Working Mom Blues

How are my working momma friends? Are you feeling a little sideways? Do you have days where you feel like you are buried under deadlines, to-do lists, wants, likes, needs (probably none of them your own), and schedules, everyone’s schedules? It seems like so much to juggle some days. Recently I feel this strain more often than not.

Now, I know that all moms are working moms. We all work 24/7. This is no disrespect to the ’round-the-clock hard working stay at home mommas.

 Staying at home is a crazy hard job! I actually do both kinds of jobs. I am a stay at home mom and a working mom, and let me tell you, I sometimes worry I’m damaging my brain. HA! You can laugh, it’s funny because it’s true.

However, I want to talk more about the moms who do both. The ones who mom at home, and also work outside of the home as a source of income for their families.

Moms deal with the pressures of family life on the daily. I think mothers take the brunt of emotional backlash from the family. They are the comfort zone, so they see the ugliest family has to offer. They get the good the bad and the ugly. On top of this, they get to juggle the everyday responsibility of just keeping everyone alive, clean and happy.  Groceries, cleaning, laundry, shopping, school, sports, and transportation all fall on our shoulders. We also manage the ever growing list of responsibilities hovering over our heads like, holidays, birthdays, fundraisers, social events; and should I even add in personal time things like workout schedules or pedicures? I personally like keeping up with how the palette of a child under 6 changes every 5 hours. That in and of itself is a full-time job.

Mothers with jobs outside of the home have added pressure.

 I have always felt when you add the responsibility of financially supporting a family to a mother’s list of responsibilities, not only does it add a tremendous amount of pressure to her world, it can cause her behavior to become independent almost to a fault. Maybe this is not the case for everyone. However, since these are my thoughts and feelings, I’ll use myself as an example.

I am the first to admit that I would rather do everything myself and be totally exhausted than to delegate.

It seems like a habit at this point. When I leave it up to me, I know it will get done and I won’t have to worry. Maybe that’s the issue at hand… Worry. Perhaps I’m driven so hard to alleviate worry that I just go until I don’t feel it so much anymore. However, with all of that added responsibility comes all of the extra worry. It’s a relentless, vicious cycle.

I used to discuss this issue with my grandmother before she passed away.

She was recently widowed, and her health was failing. She knew she did not need to live alone, but she could not stand the thought of her independence being taken away. I understood where she was coming from. She had also been a working mother. Although I did not experience her working-mom life, a piece of me was right there with her as she spoke of her feelings on the matter. Unfortunately, her determination to have her independence caused her to suffer immensely leading up to her death.

I feel like there was something I was supposed to learn from her, but I too struggle with letting go of worry and independence.

Are there things in my life I need to change because independence is clouding my judgement? Is my independence being intrusive to other areas of my life? Is it causing me to emasculate my husband or does it mess with the chemistry of my relationship? Or, maybe this is one of those times the worry is kicking in and my mind is spiraling too far.

My husband sometimes tells me that I’m closed off and too “in control”.

Of course, statements like that make me laugh after he snaps at me when the children are hungry and freaking out because I’ve worked past dinner-time, and I didn’t tell him what to feed anyone. I think to myself, “maybe I created this mess”. Or is it a mess? Maybe I’m just a good mom who’s doing a good job juggling a crazy life while also taking part in financial provision.  

Which brings me to my next question.

If there was no longer a need for my income, would I want to work anyway? I think the answer is, yes. Let me be clear, I don’t think there’s a wrong answer to that question.  For me personally, I think I need distractions from my racing anxious mind. It’s good for me to work. Would I feel guilty for taking time away from my family when I didn’t really need to? Probably. But, is it okay for me to work when I don’t need to? Absolutely! It’s about balance. We have to feed our needs so that we can nourish our family’s. And, oh my goodness do families take a lot of nourishing.

Obviously, these are just my thoughts on this subject.

You don’t have to agree or disagree, but if you’re a working momma and you’re tired, worrying or feeling guilty; Step back and think about how much is on your shoulders. If you need to do something to recharge yourself, do it. Don’t make up some wild excuse to justify your reason, just do it, it’s ok.

We can’t always run on fumes.

I have been learning this the hard way for years. I sometimes go get my nails done (which my husband encourages me to do), and I sit for 2 hours nervously checking my phone, feeling guilty and not enjoying it at all. However, my nails and feet look really pretty when I’m done, and I love that. Each time I go I do a little better. I sound like I’m in a 12-step program for mom guilt. Next time I get my nails done, I might go to a store too, or take the long way home. It’s baby steps right?

One thing I notice about women is, that we are relentless with criticism toward ourselves.

We pick ourselves apart. We should really make the effort to stop this. We are teaching our family to do the same. Why should they respect us if we are teaching them that we aren’t worthy of it? Practice finding the good things about you. Let your family see you love yourself. Don’t put this off! Start it immediately no matter how awkward it feels in the beginning. We could all use a little more love, especially in current times.

Practice delegating.

This can cause people like me an anxiety attacks of epic proportions. My mind immediately starts racing, “no one can care for my children like I do, clean like I do, prepare proper nutrition the way I do”. I know my children will do every task given to them in the fastest half-way finished manner possible while creating other messes. This is where we have to shut those thoughts down. This is where we get into trouble. We grow the children, raise the children, maintain the house, and serve everyone.

When do we teach our children how to be adults?

With teaching comes delegating. Expect some messes and some anxiety. We all have to learn. I promise you, we are going to end up with some incompetent young adults if we don’t learn to delegate and teach. Hopefully one day the balance shifts a little and your shoulders don’t feel so heavy. Your children will be responsible and self sufficient, and the weight subsides. It subsides for you to feel the new things life will bring to you. There’s constant ups and downs in life. If you don’t learn to delegate in the ups, you won’t survive the downs.

I think we just have to find balance.

Don’t let any one negative thing become bigger than positive things. We can’t let our fears, worries, and anxieties drown out our victories. Remember to rejoice in all of the good things, even if they are small.

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