Balancing work, family, home and friendships is a difficult task. Most often, moms are more likely to drop their own personal time to accommodate someone else’s needs.
Do you find that at the end of the day, there is never time for yourself and that your needs get pushed to the bottom of the list? You are not alone. Studies have found that given our nurturing nature, mothers often neglect our own needs, often for years at a time, in order to be there first for our partners, our children, and our employers.
From personal experience, I find it tremendously challenging to accomplish the most mundane daily tasks required to run the household smoothly, and yet still find time for myself.
At what point is it OK to put our needs above everyone else’s?
Does this make us selfish people? Do we not give up our right to be selfish the minute we have children?
It has always been my mantra that if I am stressed to the point where I feel my head is spinning, without being allotted any ‘down time’, I am no good to anyone. This is especially true to my children who need my patience and understanding at times when that is the last thing I feel like giving to them.
So how can we juggle everything without completely losing ourselves in the process?
1. Try to amalgamate all schedules into one calendar to avoid any confusion
When commitments are written down for everyone to see, then you become accountable. This also allows you to see the week at a glance, and if applicable, split up responsibilities with your spouse.
2. Make your family a priority
Build in family time. Even errands can be made fun and done together. If you cannot always be present at home, make sure you call your children to check in and find out how their day was at school. This will help create balance and remind your family of your presence even if you are not physically around.
3. Delegate responsibilities to other family members
As your children grow up, ensure that they help with household chores. They might even enjoy being given responsibilities and feel good about themselves knowing that you trust them to help. Teach them to sort the laundry, clear the table after meals, or sweep the floor.
For those of us who like things done ‘just so’, this control is often hard to give up. You will need to accept having these chores done in different ways. The upside is that it will teach your children responsibility and will give them a sense of the work that goes into making the household run smoothly.
4. Take a breath when you have to
It is not always necessary to be doing something. Some mothers, including myself, find it very difficult to just sit and do nothing. There is always laundry waiting, or a dishwasher that needs to be loaded. With young children at home, it never ends. My husband frequently needs to remind me just to sit, have a cup of coffee, play with the kids and that everything else can wait. He is right. Sometimes it is ok just to do a lot of nothing.
Perhaps the moral of the story is that despite what our children think, we are not super heroes. We strive to do our best for all our loved ones and hope that they grow up appreciating the sacrifices we make to be there for them.
And ultimately, we hope not to lose too much of ourselves in the process.
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