Posted by Soribel Martínez, LCSW
As the joke often goes, the phrase “working mother” is an oxymoron. All moms work hard, of course, whether or not it’s for pay.
But for those women who are employed for income while also being mothers, the struggle to find a balance between work and life is real. Both responsibilities carry many expectations and duties with them.
Perhaps you’re in this situation. You’re exhausted trying to juggle work and mothering. Here are some ways you can try to decrease your stress and find a better balance.
You may be tired of hearing the phrase “just simplify”. If it were that easy to reduce work commitments or not put your children into activities, you’d probably have already done it!
But there are countless ways to simplify, and countless things that can be simplified.
Online Shopping, Curbside, and Carry Out
You might already do this, but you’d be surprised at how many working moms are not. Take full advantage of all online shopping options, including curbside grocery pickup and carry out at restaurants. Better yet, use delivery services when they’re available.
You can make your life simpler by streamlining some of your children’s needs.
Consider only buying one color of socks, for example. You’ll spend less time looking for matching pairs.
Stock up on healthy snacks and lunch box options so you can throw everything in the lunchbox without stressing about whether they’ll eat last night’s leftovers.
Also consider tackling children’s activities with a buddy. Perhaps you can tag team karate practice carpool with another family. Sign your children up for the same activities to lessen the amount of time you need to spend playing taxi driver.
Many working moms experience guilt because they can’t be a room mom at school, make the best cake for the bake sale, or be at dance lessons every night.
There are a number of ways to approach this. Of course, it’s important to remember that you’re setting an example of persistence and independence to your daughters and sons by being a working mom.
Likewise, you can decide to cut back on what your children are involved in. A few decades ago, children were nowhere near as scheduled and over-committed as they are now, and the world still moved forward. The reduction in stress that you and your kids both feel when less busy may be well worth giving this a try.
As fed up as you might be with your children’s penchant for screen time and video games, chances are they feel ignored and left out when you check your devices at home. Children want your attention.
Put your smart phone way out of the way when you’re with your kids. Focus on them, not on work texts and emails. The attention you give them will help all of you feel closer to each other and get you through those days when you’re working late.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
No mom can do it all on her own. Unfortunately, the bulk of housework and childcare still fall on the shoulders of moms, even when they’re working outside the home.
It’s important to get your family involved in helping out. Teach kids (and your partner if needed!) how to do simple chores. Require these to be finished before screen time, for example. Or have a regular family cleaning hour, where everyone jumps in with fun music on and a reward at the end.
If you can afford it, hire professional help for your home, yard, and errands.
If you struggle under the weight of work and home, you may want to consider seeking therapy. Moms often deal with depression, guilt, and anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Please call my office to learn more.
If you are considering finding a therapist for your child, we have created a mini guide that shares with you 5 tips on how to select the best therapist for you and your family. You can click here to get your FREE copy:
You can also give us a call at 203.800.9778
Soribel Martinez, LCSW, CEO of SMPsychotherapy