Welcome to the 21st century – Where moms are expected to be excellent caregivers, full time employees, PTA Presidents, wonderful wives, master chefs, home keepers and fitness gurus.
In the 1920’s women (mostly) had one role. They were responsible for taking care of their families. They typically cooked, cleaned and made sure their children were happy and healthy. It was an easy life that involved a lot of socializing with other women who held the same roles. This sounds glorious, but this simpler life came with some major pitfalls. Women were just gaining the right to vote, and they were looked at as inferior to men. Most women didn’t work, but it was partially due to the fact that they weren’t allowed to.
How much has changed in the last 90+ years!
While many of these changes have been great, they’ve also put women in a major dilemma. It’s as if women are expected to be two people: The wife/mother/homemaker and the employee/entrepreneur/breadwinner. Obviously this isn’t the case in all families, but it is the case with most millennial families and those of younger generations.
Most 20-something men can’t bring in the sole income for a family, so the woman is required to work. Because of this cultural shift, many women find themselves trying to balance it all. I personally remember a time not long ago where I was a mommy, a wife, a full time student (with 24 credit hours/semester), a full time employee, and a dance coach. I was lucky to get 4 hours of sleep a night!
If you’re an overwhelmed mommy who doesn’t remember the last time you did something for yourself, I feel your pain. It’s hard to balance it all, impossible even. You find yourself trying to juggle everything and then feel like a failure because you dropped the ball on something.
You’re tired. You’re overworked. You feel like quitting.
I get it.
Stop blaming yourself, or believing the lie that you’re a bad mom. Let’s face it ladies. If our husbands had to work an 8 hour shift, come home to cook dinner, sit at the urgent care with a vomiting kid, change 6 diapers before noon, do three loads of laundry, go grocery shopping and put a screaming child to sleep ALL IN ONE DAY, they’d want to quit too. You’re not a failure for caring. You simply want the best for your family and you do everything you can to give it to them.
Try this for honesty: I’ve put my kid down for bed without a bath and freshly brushed teeth. I’ve forgotten to give my son his antibiotic. I’ve ordered pizza for dinner two nights in a row. And I’ve been so burnt out that I went a day without a shower, without brushed hair and without changing out of my pjs.
It’s okay to be imperfect! There’s no way you can live up to the 21st century image of the perfect wife and mommy. Not even superwoman herself could be the modern woman of the 21st century. I’d love to see her after having a few kids and breaking her 10th diet this year. I bet she’d have the same dark circles under her eyes and pudge around her waste that the rest of us have.
I feel like I can hear you through the screen right now. You’re so tired and you do so much, but a part of your wouldn’t trade it for anything. You love your family so much – so much that sometimes you forget to love yourself. You rarely hear a thank you for all your hard work because you’re simply “expected” to be awesome. You feel like the martyr of the family, but you almost take pride in playing that role. In your mind, there’s nothing greater in life than knowing that you’ve been a big part of the reason that you’re family’s successful.
I salute you for your hard work – for caring so much about the husband and children that God has given you. But I also give you permission to SLOW DOWN.
I know this goes against every instinct you have, but you don’t have to do it all. God gave you a husband to be your partner. He gave you family and friends to walk through life with you as your greatest supporters.
If you’re exhausted and OVER IT ALL, I dare you to ask one person for help today. When they do help, don’t get mad when it’s done differently than you’d do it. I used to be TERRIBLE about this. I’d ask my husband to pick up the living room, and out of the goodness of his heart he would do it. Then, I’d go completely OCD and start complaining about how everything was in the wrong place. How much do you think that motivated him to help in the future? I was discouraging my greatest helper and frustrating us both in the process.
Next, you have to stop sweating the small things! Is it really the end of the world if the laundry that’s normally done on Saturday isn’t done until the next Wednesday? NO… It’s not. You can wait a day or two to vacuum, and the base boards being a bit dusty aren’t going to kill anyone. Prioritize the important things and learn to let the smaller things go until you can make time for them. What are the important things, you ask? God, your husband, and your children. Make time with them the number one priority. Work should be second and everything else can fall into place after that.
Finally, remember that you can’t care for anyone else without first caring for yourself. I’ve done a good bit of flying throughout my life, and it always catches my attention when the flight attendant tells the passengers to put on their air masks before assisting others with their masks. The attendant realizes something important: You can’t help others breathe if you’re suffocating yourself.
The same goes for being a mommy and wife. Once you’re burnt out you can’t care for others well at all. Go take a warm bath, get your nails done and buy yourself a new outfit. Make yourself a priority so you can take care of those you love even better.
Keep up the hard work, SuperMom. You may not always feel appreciated, but you’re a true gem to your family. Without you it would all fall apart. So reward yourself with a little breather, and then get back to loving on your precious family.
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