The holidays can be a time of celebration and festivities. However, the months leading up to the mayhem can also cause stress and frustration for tired women attempting to be both a 1950’s housewife and mom, and a 2012 working woman.
It can be challenging to explain to other women what it is exactly that consumes your day, but the chores seem endless and the sleep never feels sound for a mom. There was a recent editorial highlighting the high bar set for moms these days, and the expectations (often unrealistic) put on women.
Whether you have chosen to work full time, part time or stay home with your little one, you are working nonetheless, often balancing many jobs at once. Women are amazing at multitasking and now-a-days are often expected to wear several hats with not only grace but precision. This pursuit of perfection can cause these “Super Moms” to feel overwhelmed by their growing to do lists, tested by their more time consuming toddlers and even defeated when their tasks are not completed by the end of the day.
It is common for these moms to move between guilt and exhaustion on a daily basis…Guilt over checking that email, returning that call or God-forbid, taking the well needed (and deserved) “time out” for themselves–whether it be to work out, shower or just go to the bathroom!
It is only too often that these moms feel increasing guilt over turning their attention to anyone and anything other then their baby or their hubby/partner. Unfortunately, when these moms then spend time with their family, they are nagged by their list of to do’s that lay ahead. Many moms feel that no matter what they do, there is never enough time to devote to both family and work.
Instead of trying to always fit more into a day than time truly permits–stop, breath and reflect on what is most important and realistic to accomplish. The guilt and exhaustion over who and what to devote your attention to can not only feel overwhelming but is unhealthy for you as a woman, mom and wife.
Sometimes allow yourself to choose slothfulness over “Super Mom” and playtime over productivity.
When your baby is going bonkers, and it feels like a chore that should take you 10 minutes is taking you an hour (and you are most likely still not done!) then take a breath, put the to do list down, and simply sit with your little one and play. Read their favorite story, sing songs, have a dance party, head outdoors to the park and let off some steam (which will prove beneficial for both baby and mom).
As tenacious toddlers progress developmentally, there will be days when they need (and want) that extra attention from you. The fussing and tantrums may subside if you simply put down your task at hand and play with your toddler, which the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds families is essential for babies’/toddlers’ growth and parental bonding. You may notice that your grumpy gremlin was merely trying to get your attention.
Instead of attempting to accomplish your task while your toddler destroys your home, recognize the days and times that you are able to work on your personal projects. When your little one is napping or asleep for the night, then you may be able to more effectively and efficiently power through your chores.
While there will be days that your toddler will be able to occupy him or herself with an activity, developmentally they may not always be able to consistently do so, and pretending that you have time and ability to concentrate as if they could, will be frustrating to both of you.
So if you and your little one are having “one of those days…” and we all know what that means, take a breath and remember: If you can’t beat them, join them! Put down the food, forgo the laundry, and plan to play. In the end, it will be a rewarding and refreshing break for both of you!