The other day I saw a post that one of my fellow West Point Women shared. It was a screenshot of her calendar for the week – and there wasn’t even time for her to breathe.
She’s a senior-level business consultant and mom of two fantastic little girls.
Her schedule is insane. You could just hear her exhaustion jumping off the post as she asked for advice on how to manage all of this. Even with a super supportive husband, she is reasonably overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks she is expected to accomplish both as a professional and as a mom.
And she’s not alone. I hear this same theme from high-performing working moms all the time.
“How can I get it all done?”
“How do I even begin to take care of myself when there is literally no time left in the day?”
“How do I prioritize when everything seems like it’s the most important thing?” (Or when an outside influence is imposing false urgency when really the task is important but not urgent…)
Momma, I see you. I feel your overwhelm and exhaustion.
And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are three steps to sanity for working Moms.
Step 1 to Sanity for Working Moms: Delegate and Seek Equitable Household-Task-Management.
First, you have to identify which tasks you would even delegate. (I have a process for this – join me for some Alignment Coaching – it’ll really help!)
Then you have to be OK with it – you have to overcome the “shoulds” that are keeping you stuck in a cycle of over-obligation, overwhelm, and exhaustion. (I have a process for this too!) The next time you’re doing 47 things in one day, ask yourself:
→ “Who told me I have to do this?”
→ “WHY am I running myself into the ground to accomplish all of these things?”
→ Are the things I’m doing today actually meaningful to me?
→ Am I doing them because someone else told me that I should?
If you’re over-tasked and overwhelmed as a working Mom, you might be doing the lion’s share of child care and household management.
As the workplace evolves to create more opportunities for talented, capable women who are also Moms, it is imperative that as a society we evolve traditional household gender roles. If both parents’ are working at work, then both parents should be contributing at home.
Moms – it is OK to ask for help at home. It is OK to expect that your life partner owns half of the household responsibilities. (Not that you own the tasks and remind your partner, but that your partner owns them, thereby relieving you of not just the task itself, but the mental load associated with managing it.)
Household responsibilities should be determined by what you are better at and more interested in, not by default because of gender.
Step one to sanity is to delegate more, and create a more equitable workload.
Step 2 to Sanity for Working Moms: Stop Putting Yourself Last.
Sanity will require a commitment to self-care.
By self-care I don’t mean that you occasionally get a pedicure. I mean that you take care of yourself all the time, with every decision that you make.
Self-care is literally everything that you do that contributes to your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health and wellness.
→ Guarding your time blocks is self-care.
→ Setting healthy boundaries is self-care.
→ Having a social life is self-care.
→ Protecting time for prayer, meditation, and journaling is self-care.
→ Eating healthy food that is right for what your body uniquely needs is self-care.
→ Getting enough sleep is self-care.
→ Choosing a job in which you are using your talents to be of service to others in a way that is meaningful and aligned for you is self-care.
→ Consistently moving your body is self-care.
→ Not returning emails on PTO is self-care.
→ Doing things that make you happy for the sole reason that they make you happy is self-care.
→ I could keep going but I think you get the point. It’s ALL self-care.
But the problem isn’t that you have the wrong definition of self-care.
The problem is that you put yourself last.
You’ve been set up to fail by a culture that is literally designed to hack and chronically trigger your physiological stress response.
You’ve been falsely led to believe that your value comes from what you do, how much you accomplish, and what you achieve.
You’ve been conditioned to think that self-care is selfish, and that as a selfless servant leader you’re supposed to put yourself last.
But the truth is that it’s possible to live an aligned life wherein you feel challenged and invigorated without chronic, dysfunctional stress.
The truth is that your value is innate – it doesn’t come from what you achieve but comes simply from who you are.
The truth is that self-care isn’t selfish – it’s what equips and empowers you to do your best work and be fully present in your life.
Momma, you need some self-care. But to get there, you’re going to have to stop putting yourself last.
Step 3 to Sanity for Working Moms: Choose to Do What is Fulfilling.
You love your children SO MUCH. You want your children to be content and joy-filled. You want what’s best for them, and you’d do anything to provide that. …which is probably part of why your calendar is so ridiculously full.
But here’s the thing – children become what we model for them, not what we tell them.
If you want your children to grow up to be content and fulfilled, then the best thing that you can do for your children is to be content and fulfilled yourself.
When children describe their parents to their teachers, the two words kids use the most are, “stressed,” and “tired.”
…which means that we are raising the next generation of adults – and they’re going to be stressed and tired, not content and fulfilled.
Choosing to do what fills you with joy isn’t selfish. It’s what your children actually need from you. It’s what your children need to see. It’s what your children need modeled for them.
If being over-obligated makes you miserable, then reduce your number of obligations. Stop doing what isn’t aligned for you. And since we know there are obligations that you just can’t drop, choose to be content while doing them.
Listen, Momma – I see you and I am cheering you on.
Being a working Mom is incredibly challenging. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. …but it doesn’t have to be.
By delegating, committing to self-care, and choosing fulfillment, you can start to get your life back.
If you struggle with…
- Not knowing what to delegate
- Not feeling comfortable sharing household tasks
- Identifying and rejecting the “shoulds” that are keeping you over-obligated
- Taking care of yourself
- Choosing fulfillment
…then you’re going to want to check out my Alignment Coaching program. It’s for high-performing women like you who are exhausted and overwhelmed, and who want more than sanity – you want success as you define it.
Click here to learn more about how Alignment Coaching can help you to stop missing your life!
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