DON’T LET MOTHERHOOD overwhelm you

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These are hard days for any mother out there. Not only do you have to juggle between household chores and family needs, but also a career that is sapping the energy out of you. And motherhood is no mean feat whether you are a stay-at-home mum or a working mum. But what do you do when overwhelmed with responsibilities? We tell you.

Somehow, the society’s expectations and sometimes one’s own personal expectation as a mother is that you need to be a “supermom.” Daily, you juggle between household chores, taking care of your family, leading a team at work, studying and personal errands – the list is endless. This leaves you overstretched and with no time to enjoy the little things of life including the gift of motherhood.

Many mothers are afraid of saying no and losing control especially if it feels like they are relinquishing mother-related tasks. Working mothers have the added guilt of being away from their children for a number of hours daily, forming the basis of their guilt and reluctance to say no. They want to do it all and when they perceive that another mother seems to have figured out the balancing act perfectly, they feel even worse about themselves. It is not unusual to find a mother secretly crying in between tucking her kids to bed and doing the dishes. These feelings of being overwhelmed results to burn-out and sometimes depression. But there are ways to avoid being overwhelmed.

Take on only what you can handle. You can only do so much, accept that and move on. Do not say yes to everything just to please people; have a priority list and if someone wants you to accompany them to an event or assist them during your alone time, do not feel guilty saying no. Saying yes to what is not a priority for you will affect your general well-being and ruin your chances of contentment. Also, understand that you cannot do everything and do it perfectly okay, so only bite off what you can chew. Motherhood is synonymous with multitasking but you need to learn to focus on one thing at a time.

Reduce your expectation. So what if you can’t prepare dinner every night for your family because you get home exhausted? Just simply make arrangements with your housekeeper. Mums tend to place unnecessary pressure on themselves by trying to satisfy not only their expectations, but also that of others, eventually leading to stress.

Avoid placing strict and unrealistic expectations on yourself because when things do not turn out as you expected, then you are likely to be frustrated. Be a little kind to yourself and do not listen to the little voice in your head that is constantly telling you how you are not good enough. Negative self-talk and harsh criticism will only add up more pressure. Learn to accept what you can and cannot do at this stage of your life and be content with it.

Seek help. You will be amazed at how many people are willing to assist you, if only you ask and don’t assume people will say no when you ask for help. If you need someone to babysit your children so that you can have some time to pamper yourself, just ask and be open to receiving whatever help others are willing to provide. Close relatives and friends would be more than willing to lend a hand.

Have a schedule that works for you. Begin by stating the things that are very important to you and create boundaries so that distractions don’t interfere with it. For instance, if spending time over the weekend with your family is important to you, then refuse to share this time with anything or anyone else unless of course it is an emergency. While at it, watch out for your physical health. Don’t be too busy with others that you forget yourself. Exercise regularly, eat a nutritious diet and get plenty of sleep.

Published in February 2016

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