Whoever said you had to "keep up with the Joneses" was WAY wrong.
How many times have you arrived at work and felt like you could instantly start crying as you reflect on the hellish morning that you had? I feel that more often than I'd like to admit.
From our daughter’s struggle to find clean underwear (that I forgot to put in the dryer last night), to our dog chewing up another marker on our tan carpet because our ADHD son forgot to put his f***ing crafts away. So we yell, rush and scramble to get the kids who are stressed, sad and upset on the bus. And then, we feel like crap. Again.
According to a new research study almost half of families now consist of parents who both work full-time. That means that not only do we have to put in 40+ hours at work, we still have to keep up the home chores and extra-curricular activities, while staying somewhat “with it” parents. What we’re doing and the cycle we’re unknowingly setting up for our children is downright insane and heartbreaking.
Why do we take it upon ourselves to take the brunt of our inner criticisms? Because everywhere you look, there's a gorgeous woman with perfect skin, rocking a killer body, on a phone conference, pushing her daughter (smiling from ear to ear) on the park swing.
These examples are EVERYWHERE, so much so our perception of realty gets skewed and we believe that it’s only us. We just can’t get our sh*t together enough to get things done — it's time to admit that working full-time, parenting, maintaining a marriage and social life sucks!
Here are 4 ways we can make sure we are doing things the right way (with way less stress):
1. Determine your top 5 values
Dig down deep and determine what you and your family's top 5 values should be. For example; fun, family time, friends, security and simplicity. Then, check to see if what matters most to you is aligned with your lifestyle. Chances are, it’s not. So that means you have to make some changes.
2. Simplify your life
At the end of the day, you have to accept that you're just one person, and that means you need to whittle down the to-do list to manageable pieces. You can go as extreme as Talya and Luke Salzarulo, a coupe who downsized their living quarters to lead a better family life, or simply limit how many extra-curricular events your kids attend.
3. Think about how you want your kids to see you
What kind of mom will they remember when they're grown up? Will they think of you as the mom who gave the middle finger to perfect appearances and dove into having fun and crafting with her babies, or will they think of you as the serious mom who always had an agenda to knock out?
4. Have mercy on yourself
You didn’t get in the whirlwind chaotic lifestyle overnight, so it's not going to be a quick fix. But by simply talking with your spouse about the changes that you want to make, you will lessen that enormous weight on your shoulders. Start small and keep at it. In the end, all that matters is how you lived your life. It doesn’t matter what others thought about your choices —it’s about you being able to sit at your desk after a crazy morning and think, “It wasn’t so bad today.”
Jessica is the author of Back 2 Love and How to Start a Mental Health Private Practice. She owns a private practice in Minnesota where she lives with her husband and two kids. Join the conversation on Facebook!