Many mothers would agree that we juggle the responsibility of many roles. I stayed at mom with my preemie twins for the earlier part of their lives, and I’ve since transitioned as a mother working full time outside of the home. The balancing act of motherhood along with the differation of our family dynamics that we endure with maintaining a home, child rearing, marriage, single parenting, work, and relationships outside of the home is a plate full. I say this not complaining in a vent about motherhood, but I say this as a mother who’s finally able to admit that at times the juggling act can be daunting.
We somehow manage to balance it all from eyes looking from the outside that seemingly haven’t yet detected that occassionally inside were losing it. I won’t take on the role as power house vocalist Whitney Houston belted out in the song, “I’m Every Woman,” but I’ve had my share of roles within motherhood. I’ve balanced being a single mom, married mom, homeschooling mother, stay-at-home mom, mom of multiples, a divorced mom, and now a fulltime mom who works outside of the home. I’m also a caregiver to my daughter that lives with autism. The expectations, challenges, and demands of each role that not only I’ve experienced, but many other mothers experience each day expresses the complexity within motherhood dynamics. I’ve had my share of emotional breakdowns from the weight and pressure crying softly at night into my pillow. I’ve had expected restful weekends turn into catch up days feeling like I’ve worked a full work shift. I’ve taken a mock bathroom break to step away briefly at work from the job’s madness. I know how it feels to save face in a broken, unreciprocal, and challenging marriage while having to parent as if all things are normal. I will be the first to share with you that co-parenting isn’t for the faint at heart. I’ve experienced the challenge of establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships throughout my walk as a mother.
Single mothers have to balance dual roles in the home. She may have to take on more weight of the responsibility depending on the involvement of the father and her support system. A stay-at-home mother’s work may differ from a mother who works outside of the home, but her work should be as equally respected by society more since the tasks of managing a home along with other factors in keeping a family afloat doesn’t stop. The working mother has to balance demands outside of the home with her employer, relationships with coworkers, negotiations of childcare, and she begins her second shift of homework along with other household tasks as soon as she turns her house keys to open the door. A mother of a child with special needs has to balance being a mother, caregiver, and an advocate for her child beyond the norm of protective nurturing for her child extensively.
Motherhood does have an impact on our relationships. I don’t use motherhood as an excuse to be neglectful in relationships, but I will admit that balancing so many personalities within the complexity of our lives as mothers places our energy to interact at the brink of limitations. Marriage is a fulltime job within itself, and motherhood isn’t that far from being a job itself. The balancing act for married mothers is to not neglect their spouse’s needs in being solely focused on caring for the needs for her children. This is a hard one for many mothers because once we become mothers our children become our highest priority, but we can’t throw our spouse to the back burner. Friendships in motherhood are essential in combating the balancing act as mothers. We shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish and maintain friendships because of motherhood. It’s best for mothers to foster friendships that are healthy, equally yoked, conducive, understanding, and centered to help be of support in the motherhood journey.
Here are a few considerations to help with the balancing act of motherhood that I try to incorporate for myself:
- Create A Flexible Schedule: Pray, plan, and execute is something I try to live by. Create a schedule as an outline for you to follow giving yourself a little grace and flexibility to get things done.
- Meal Plan: Meal planning helps save time, money, and energy. Try cool apps that help with grocery shopping and meal planning like MealLime.
- Honor Your Marriage & Relationships: Schedule date nights, quality time, and tap into your spouse’s/ partner’s love language. Share in communicating what you are both going through, share the load, and don’t forget to share your love for each other in action.
- Make time for friendships: We can still have rewarding friendships as mothers in establishing and maintaining them. Schedule a time to connect with those who have shown they are true friends, send a quick text to check on a friend, and don’t fear being transparent with supportive friends of all you are going through within your motherhood if you’re feeling extra down.
- Take Care Of Yourself: You don’t have to lose yourself in the balancing act of motherhood. Find common ground by taking care of yourself first. Listen to your body, and make time to rest when you’re exhausted. Be in tune with your mental health, and don’t be ashamed to get professional help for mental health concerns. Do the things that you love, or take the leap in trying new things that interest you. Be sure to not just catch your breath, but listening to your breath with relaxing techniques like guided meditation, yoga, or pump it up with exercise.
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