Let go of the guilt because you can’t have it all.
If you’re a working mom, you probably walk a tightrope without a safety net most days.
Balancing two critical roles, and finding time for yourself, can be the biggest challenge you may ever face. You’re certainly not alone. Women now make up half of all workers in the United States, with nearly 4 in 10 homes having a mom who is also a working mother, according to AmericanProgress.org.
Michelle Slatalla’s balance comes from blurring the lines between work time and home time. Pay your bills at the office during your lunch hour and check your work emails while waiting “for the kids to show up at the dinner table,” she writes.
“Getting out the door in the morning (without anyone in tears) is the only thing you have to achieve before 8:30 a.m, she writes. “Stop trying to organize everything. Your only goals are to leave the house looking good and without your first-grader sobbing because she hates getting dressed in the morning. If that means you put her to bed in her school clothes to avoid a 7 a.m. tantrum, I think you’re a genius.”
Because of the stress working mothers feel, many are letting go of the ideal that they be perfect homemakers as well.
“Face the guilt that you’re not giving enough to your family, your work or yourself,” writes Marci Taub for the Forte Foundation. “Don’t try to compensate by apologizing excessively or taking on more than your fair share of the next big work or home project.”
Experts, who typically happen to be working mothers like you, advise that you just let the guilt go. You can’t do everything, and everything doesn’t need to be done.
"The cultural story of good mothering has not been reconciled yet to reflect working women," Maria Kefalas, a sociology professor at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia and director of the university's Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence told CNN. "There are social rules and the standards are very demanding…. There is no way to have it all."
A working mom’s life is “messy,” practically and emotionally, writes Taub. On one hand it never gets easier because one challenge passes and another replaces it in your hectic life. On the other, it does get easier because being a working mom “has given me the perspective and courage to risk reinventing my life repeatedly,” she writes. “I’m grateful for this adventure; its unexpected happenings have invited me to develop abilities that really matter to me, like prioritizing, connecting, envisioning, intuiting and catalyzing.”
Her advice includes remaining flexible because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenge. But there are plenty of piecemeal ones you can cobbled together.
You also need to define success as succinctly as possible for you and your life. That means using tangible reminders, like photos and notes, of what is most important to you and how you reach that point in your life.
“Use your intuition and your intellect to work through your feelings and ideas about how to balance your life,” she adds Try posing options to yourself like: “‘One way to look at my situation is…, but another way to see it would be….’ Or `It sounds like what I want is…, and at the same time I hear myself saying….’ Once you’ve made a decision, don’t second-guess and over-analyze your choice.”
December 07, 2016
Janet O’Dell, RN