Overhwelmed Exhausted Working Moms - is this you?

I have recently read that there has been a 900% increase in the amount of times the terms Overwhelmed Working Mom and Exhausted Working Mom have been searched on databases in the past year.  900%!  What do we do when our problem solving has been tapped out and we still have hope that there is some answer that will relieve us of this exhaustion? We google it. And mamas, y'all are googling desperately. Because you are exhausted. And overwhelmed. And you are parenting. And maybe working in some capacity that brings in income.

I don't know if Google has an answer, but I have some suggestions. First, know you aren't alone.  For the past fifty years women have been trying to do it all, and our culture has been increasingly telling us we can if we just work hard enough while also putting more expectations on us about what we should be doing as mothers. (hint - you do not have to schedule rolling over practice for your baby.)

Second, recognize that there are societal norms that are working against you. You are not lacking in some personal characteristic that makes others succeed where you are flailing. The very expectation that you should be able to parent, do all the mental labor of running a home, and contribute to society in some other way while feeling rested happy and fulfilled 100% of the time is unrealistic. Caring for little ones is hard. It is harder when we lack paid quality child care, sufficient maternity and paternity leave, adequate affordable healthcare and have cultural expectations that women are more capable of caring for children and running a home than men. 

So what can help?  I recently watched a documentary called Fair Play that I highly recommend. Watch it with your partner. It begins with couples being asked what percentage of domestic tasks each person does in the home. How would you and your partner answer? Increasing awareness and conversation with your partner is the beginning of changing the dynamic of how you support each other. Daily check ins about who is taking care of what are a great start. 

Another step that can help is to consider your values and how the choices you make are reflective of them. Most of the women I work with tell me they want to be more present when they are with their kids, but also want time for themselves. Consider where you can let go of things that are not as valued by you (even if others value them) so you can focus on those that are most important to you. Can you live with a little more mess in order to spend meaningful time with your child, or with a friend? Research has demonstrated time and again that time/energy spent in fostering meaningful relationships increases life satisfaction and overall happiness. Think small. Start a text thread with a friend. Send a message letting someone know you are thinking about them. Take opportunitites to share how you are really doing, to really connect with people, instead of "I"m fine how are you?" that we tend to say in passing. Even small connections add up.  

At the end of the day, know you are doing the best you can in dificult circumstances. And if you need more support, reach out. You are worth it. 

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