Expectations of mothers in our busy world are ramping up, with even the most aware mums finding themselves on the ‘to-do’ list train. With our roles expanding frequently to include business owner, employee, chef, taxi, walking calendar, nurse, lover…. You can see how as working mums we are burning out at a great rate of knots. In fact, did you know that working mums are 28% more likely to burn out than working dads (Maven, 2021)?
In Australia we know that in families of children 15 and under, 75% of them have both parents working (ABS, 2021) … a huge shift from just a few generations ago when in 1984 there was just shy of 60% of mums working in the same group. So how has this dramatic shift in our families impacted us, as working women?
As mum’s the pressures to do everything right and perfect, with the appropriate developmental inputs for our kid’s brains, and maintain a level of health for ourselves is overwhelming. Throw in some at-home learning, working from home, natural disasters and lack of support as we were cloistered away from each other, and the guilt of not achieving all of the right things is massive. It’s so vital to remember that you choosing yourself first will actually provide more of the real you to your family.
Stepping away from the busy and overcoming the mum guilt is liberating and provides an avenue into perfectly selfish motherhood! Learning some simple steps to embrace yourself again is great not only for your brain but also for your soul. Beginning with one of the simple steps below can be the beginning of the process to embrace yourself again.
Find 5 minutes (or more) to choose YOU first.
It may sound simple, but when was the last time you actually spent 5 minutes doing something solely for you. Not for work, not for the family, not for the kids… for you. It might be that quiet cup of tea, it might be a breath meditation, it might be a quick movement break… or a chat with your best friend.
Nourish yourself with a simple and easy wholefood choice.
Maybe it’s as simple as increasing your water intake for a day, or choosing a whole apple for afternoon tea… or a salad for lunch. Making one switch to a wholefood that nourishes your body can be enough to begin embracing yourself again.
Prioritise a time to connect with one of your village.
Often, the first thing we discontinue doing when we get busy with life, is to stop hanging out with our gang. Our brain, our human-self, relies on human connection to function well (that’s why all of that staying away from each other was so hard in the last few years). You spending time with your friends isn’t just selfish because it’s fun, it’s actually vital for your healthy human existence. Schedule that coffee or dinner or movie or workout… and stick to it!
Infuse some old school joy in your day.
Yep…. Full permission to pop on that old dance floor favourite and dance with the kids like it is still 1999. Our brain thrives on joy, and the more we find it, the more it finds us. Kick your heels up and find that fun that you can remember from times gone past.
Finally… call in some help.
There is no mum on earth who can do all the things all the time and maintain a level of health, calm and sanity in her world. Calling in support from your people around you, from your partner, your health professional, your mum’s group or even AirTasker… whatever is achievable for you is perfectly selfish motherhood at its best. Take that extra-long nap, go outside for a walk, or just let somebody nurture you. It isn’t selfish to call in help… it’s life-preserving.
Navigating the perfectly selfish motherhood, and embracing yourself again is a key element to surviving the balance of the working mum life. Honour that inner woman inside screaming for nurturing, nourishment, love and joy… you absolutely deserve it.
Dr Ali Young is a Chiropractor and author of Work.Mama.Life. She is passionate about helping support working mothers reclaim their health and self so they can burn bright instead of burning out. You can find out more about her at www.draliyoung.com