If you’re like most working moms, you’ve probably wished for a wife, or a magical nanny who would cheerfully and efficiently tidy up the house, fold the laundry, settle the disputes among the kids, organize the play dates, do the grocery shopping, get the household bills in order and put dinner on the table. Ahh-hhh…imagine the sheer joy and relief of knowing that you wouldn’t have to do it all! You could actually plant yourself in a comfy chair for the evening and read a book, watch TV, or flip through your favorite magazine without jumping up a million times to change laundry from washer to dryer, empty the dishwasher, and fix tomorrow’s lunches.
But the truth of the matter is, women have been juggling since the beginning of time, and working women often juggle even faster. We all know that a mother’s day never ends. But when moms add an additional job beyond tending to kids and home, the pace really picks up.
Look. No matter what helpful numbers your Rolodex does or doesn’t hold, here’s the reality for women: We live, breathe, and sleep our multiple roles. Some of us with help, some of us without it.
The bottom line difference between working mothers who are challenged yet happy, and those who are continually frustrated and down in the dumps, is to first recognize and embrace this one fact: Being a working mother is hard. Period. Don’t pretend that it’s not or that you should be able to make it easy.
You may feel like you live on a roller coaster or that your life is one giant game of tug o’ war—with your job tugging you on one end and your husband and kids tugging you on the other. But collapsing into a pile of exhaustion and guilt isn’t the answer. Instead, grab a giant dose of “Hey, this is my life, and I’m going to make it work for me.”
Here are six things to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed and sorry for yourself.
1. Put YOU at the top of your priority list—even when you’re sure you don’t have an extra minute for yourself. Successful working moms have learned that when they don’t take time for themselves, they aren’t as efficient and they’re not as happy. Both your kids and your husband would prefer a happy mom and a messy house to a perfect house and a grouchy mom!
2. Give yourself a hug, ask for a hug from your kids and your spouse, and think about how lucky you are to be a mom. Even on a bad day, remember what deep joy your children bring to your life.