Q: I'm a working wife and mother with a kindergartener and a couple of school-age children who are also involved in lots of extra-curricular activities. My family's schedule is so tight, and there's so much to be done, that I feel compelled to “work” all the time. How can I stop feeling guilty and resist the temptation to (try to) be “Superwoman”?
A: Let's face it: nobody needs to be able to “do it all.” In fact, it seems prideful to suppose that we can. That approach to life produces unhealthy and destructive stress.
Here are a few suggested strategies for minimising strain:
- Don't feel pressured to be productive every time you have a block of free time. For example, turn a weekend naptime into “you” time and do something that makes you happy.
- Involve older children in family decision-making and household chores. Give them a chance to help you bear the burden.
- Consider limiting after-school activities to one or two favourites. This can alleviate excessive running around, allowing more quality time for family togetherness.
- Connect with other working mums. Share ideas, meal preparation and organisational tips, and suggestions for fun things to do as a family. Save driving time by joining a carpool.
- Be sure to regularly set aside time to connect with your spouse. Even if your marriage is solid, regular “date nights” will strengthen the bond between you and benefit your entire family.
When all is said and done, one of the best things you can do for yourself, your marriage, and your entire household is to keep life simple. Make it your goal to breathe deeply, smell the flowers, and enjoy everyday pleasures. And don't get down on yourself if you can't do it all – nobody can.
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