If a working mom is preoccupied and stressed, she may be less efficient at her job and possibly prone to mistakes that need correcting or a slowed rate of productivity. If her child is feeling stressed and out-of-sorts, there’s more potential for further conflicts, hurt feelings and difficulty during the day.
The following tips can help working moms maintain some sanity and stress relief in their busy lives: (See this article if you're a stay-at-home mom.)
Plan Ahead and Be OrganizedBeing organized is a vital skill for working moms. If you're able to anticipate that potty-training accident on the way to daycare, for example, and keep an extra change of clothes in your car at all times, a near-catastrophe becomes an easy fix. If you plan ahead and streamline your routines, there's less fussing, forgetting things, and stressing as you move through your busy day.
Set BoundariesWorking moms play many roles, and want to be their best in all of them; indeed, the roles of mother, worker and partner require nothing less than their best. This sometimes leads to a feeling of not being able to say no--ever! For a working mom to be her best, however, she doesn't have to say yes to everyone's requests. In fact, saying "no" to responsibilities that aren't vital to her success and that of her family enables a working momsto say yes to the things in her lives that are. (See this article for more on setting priorities.)
Stay ConnectedWhile setting boundaries is vital, it's equally important for working moms to stay connected with their children, as they may be the first to point out. Children who feel neglected tend to act out more, and working moms who feel they aren't giving enough to their kids tend to feel stressed and guilty, so maintaining a strong connection is both emotionally beneficial and just plain pragmatic. And, fortunately, reducing stress doesn't need to mean giving less to kids. Spending focused time together doing an enjoyable activity can be a "multi-tasking" way to connect and relieve stress at the same time. (See this article for some stress reliever ideas.) Saying no on other areas can free up this time.
Take Care of YourselfAs you already know, if you aren't at your best physically and emotionally, you won't be performing at your best at work or with your kids. To maintain the kind of stamina and focus required to give their best to your children and to work, it's important for working moms to care for themselves the way they care for their children: by getting plenty of sleep, healthy food, and at least some "down time." It's also important to enjoy positive feedback (hugs from kids and kudos from work) to avoid burnout. It may be difficult to fit all of this into an already-packed schedule, but proper self-care will enable working moms to be more efficient in their lives, so it really pays off in several ways.
Enlist HelpMany working moms don't realize that there are people around to help them if they ask. Families would often love to step in more often to lend a hand, if only asked. Friends and neighbors can also be rallied, and supportive networks can be formed. There are often ways to hire affordable help for extra things like cleaning or cooking, to make a working mom's lifestyle less hectic. And the option of delegating tasks at work is often overlooked. For busy working moms, enlisting help is a smart way to make life less stressed and hectic.
Focus on Stress ManagementWhen harried and stressed, working moms often find themselves less able to connect with their children or focus at work, which may lead to acting-out by the kids, time-consuming mistakes at work, and other things that increase stress for working moms and their families. Therefore, taking a proactive stance on stress management is quite important. Having several quick stress relievers on hand, such as breathing exercises and reframing techniques (different ways of looking at a stressful situation), as well as long-term stress management strategies in place, like a regular exercise or meditation regimen, hobby, or supportive social circle, can relieve significant stress for working moms and their families.
In addition to these stress management practices for working moms, it's important (and often overlooked) to keep children's stress in mind. Even young children can benefit from stress relief practices like deep breathing, quiet time with mom, and massage. Because mothers and young children are so attuned to each other, reducing stress in one helps both mother and child.
Readers, Respond! What are your best tips to relieve stress as a working mom? Share your genius, and see what others have come up with.
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