The average stay-at-home mom works about 94 hours a week. Between cooking, cleaning, raising kids, doing laundry, taxing children from school to practices or appointments, shopping for groceries, and managing finances, the estimated 2013 salary would hover in $113,000 realm. Slow down super mom, take a break from it all!
The average working mom works 58 hours, on top of her away-from-home job. In addition to her yearly salary, she would earn and additional $67,000 a year for all the work she does at home.
Rosie the Riveter and Wonder Woman are iconic super-ladies who I admired as kid. They weren’t afraid of work, stepping up to the plate to get things done, and gave women a symbol in the world of heroes. But even Wonder Woman takes a vacation, so why can’t Super Moms and Super Women everywhere take moments for themselves?
One common reason I have found…guilt.
A friend who is a fellow mother confessed she felt “guilty” whenever she’d try to do something as simple as go to the grocery by herself. “I know how hard it is to be at home with the kids and trying to juggle multiple things at once. My husband works all day, so I feel guilty leaving him at home to take care of the kids and house.”
Another mother admitted, “My kids have separation anxiety. When I leave, for any reason, it becomes a mess of crying and attempts at soothing them. I feel bad leaving them when they are upset.”
One common thread in these Mommy Problems is that we aren’t doing ourselves or our kids any good by succumbing to guilt. When we are around 24/7 to solve problems, provide comfort, or kiss boo-boos, we deprive everyone of embracing independence.
“It was so hard, at first,” a mom of three shared. “I didn’t enjoy my alone time for a while. It was hard relaxing know a pile of dishes were in the sink. Eventually, I looked forward to the time and it showed in my ability to control my frustrations in the long run. I am happier and able to cope with things better. And those dishes…the world didn’t end because they sat in the sink and extra couple hours.”
Another mom realized she lost her identity along with her part of her sanity in devoting every moment to her kids. “I spent twenty years of my life making sure my kids had everything they needed. I encouraged them in sports, clubs, and plays, making sure I was a coach, troop leader, or helper in some capacity. In making sure I supported them in every way possible, I lost who I was and what I wanted in life. Now they are grown, I don’t know what to do with myself. I have to rediscover who I am, and what I want. It’s daunting.”
To give yourself a mental-health break try these tips…
- *Life, even if you are a Super Woman, is about balance. Letting go of the reigns is sometimes part of achieving that balance. Sometimes, it isn’t easy, but start by giving yourself permission to be who you are beyond just being Mom.
- *Schedule time for yourself out of the house. Trying to sneak away for a bath or to read a couple chapters of your favorite book won’t do.
- *Remove yourself from a kid-infested environment routinely. If you only spend time away from each other on an occasional basis, it will be harder for kids to deal.
- *Walk out the door with a smile even if they are crying. If your kids see you upset, it will only fuel their feelings. It may seem cruel, but if they see a happy mom walking out the door, the will be better able to accept this time as a positive thing.
- *Don’t volunteer to do it all. It’s tempting to take the job when no one else wants to. Instead of jumping into take the responsibilities, volunteer to be a part of a group that will share the job. For example, “I don’t have the time to organize the entire classroom holiday party, but I can bring in a snack. Who will supply a craft project?”
- *Tell, don’t ask. When you do undertake the lead role on a project, it is easier to tell people what needs to be done versus asking for help. For example, a baseball team’s mom/coach could say, “I created a schedule for the after-game snack. Each team member is responsible for one treat after every game. If you can’t supply the treat on the assigned date, feel free to ask another team member to switch with you.”
- *Just say no. Occasionally, you are going to hit a wall and your schedule will be packed. If you are coming close to over-committing, don’t try and convince yourself that small task could be squeezed in. It’s OK to decline. It doesn’t make you lazy or doesn’t mean you don’t care.
It might not be easy, but accepting you need a break and deserve it is the best step you will ever take for yourself and your family.