I recently found a survey that revealed that working moms who try to do-it-all have a higher incidence of depression. Apparently ascribing to the ideal that women can do-it-all actually increases the level of depressed symptoms one might develop as compared to women who were more skeptical of whether or not work and family can be balanced.
I am not surprised. Anyone who thinks they can work full time and pull off super-mom and super-wife is nuts. It just ain’t happening! And I can see how if you think you can do it all and fail, you might really feel badly about yourself. Luckily I don’t suffer from this delusion. I know I can’t do it all, and I really don’t try to. But this did get me thinking. What are the things that I do to keep me sane and off of Prozac? I came up with 5 items. So, if you currently riding the crazy train and feeling down in the dumps, this is your stop. Maybe these tips will help out just a little bit. I don’t want to see us working moms depressed!
Five things that help me survive being a full time working mom.
1. Cleaning Lady – If I ran the world, all working moms would have a cleaning lady. If not every week, at least a couple of times a month. Cleaning has to get done eventually, and the weekends are no time for scrubbing toilets. I see my daughter 4 hours each day and I am not going to spend Saturday and Sunday cleaning like I did prior to children. Weekend time is family time, and so I sacrifice to pay for a cleaning lady twice a month. I pack my lunch, don’t get a fancy coffee in the morning and it is totally worth it to come in the door twice a month to the house being scrubbed top-to-bottom and a giant to-do off my never ending list!
2. Doing things during the week – I learned the hard way that you can’t leave everything for the weekend when you are a working mom. It makes the weekends stressful, not fun and really exhausting. Errands can be done at lunch and on the way to and from work if timed properly (i.e. picking up that birthday present, grocery shopping, dry cleaning.) Knocking just a few small errands off the list as the week goes by can make all the difference.
3. Daddy do – Husbands are our partners in life and they know deep down that if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. So ask your husband to help, and be specific. It is amazing if you ask nicely and not when you are at your breaking point the assistance they can and will provide. My man rocks the grocery store (with a very specific list I provide), vacuums like a champ and has even been throwing in a load of laundry lately. Seriously, ask sweetly, and not in your barky-von-schnauzer voice and let me know how it goes.
4. Night before preparation – Kids are not the only ones who need to organize the night before; this too applies to us moms too. I pick my clothes out (make sure they are ironed), put my purse and laptop bag by the door and pack my lunch. It makes getting out the door way less stressful. With little ones who are going to throw some curve ball in those early am hours, it takes our mess out of the equation.
5. Hall Pass – I think the most important thing to do to avoid getting stressed out and depressed is to give yourself a break. You work full time; you have kids, a husband, and a household to take care of. No one can do it all. Don’t expect to be any different. Give yourself a hall pass every once in a while. So you can’t make something from scratch for the bake sale, so what if your house needs to picked up, and no one ever died from having a bowl of cereal for dinner.
Totally agree with the first one!! We joked after our first child was born and we were trying to cut down on expenses what we could do without and our cleaning lady was the thing on the list that would be last to go, we decided we would give up cable TV before we gave her up! Having her do the big clean every other week allows us the time to do the small cleans in between but still have some down time as a family.
Great article and good tips! I am still adjusting to doing it all after our move back to the US (I had a full time live in maid/nanny overseas for the last 2 years) and have noticed that I have been running franticly around on the weekends. Thanks!
What a great post! And from the man point of view I can’t thank you enough for the advice about BEING SPECIFIC. We know you want help and deserve help and trust that your manpartner really wants to help but also know that we’re kinda clueless. We can usually tell when the grass needs mowing but beyond that we need a little specific prompting. A simple, “hey be a sweetie and get the dishes for me, OK?” works wonders.
Thanks for sharing!
Barky von schnauzer!
Amen, sista! Your post is perfect! As a relative “newbie” to the working world after six years at home, I appreciate every bit of advice you offer. Thanks for reminding me that there is no such thing as “doing it all.” xoxo
I have been informed that these are great tips for moms with younger kids still in daycare (like me). Apparently school age children bring an entirely new level of chaos and challenges. I’ll have to be thinking about updating this blog when I have homework, sports and activities on top of everything else. Yikes!! If anyone else has other tips, be sure to share!
Dry cleaning home delivery and pick up saves time and the service doesn’t seem to cost more than dropping off. Another huge time saver is ordering groceries online and picking up. It also minimizes the impulse buys. A few nights a week we have simply fresh to you deliver. If it’s reasonable I outsource……stress reduced and more time w family!