Are you a busy working mother who spends 40 hours a week at work and then go home to a crazy household every night to start your second job? Maybe you don’t know how you get it all done a lot of the time, but you just keep on doing the impossible. It is important to learn to take care of yourself and to tune into your body to avoid becoming over stressed and eventually suffering from burnout. Warning signs of severe stress
- Speaking louder or yelling.
- You may experience rising blood pressure or a spiked heart rate. You may also feel dizzy.
- Irritability. You may be impatient or experience lapses in judgement. From experience I can say it is so easy to become impatient when a child keeps crying or whining, especially when you had very little sleep the night before and you had to put in a full day at work.
- It’s important to take a break when you feel this way so that you can gain new perspective. If your stress is not under control, you may struggle to connect to your children which can cause them to act out. You may also be unable to focus at work which can lead to time-consuming and expensive mistakes which will further increase your stress. This is exacerbated by a lack of sleep. I may feel fine, but then I find I had forgotten to do something or made a silly mistake.
Follow these tips to keep your stress levels under control:
- Know when to ask for help from family and friends. Also ask dad to step up to share the parenting duties.
- It’s not easy, but try to plan ahead and be organised. This includes things like making dinner the night before so that you can only reheat the next day. I still find myself struggling with the “being organised” bit. The other day I saw someone advertising their services as a life planner. Hmm…
- Speak to your employer about rearranging your work schedule, if possible. It’s my dream to be able to work from home one day and to turn the granny flat at the back of our house into an office.
- Set boundaries and don’t say “yes” to everyone’s requests.
- Take a break and slow down for a cup of coffee or a chat with a friend.
- Find a type of exercise you enjoy and try to include your children so that everyone benefits. The research is growing that exercise keeps stress at bay. For me time is an issue, as I have a very long commute everyday. I’m still working on my plan to do more exercise.
- Take time to laugh. When is the last time you had a good laugh with your kids? My crazy little boy gets at least a few laughs from me with his antics. Bring more fun into your lives and create fun family memories. Do spontaneous things like baking the dog a cake for his birthday.
- Schedule date nights with your partner. This doesn’t have to cost much – go for a walk, watch a rented movie etc. – it’s just about having time alone with your significant other.
- Take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep, follow a healthy diet and have some “down time”. Sleep, healthy diet and exercise are all things I’m still struggling to figure out. Guess I’m a work in progress. It might be difficult to fit this into an already full schedule, but proper self-care will enable you to be more efficient in your life in general.
It will be difficult to find a balanced lifestyle as a working mother, but hopefully these tips will help you stay sane for now. Remember that it is in the best interest of your children that you don’t become severely stressed and suffer from burnout. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else, even the most important people in your life.