Today’s busy moms don’t have enough hands, enough time in the day, or enough energy to balance work and play. A focus on organization— rather than perfection— may be the key to balancing work and play for today’s busy moms. Here are seven essential ingredients to help women balance and organize their worlds:
- Essential Ingredient #1: Make Time to Nurture Yourself.
- Essential Ingredient #2: Take Charge of Your Parenting Style/Philosophy.
- Essential Ingredient #3: Implement Creative Solutions (with an Organized Approach).
- Essential Ingredient #4: Feed Your Soul.
- Essential Ingredient #5: Keep an Organized Home.
- Essential Ingredient #6: Solicit Help.
- Essential Ingredient #7: Make Time to Slow Down.
In Chicken Soup for the Soul – Life Lessons for Busy Moms (HCI), my colleagues and I help busy moms find optimistic approaches to nurture their whole selves, re-ignite their souls and spirits, as well as implement practical and crucial organizing tips which can transform their daily lives.
According to a report by the United States Department of Labor, between the years 1970 and 2004, the percentage of women in the workforce increased from 43 to 59 percent. In a study prepared by Pace Productivity Incorporated, stay-at-home mothers work an average of 72.4 hours a week on all home and child-related activities. Mothers who have full-time jobs work an average of 83.3 hours a week including their paid position and their home and child-related activities. Even mothers who work from the home essentially work the same number of hours as those who work full-time outside of the home.
Lori Radun wrote in her article “The Busy Mom- Is It Your Choice?,” “When life is too busy, stress increases and adrenaline levels rise. Eventually, our bodies begin to tell us we are in trouble. Common problems of an over-stressed lifestyle include physical illness, disease, anxiety and depression. Our bodies can handle only so much before they scream STOP!”
Moms are in need of support and guidance to use their time more effectively. Women with children are constantly multi-tasking, managing their household, attending to their children’s daily activities, shopping for groceries and running errands to get essential items for their spouse and children to ensure their families’ lives are functioning. Rarely do these busy moms have the time to even get their own basic needs met, whether it be taking a morning shower or attending to their own personal medical appointment.
By creating some windows of time to nurture themselves, busy moms may be able to reconnect with their “sense of self” that is sometimes “misplaced” when they are embroiled in the hectic role of motherhood. Setting and achieving realistic goals can actually make us happier: When we achieve a goal, our brain produces dopamine— the neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of pleasure. The production of dopamine in turn creates neural activity, which in fact makes you eager to pursue more new challenges. The key to organizing our lives and creating goals is to keep them realistically achievable— breaking huge projects down into smaller, more manageable ones allows moms to take advantage of the small windows of time that organizing strategies can make available.
Finally, it must be acknowledged that busy moms are fast becoming busy care-takers too. The sandwich generation is back, according to co-authors Debby Bitticks, CEO, and Lynn Benson, president, of Delphi Health Products, Inc. Bitticks is a nationally-recognized intergenerational expert, and Benson is a busy Mom who holds a masters in Social Work. The little bit of time a Mom may have had to herself has been replaced with the oversight of an aging parent.
Consider this: When we continue to take more and more funds out of our bank accounts without adding a drop of money, our account becomes depleted, then empty. That’s how our body operates. By investing in our well-being, the dividends will pay off handsomely toward our happiness and contentment. And what a profound difference our well-being can make on our entire family.