggle all the demands of family, work and relationships without grimace or failure.
Moms live in a world of constant juggling, constant interruption, and, in the words of a client, "no support staff when the computer breaks, an email must go out, or an errand run." In the words of this client, who left a high-paying PR job to be a stay-at-home mom: "My life used to be lines, with goals that were accomplished. Now I run around in circles all day, often feeling I have nothing to show for it." As A Stay-At-Home Mom, Do I Have A Say In Our Finances?
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Talk to stay-at-home moms who've been asked at a party about work. Many will share how eyes glaze over in disinterest when the response is: "I am at home with my kids." Add to these stressors, a husband who has little understanding and appreciation for all his wife does or is unwilling to pull his weight at home. Working mothers face exhaustion, difficult coworkers and bosses, plus the constant worry about the children they leave at home or in daycare.
How do these stressors affect us? We overeat, do not exercise, and of course our sex life goes kaput, as does our intimacy with our partner, our confidence and our self-esteem. More and more, we see mothers suffering from the deadly disease of perfectionism. You assume that to "do it right," you must execute all tasks flawlessly and ignore the need for self-care. In turn, we see higher rates of exhaustion-related illnesses, depression, low self-esteem and partner-related issues, due to mother's burn out. Sarah Jessica Parker Juggles Love & Career In New Movie
What to do?
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1. Pitch the "Supermommy" ideal. We must become our own loving moms to ourselves, caring for ourselves as well as we do for the others we love. Tell yourself, on a daily basis if need be, that no one or nothing is perfect, so you can stop trying to make it so.
2. Determine what's out of sync. Grab a piece of paper and create a pie chart. Separate all of the elements that require your attention and break them down by the percentage of time you contribute to them. Did YOUR time even make it onto the chart? When you see these numbers they might be a little startling and that's a good thing. When you create proportion, gentler expectations and add yourself to the list, you will see a reduction in stress, higher personal esteem and more quality time to connect with your children and partner. You will feel less scattered and have a renewed energy to put towards what really matters. Better said, you will have a calm that will allow you to be truly present with your family, leading to a deepening of connections with them.