A client asked me recently, "What do you believe are the most common reasons that mothers are overwhelmed?" I thought about this great question and decided to share with you my response. I'm giving you my top three here. Enjoy!
Mothers are overwhelmed and over scheduled due to the variety of extra-curricular activities that they find themselves in this time of the school year as well as the regular obligations of work, home and volunteer commitments. Today, mothers are no longer multitasking but instead mega tasking.
If we follow the pattern backwards, it often points directly to the fact that moms never learn how to stop the "Mom-Me" rollercoaster. Here are some common mistakes made by mothers and another course of action they could be taking.
1. Mothers accept unrealistic workloads and allow guilt to drive them to create schedules that don't work. They fail to delegate family chores effectively and find themselves exhausted by trying to do it all, and then blame themselves when it doesn't work out.
Action: Mothers need to learn to delegate properly. The reason for delegating work is to get the family to help with the needs of the family. Delegated projects should always be appropriate to the ability of the child to whom it is given. If the mom is washing dishes after dinner, she has to learn to ask her spouse for help with other nighttime tasks such as bath, bed time or planning for the next day.
2. Mothers fail to create a family culture of support. Children often have chores and have no idea of the value their task has on family living. As a result, family members don't come to understand that everyone has a vital role of supporting the family. This teaches children that if one family member forgets their important family role then it impacts the entire family community.
Action: Mothers need to make sure that children understand not only what they are doing but why they are doing it. This builds the esteem of children and teaches them the importance of accountability. Parents need to explain to their children that active families need active family members to lighten the responsibilities to make time for these extra-curricular responsibilities. Often children have no idea of the "cost" of baseball practice on the family's schedule.
3. Mothers can be very picky, and rigid in family expectations, and seem to focus on wanting things done in one specific manner. This makes family members feel unappreciated, that nothing they do is right, that they can never please their mom, and hence, the desire to help dies.
Action: Mothers must be open to having things approached differently if they want help from the family. The process of involving the family to help is a process of give and take. Having a family meeting to discuss weekly task and allowing each family member to share their best alternatives for helping. Mothers must remember to praise those family members who are consistently helping out. Husbands and children love to hear that their contributions are making a difference.
In a nutshell, the happiest mothers are those who learn how to articulate their needs clearly, get help when needed and set realistic boundaries of what they can and can not do.
As a "coached mom ", the "Mother" has a deep understanding of the five essential strategies for personal self-care and these replace the old methods of "Mommy Martyrdom": In my book, Time for mom-Me: 5 Essential Strategies for A Mother's Self-Care, I discuss the following five tenets of self-care for moms. They are:
Creating a personal schedule that honors the mother's values, allowing the mother to set realistic boundaries and allow her to fully enjoy what she commits too.
In order for a mother to truly help someone else she must begin by helping herself. In order to truly be a wonderful contributor, you must help yourself first. Mothers who commit to a reduced life load find that they get more enjoyment out of life.
Motherhood does not completely define us but enhances what already is. This involves understanding that while mothers create the lives of our children they must remember that it is their life too. When mothers establish viable supportive networks to assist them they recognize that they become stronger at parenting.
Anytime a mother wants to make a change in your life she must begin by raising her standards. She has to decide that she wants more out of her life. Next, a mother must understand she must change what she believes is possible and be willing to try new strategies. She must be open to learning from non-judgmental sources like "mom-coaches" about techniques, solutions and real strategies on creating ways to incorporate what she wants into her life.
This strategy is aimed at helping mothers make shifts in their lives that leave them changed for the better. Personal growth is recognizing that mothers have the capacity to be more of who they are.
In short, mothers have to find time for the "Me" in Mom and learn the Five Essential Strategies for a Mother's Self-care.