This article lists 3 of the most important things I’ve learned as a working mom. Of course, I’ve learned probably about a thousand things over the years, so limiting it to three was hard. As a working mom, there are things you do each day that help you juggle everything with more calm, laughter, and maybe even some energy.
Below is the podcast version of this article. The podcast explains things so much better than a blog post. I invite you to listen and also hear some examples and enjoy some laughs! You can subscribe to the podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or click here for a link to the podcast on iTunes.
Let’s do a fun exercise.
Let’s imagine ourselves before we had kids.
- Think about how you looked.
- Where did you live?
- What job did you have, and who were your coworkers?
- Your friends?
- What were you thinking about?
I’m curious, what were your thoughts about being a working mom? For me, a year before having kids, I refused to let myself even think about what my life would look like. I knew my life was already too busy with obligations and long workdays and I didn’t even want to consider how i’d add anything else.
Even when pregnant I stuck my head in the sand and refused to think about what life would be like.
And you know what? I don’t regret this avoidance strategy.
Denial isn’t always bad. It can help us cope.
The things I’m going to share may things you know, but they may be things you don’t actually implement.
All three things listed are things most of us fight. And if you don’t fight them, congratulations! It’s because you’ve learned and integrated the lessons into your life.
The lessons mentioned below are ones that are hard to practice and sometimes we may fail. But the goal is to keep trying till one day, they become a habit and feel easy.
Lesson #1: Self-Care is Not Optional
This is perhaps the most important lesson of all. And this lesson is especially hard for newer Moms.
If you’re a newer Mom, do not roll your eyes or think you have no time for this.
Experienced Moms will tell you that this is no joke.
And you may not believe us because society tells you that to be a good mom you need to sacrifice yourself for your kids.
I’ve got news for you. If you’d like to be a screaming miserable mom who never sleeps, sure, don’t take care of yourself.
Our society makes it sound funny.
How many jokes are there about the Mom who lives in yoga pants and drinks too coffee and wine?
It’s not funny.
And it’s very damaging.
Here’s an example of a quote that sounds lovely, but actually perpetuates the damaging culture that Moms need to sacrifice themselves for others.
“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” -Tenneva Jordan
This quote sounds wonderful, but if you think about it, this is the kind of BS that causes Moms to believe that if we take care of ourselves, we’re doing something wrong.
I’m going to tell you straight out that this is for the birds.
And I know you’ve been seeing rhetoric like this since before your kids were even conceived.
It’s no wonder you have trouble taking time to rest or recharge.
Everyone else is more important than you.
Stop Perpetuating the Harmful Culture
Especially if you have daughters, you don’t want to perpetuate the belief that once she has kids, she should no longer take care of herself. That she has to give and give until she has a physical or mental health crisis.
Instead, be the example and do your self care!
Self-care is not optional and it’s not funny to joke about Moms who are in constant dishevel.
Instead, model what it means to have self-care. Teach the young women you know that this is not optional.
Let’s help ourselves and the next generation know that you can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t give to others when you don’t take care of yourself.
Lesson #2: Keep Everything as Simple As Possible.
A few weeks ago instead of making my usual homemade pizza crust, I bought an inexpensive, ready-made dough from Trader Joes. I was amazed when my kids LOVED it!
As Moms, we tend to overcomplicate everything. We make fancy dinners (with home-made crusts!) that no one eats.
Instead, we need to practice the art of simplicity.
Simple can actually be HARD. It’s hard to let go.
We all want to have our house be perfect, our kids eat perfectly, everything to be in order.
So we try to make things complicated.
But what I’ve learned as working mom is that the more we can keep things simple:
- the more likely we’ll be successful (our kids will actually EAT their dinner)
- We’ll knock things off on our to-do list and feel like a rock star
- The happier and less stressed we’ll be.
LESSON #3: Bedtime is Not Optional
The third lesson I’ve learned is that bedtime is not optional, either for us OR for our kids.
Before having kids, I’m ashamed to admit that I used to judge family’s who were rigid about bedtime. Now I get it. A well-rested child is one that behaves so much better, is also happier.
It’s the same for us and our partners.
Working moms know that to be able to keep all the wheels moving, we need sleep, our kids need sleep, and our partner needs sleep.
Sleep is not optional.
It’s in my top 3 list because I think this is the biggest challenge for many Moms. For me, it’s my biggest complaint. Feeling tired is what keeps me from getting things done. From being present with my kids. From enjoying my life.
What have you Learned Since Becoming a Working Mom?
I invite you to think of the most important lessons that have made a difference to you and to realize how far you’ve come.
So many Moms focus on the things they HAVEN’T done.
I invite you to write you own list.
What the some of the most important things you’ve learned as a Mom and….then if you want to go to the next level: how will you use what you’ve learned to make changes to your life?