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6 Tips for Overwhelmed Working Mothers

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6 Tips for Overwhelmed Working Mothers

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.

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Joanne Stern

Joanne Stern, PhD, is a psychotherapist with a private practice emphasizing counseling with families, parents, couples and teens. She’s a teacher, consultant, speaker, and expert guest on parenting and family topics, including communication, discipline, self-esteem, addictions, eating disorders, grief, and loss. Parenting Is a Contact Sport: 8 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Kids for Life is her first book. A mother and grandmother, she and her husband, Terry Hale, live in Aspen, Colorado.


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10:39AM PST on Feb 21, 2011

whish I'd seen this earlier in my life

4:01PM PST on Nov 20, 2010

Thanks for the tips

10:52PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

Good article, thanks for posting. For working moms who are married, I also suggest this: ensure your partner does his/her fair share of the work as well. So often I hear of working moms who do most of the work at home as well, which is completely unfair and unrealistic. At the end of the day, both parents should spent the same amount of time working (and relaxing).

6:36PM PST on Nov 11, 2010

great tips, thank you

12:30PM PST on Nov 11, 2010

Thank you for posting.

11:27AM PST on Nov 11, 2010

Rolodex? You mean Blackberry, right? lol

5:35AM PST on Nov 11, 2010

I am not a working mother, but my mother definitely is one (she worked part-time when my sister and I where still young, but now she works full-time - whilst still having my sister and youngest brother living at home). I do not always knows how she manages, but I do know that I love and admire her for what she is doing. So here's to you, mum - and to all the working mothers: and make sure to take your you-time sometimes! You are worth it :)

10:42PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

Thanx good information.

5:25PM PST on Nov 10, 2010


4:07PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

Good article. It would be nice if working mothers could depend upon their partners for help, when they have a partner, but many partners will not help. They worked all day and when they get home, they want to relax. Mother must deal with all the full time chores and work of being a mother, as well as being the full time housekeeper, family counselor, maid, economist and, well you get the idea. Yes, working mothers must take care of themselves. If we don't take care of ourselves first, we won't be any good for anyone else. Even when the kids become adults, their problems change, and so does your relationship with them, but many times they still need "Mom". It goes with the territory.

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