For many working mothers, most days feel like an endless treadmill of too much to do in too little time and a sense of not giving enough time especially to the children.
Every new year, a few of my resolutions revolve around making more time for the children hoping that this time round I will not only be a super mum but also avoid the usual mothering burnout.
Some of the causes of mothers’ burnout stem from setting unrealistic expectations. Oftentimes I have convinced myself of certain aspects which as a mother I should be and do.
“Mothers should prepare all the family meals”, “Mothers should prepare their children for school”, “Mothers should read for their children bed time stories before they go to bed”.
Such expectations, whether right or wrong, fail to take into account the current fast-paced world where mothers are now fully integrated into the working world. A subset of unrealistic expectations is perfectionism, which can be in relation to specific aspects of mothering or in totality.
I remember when I had my first son, I convinced myself that I was solely responsible for his hygiene and hence ensured that I only left home when I had bathed him. However, that also meant that I was always late for work and, needless to say, my employer could not have been too happy with me.
I also know many women who try so hard to be good mothers they feel that they can’t make any mistakes and even their thoughts must be loving and nurturing. Additional stress which may equally lead to mothering burnout is the cultural messages all over the place, especially in the media.
Our traditions and culture have deeply-engrained roles for mothers which are not necessarily relevant in today’s world. Think about it. How many men do you find at the doctor’s when the children are ill? Or rather still, how many men do you find at children’s school days and other related events?
Since we have completed three months of the year, the jury is out on how you and I have performed on our mothering role. I find that I have to return to some of the aspirations I had at the beginning of the year. How much time have I been able to make for the children?
While I feel I have made some baby steps towards better time management in this area, I do also recognize that I still need to identify work that can be eliminated or delegated.
Additionally, as a mother, I am learning that it is of profound importance that I connect with others who can give back to me. This, of course, includes my partner, the children and friends. I found it very useful to connect with other mothers to share experiences since we face similar challenges. Such interactions are useful in giving lessons and ways and strategies of facing the challenges.
Ultimately, a burnt-out mother is no good mother for the children and other family members. Hence we all must take active steps to address any areas of burnout. Surely our lives should not begin and end with mothering. As I slide into the second quarter of the year, my resolve once again is to find the right balance for my children, partner, friends, family and myself.
Source : The Observer