Professional Women · Task Management · Working Mother

Calm the Stress, Working Mom

It seems that stress becomes my “normal” more often than it should. Where is the school permission slip? Will my floor ever be clean? I cannot wait for sports season to be over. Oh, and I really am the “meanest mom” in the whole world.

As working moms, our tasks list and expectations are always big. Every time we manage to tick something off the list, two more things take it’s place.

Some things I choose to have on my list and others appear there based on expectations from myself or others. For example, I choose to take the kids to the library to read in our quiet corner, but I’m expected to wash dishes after each meal. (You know which one wins that, right?)

A friend shared an article with me from the Washington PostHow this stressed-out working mom calmed her chaotic life. In the article, Joanne Westall states,

 “I want to have peaceful, high-quality interactions with my family as opposed to the frazzled, stressed exchanges I’m offering now,” she said. “I can’t get out of the house without losing it. I just don’t like who I’m becoming.”

My favorite tip from the article is “Take Time For Yourself.” For many of us working moms, what we need seems to be the last on the list and the first to go when we run out of time or energy.

I’m fairly certain most of us working moms can relate to the comments in this article. It can be overwhelming just to think of everything that needs action or is expected of me. When I feel the stress taking over, it’s time for an inventory of what is on that list.

In a previous post (What do I have to do?), I talk about how I ask myself if this is something only I can do. Does it have to be me or can it be delegate or, even better, deleted. Not everything on our list needs to be done by us, or even done at all.

Seems weird – if it’s on my task list, of course it needs to be done. Maybe – maybe not.

For example, I had a grand vision of changing up my landscaping in my front yard this spring. (Of course, I wanted to change it so it was lower maintenance than my current landscaping.) That task was on my list for a good 8 weeks before I realized it was just not going to be a priority for me this year. Off my list and in my tickler file.

For each of my three children, there is at least one game that I need to bring team treats to. This is very important!!! Especially to hungry, growing kids. However, do I have to be the one to do it? I’m usually playing taxi and rarely get to see one entire game for a child. The grandparents do, though. So one sweet ask to grandparents and they were willing to bring team treats to the game.

Finally, some of my tasks are based off of the list of “shoulds” that I have in my brain. Crazy expectations I have based on unrealistic pictures of “real life.” I really love seeing pictures of families on bright, sunny mornings, enjoying breakfast together in a beautiful, clean kitchen. Would I love to have that – sure! Is it realistic – NO! My expectations for most meals now is much different. I do try to have one fun family breakfast like that on a weekend day, but the rest is a different story. (See Meal time is family time.)

Take a look at your task list and use a large black permanent marker to get rid of the fluff. Focus on what you really need and want for your family and enjoy!

 

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