With Mother’s Day around the corner, we immediately think of images of sweet kisses and sentimental moments in a gift card,while there are those moments; mothers today are more often feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the pace, amount of work, and the neverending list of responsibilities resulting in serious health issues and illnesses down the road.
Family today is a lot smaller than it used to be with little or no extended family participating in child rearing. The responsibility of raising children has shifted from a community effort to resting on the shoulders of an individual or couple. This, combined with demands from the work environment to put in longer hours and an ever increasing round the clock schedule, has lead to many parents (especially mothers) being chronically exhausted from working a “double” workday from 7- 9pm daily.
Time may have stayed constant, but what has changed is what we expect to accomplish in a single day. The typical mother today is like the proverbial “white rabbit” in Alice in Wonderland – always combating time. Time to spend with your kids; time to spend with your partner; time to keep up with the chores; and keep their careers moving upwards. Guess what is last on the list? You guessed it. Time for ourselves. Our personal, emotional, and spiritual health is almost non-existent sometimes for decades.
The consequences of this lifestyle can translate into serious health issues down the road – everything from insomnia, adrenal fatigue, autoimmune diseases, hormonal shifts, early menopause, depression, and of course, cancer are the by-products of our highly- stressed, over- scheduled, depleting lifestyle.
So I believe an attitude shift needs to happen where women need to recognize that the current role model of “supermom” is not sustainable nor is it successful – especially to Mom. Instead let’s look at the leaders in our society and apply some successful business strategies to moving towards a vision of a harmonious, healthy family life, where all members benefit.
To help you begin, here are six tips to a more healthy and balanced lifestyle:
You establish the standards, the boundaries, rules, pace, and content of each day. The goal is not to stuff as much as possible into a day but to have harmony in your family.
2. Delegate responsibility.
A good CEO knows that she has the vision, but the team accomplishes the mission. Whether it’s getting dressed on their own or, doing chores,; removing yourself as the “go to person” helps grow your children and prepare them for life.
3. Consider carefully the pros/cons of each decision before implementation.
Small changes in a full schedule can have a domino effect. For example, going outside of the 3 klm. area for your child(s) after-school activities can greatly reduce the family’s dinner time preparation, resulting either a dinner “on the go” or a rush to put a dinner together last minute. Either way this decision drains your time and energy, and impacts the whole calmness of the family.
4. Establish Partnerships.
This is a “win-win” for parents and children alike. Not only in sharing responsibilities like shuttling kids to activities, but sharing in skill sets. Partnerships bring the opportunity for your children to learn from others in the community and remove you from being their only teacher.
5. Set limits and boundaries with your children.
It is easy for mother’s to miss the developmental shift from toddlers to growing people. Whether it is getting dressed for school, doing their homework, or walking the dog; a leader needs to impart the importance of everyone in the family supporting the vision. So teach self reliance and responsibility.
6. Be a role model of self care to your family.
A leader must be physically, mentally, and spiritually grounded to be able to move the mission forward. You are the most important person in this equation.
Mothers will continue to be the foundation of the family. This hasn’t changed, but with limited community involvement, a hectic lifestyle, and feeling overburdened the continued falsehood that we can “do it all” is jeopardizing their health and impacting our families. It is time that mothers learned to value themselves as the leaders of the family that we truly are. Create and implement your vision for your family; a more balanced and healthy way of living. Ultimately, we would like to have more of those beautiful “gift card” moments of being a mother.