How Do Working Moms Cope?
How do they do it? Juggling kids, a career, housework, and, if they’re lucky, some side interest that makes them happy, but never really taking their mind off things that need doing, because there’s always something to do. To make things even harder, consider this: today we all live in an information-based environment that our grandparents wouldn’t have dreamed about. Whether we realize it or not, we’re continuously flooded with all sorts of info, all the time. One of the implications is that we’ve become much more conscious of, well, basically everything. From healthy foods and the importance of breastfeeding, to a hundred ways to excel in your profession and a hundred and one ways to be happier and have a more fulfilling life while trying to balance between work and family. More and more women, many of them single moms, are striving to find that fine balance that is meant to make both them and their kids happy.
Let’s look at some figures: a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey says that a bit over 70% of mothers with children under 18 were on the labor market last year, working or looking for work. Another research, by Pew Research Center, found that a staggering 40% of households with children relied on the mother as the primary breadwinner. Of course, these are just dry stats, but any working mom knows the pressures she has to deal with, trying to be great at work (maybe get that promotion next year), making sure the kids eat well (none of those trans fats, of course), helping with the homework, monitoring how much time they spend with the TV/tablet/PC (too much is bad, we all know it), and meanwhile getting on with all the usual chores around the house. Most dads work even longer hours than moms, so delegating isn’t always an option. Demands from all sides just pile up and so does stress, not least because of the guilty feeling you’re not spending enough time with your kids. What’s a mom to do?
Well, aside from what you already know, such as taking some alone time to relax, it seems that turning your back on problems for a little while can do a great job in making you feel better. Canadian scientists have found that avoidance can actually be constructive, rather than destructive, when it’s aimed at some immediate issue that’s bothering you. Try to forget for a moment about the deadline that’s breathing down your neck, or the piles of clothes that need washing and do something you enjoy, be it a chat with a friend, a little exercise or just a lie-down, pushing the stuff that annoys you to the back of your mind. Both the deadline and the washing will be there a half hour later, but you’ll be a bit more relaxed, a bit more in control and, what do you know, maybe a bit more ready to do what it takes to get that promotion if that’s what your professional heart desires.
One more thing that should motivate you to go for that occasional break from everything that needs your attention is a reminder. Among the few things that all child experts agree on is the fact that we teach our kids by example much more successfully than by any prescribed method. What better way to teach them how to make the best of life than be happy and in balance with ourselves? Now go and make that healthy chicken and veggies casserole.