Serving Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties

Working Moms: Help Needed

Recently, iVillage and TODAY.com published the results of The 2011 Moms At Work Survey. Seven hundred working moms participated in this survey and provided some noteworthy results:

• 90% of the moms surveyed feel tired and stressed.
• In two-thirds of dual working families, moms continue to be responsible for 75% or more of the household chores, with 97% of those surveyed responsible for half or more of the household chores.
• 47% of the moms are not happy with the time they spend trying to keep healthy and fit.
• 70% of the moms are not happy with the amount of time spent with their partners outside of the office.
• 23% would love additional support from their friends and families; 41% want more support from their partners.
• 68% of the moms would gladly trade their office assistant for an assistant at home.

As mothers, we all struggle to balance work and family life every single day. Some manage to find a balance by making different life choices – leaving the workforce to raise their children, choosing to reduce our work hours if possible, having family help out, or continuing to work full-time and obtain other help on the home-front. Some never seem to be able to find a balance. They don’t have the ability to change the number of hours they work for financial reasons. They don’t have family nearby that can help out. Still others see it as a weakness to admit they cannot do it all. We love to see ourselves as Super Woman – do we not?

However, we need to keep in mind that being Super Woman is never in our best interest! Being Super Woman means that we place ourselves last on our priority list. When we are last on our list, our physical and mental health, our relationships with our family and friends, our children and our spouses all suffer. It’s like being in an airplane and the oxygen masks drop. Our instructions are to put on our masks first, then those of our children. In life, we need to find ways to care for ourselves and recharge so that we can then care for those around us. We need to find time in our action-packed days to exercise, meditate, walk with friends, walk the dog, read – whatever we can do to recharge. Even if it is only for 15 to 30 minutes, it is something!

How do we find this precious time? We need to learn to delegate which as women we don’t find easy to do. We can delegate to our children. From a very early age, our children are perfectly capable of cleaning off the table, cleaning up their toys, or helping to collect the trash. Children learn responsibility from being expected to help out around the house. We can delegate to our partner. They may not do the dishes, clean the bath or vacuum the same way that we do. But is that really necessary? Why not require the entire family to pitch in to our benefit?

On the weekend, call for a 10, 15, or 30 minute “tidy”. Set the timer for a pre-determined amount of time. During that time, all members of the household must move! They must be picking up, putting away, dusting, emptying trash, etc. When the timer goes off, move onto a fun family activity.

Can’t delegate to a child or partner? Look for a personal assistance or concierge service in your area. See if you can hire them to run some errands to take the pressure off of you. Can’t afford the services on your own? Get a group of moms in the neighborhood with common errands to pull together and split the cost of the service. There are so many things you could delegate: grocery shopping, dry cleaners, special occasion gift shopping, post office stops, pharmacy pickups, store returns, etc. What you can delegate is only limited by your own imagination.

Think about it. Your family members already think that so many chores in your house just “get done.” Don’t the groceries just magically appear? Don’t your husband’s work shirts get magically dry cleaned and returned to his closet? Just think that you can also have these things “magically” get done so that you can have more time to take care of you!