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Being a mom is a tough job. Being a mom in today’s world is a nearly impossible job.

Society places a lot of pressure on mothers to be able to “do it all”.

Here is a list of only some of the roles a mother is expected to fulfil:

  1. Mother — obviously, you need to be there for your kids
  2. Wife — you need to support your husband emotionally and physically
  3. Working professional — a full-time career is a no-brainer. And you need the power suit, high heels and makeup too
  4. Daughter — caring not only for your parents but also the parents-in-law
  5. Nurse — you stock up on meds, you administer meds, you take whoever needs it to the doctor. When a child is sick you stay up all night to comfort and care for the little one.
  6. Wardrobe planner — you ensure that everyone (husband included) has season appropriate clothes. Clothes that fit and that doesn’t have a gazillion holes in it. You put away out of season clothes and donate clothes that are decent but no longer fit.
  7. Household manager — you manage the domestic and the nanny. You ensure you have all the necessary household supplies. You make sure linen and curtains get washed and what have you’s get done on a regular basis.
  8. Grocery shopper — you manage the grocery budget and buy the groceries (and toiletries). You shop around for cheaper deals and make sure there’s enough toilet paper for everyone. (just in case another lockdown comes our way.)
  9. Admin assistant — you schedule the appointments. You remember the appointments. You take whoever to the appointments or make sure they know and remember where they have to be.
  10. Teacher — you are in charge of your child’s development. You need to know what the age-appropriate activities are. And you need to supply these activities and find time to teach them to your child. Oh, and you need to monitor their progress and not ever compare them to other children.
  11. Gift getter — you get the gifts for other people. Family, kids parties, friends. In fact, you are the one that remembers the important dates in the first place.
  12. Tidy-upper — you constantly pick things up off the floor, wipe surfaces clean and put things back in their place.

Oh and remember, you have to do it all 100% perfectly with a smile on your face. Otherwise, the judgement from others will be your death by a thousand cuts.

And then, when you dare complain or ask for help, you are told to practice “self-care”.

When? When are you supposed to find time to practise self-care?

Yet the irony is, if you don’t make time for yourself, eventually the entire house of cards will come tumbling down.

When I discovered the weight of all these expectations, I was overwhelmed. And it nearly crippled me.

But then I came to a realisation. It took me a while, I had to first deal with my fluctuating hormones after the birth of my son. And I had to more or less adapt to an average of 5 hours of sleep a day. (Not 5 hours at once, mind you. 5 hours in total throughout the day.)

I realised that a lot of the skills I use as a leader in the corporate world can be used to make my life as a mom easier. And it will help me find time for myself.

Skill #1: Time management

As a leader and a mom, time-management will make or break your success.

Timebox

Timeboxing is the act of assigning a specific amount of time in which to complete a task. If the task is not done within that time frame, move on or reassess whether the task is worth it.

Timeboxing is useful for two main reasons:

  1. The human mind works better under pressure. Having a time limit places a sense of urgency on the task. So you will likely spend your time more efficiently to get the task done.
  2. It prevents you from spending too much time on meaningless tasks. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in picking up toys that you never get around to doing the shopping.

Practise good calendar management

Mad calendar skills will help you:

  1. Know at a glance what your day, week or month looks like.
  2. Know what type of events you have going on (colour coding).
  3. Prioritise activities when there are clashes.
  4. See quickly whether you have enough time to meet a deadline or not.

Single-task don’t multitask

Multi-tasking in my mind means doing lots of things at the same time and not doing any of them well.

Moms that have good time management know that to be the most effective they should only focus on one thing at a time.

And likely they will only have one or two main to-do items in a day.

Skill #2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice

You don’t have to do it all yourself. Plus, a good leader and mom know when they don’t know what to do.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from people you trust and respect. And if you get any judgement, screw them and ask someone else.

Skill #3: Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise

You need to be brutal.

  1. Decide what you value the most in your life — e.g. family? Financial freedom? Your mental stability?
  2. How do these values translate into goals? — e.g. raising an independent son, not having to rely on your children when you retire, having some time to yourself every week
  3. Then look at your to-do list — it’s never-ending #amiright
  4. Decide which tasks will most contribute to your values and goals in life — tidying up vs. reading a story to your son or daughter
  5. Then follow through on the tasks you decide should have higher priority
  6. Don’t feel guilty about the remaining items on your to-do list. A to-list is never finished, it only grows.

Skill #4: Delegate

Despite what society expects, you can’t do it all yourself. You have to let go. You can, I’ve got faith in you.

  1. Look at your to-do list again
  2. Which of those tasks absolutely have to be done by you and no-one else?
  3. Who in your life can help you? Nanny, domestic, husband, grandma or grandpa…?
  4. Ask them to help
  5. Let them do it their way. There is more than one way to skin a cat and if you try to micromanage everything you’re defeating the purpose. Plus, it might mean they don’t want to help you in the future.

Skill #5: Teach, don’t do

  • Teach your child to eat with cutlery, don’t feed them by hand.
  • Teach them to drink out of a cup, don’t keep holding the bottle for them
  • Teach them to pack away their toys, don’t do it only by yourself
  • …you get the idea

Yes, it will take more time initially. Yes, we are all impatient and have a lot of things to do. But yes, it will save you time in the long run. And save your sanity.

Imagine your day when you don’t have to constantly supervise your child. If they could dress and feed themselves.

Those small acts add up and save you LOTS of time and energy.

I know, I know. You can’t always teach, sometimes you have to do it for them. But when you can, teaching will have a much larger benefit.

Refer to your values and goals. Stop feeling as if everything has to be done “right now”. Take those extra 5 minutes to show your daughter how to pull the shirt over her head.

Children are willing and able to learn much earlier than you think. Give it a go, you might be surprised.

Skill #6: Manage your expectations

You mostly feel disappointed because your expectations weren’t met.

You were looking forward to coffee with a friend but your son fell ill. Or you wanted to attend a webinar but your daughter couldn’t fall asleep.

Plan, but don’t set your hopes too high. That way, when you actually manage to do what you planned, it’s so much sweeter. And if you don’t, you won’t feel devastated.

Mommies, realise you have a lot on your plate. It takes its toll mentally and physically.

Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself. Take your small victories each day and celebrate them.

We are superheroes, but even superheroes need to know their limits and when to ask for help.

Join our Facebook Group for superhero mommies.



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