As a frazzled and busy working mother in IT, do you get overwhelmed by the love and the sense of connection or rather by stress and resentment? Do you lack self-esteem and recognition most of the time, and do you feel you are anything but free and fulfilled? What is the reason behind this, what is wrong with you? You have everything you always wanted, a husband, kids, a nice home, and a great job, so why are you not living a Zen life? Well, according to Maslow, it is because you can’t concentrate on fulfilling your higher-level needs until you have challenges to cover the basics.
Maslow created his famous pyramid to demonstrate the hierarchy of needs – to put it very simply - if you are struggling to cover your basic physiological or safety needs, you most probably won’t have the capacity to think about your life purpose and how can you live a fulfilling life. And very often, as a working mother, you put others’ needs first so often that you are not able to climb up higher than the very first or second level - fighting daily to get your basic needs covered.
What are the basics to cover? Well, if you are like most corporate mums, I bet you don’t sleep enough, you don’t have the minimum 7-8 hours of beauty sleep most days. Yes, you eat, you put food into your mouth, but does it mean that you eat healthy food in a relaxed environment, does it mean that your body had the time to prepare for digestion and your attention is mainly on your plate? If you are like most working mums, you most probably had to stand up 10 times during mealtime to serve your small family members’ needs and you eat your guilty treasures hidden from your kids. Going to the loo or having a shower alone – I even don’t tease you with those.
I bet you don’t pay as much attention to your health as you wanted. Most probably you live a sedentary lifestyle, and even if your body, especially your back are aching here and there, you have no time to exercise as much as your body (and mind) would like you to – and I don’t talk about going to the gym 5 times a week, I just mean walking and spending time on the fresh air or stretching a little bit your body from time to time. I'm also sure that you take your kids to all medical appointments on time, but are you taking care of your regular check-ups responsibly?
Yes, we women are often socialized to put others’ needs first, to be gentle and kind and help others. We were raised to sacrifice ourselves for others and not really raise our voices when something doesn’t feel good. Yes, being a working mum is beautiful, amazing and can be fulfilling on its own, and yes, we get a lot of hugs and love, but still, we struggle to focus on our very basic physical needs, while we are expected to perform great at our jobs, be supermoms and sexy wives, and this contradiction has serious consequences on our well-being. It makes us stressed, resentful and angry, which are the shouting signs that we also have necessities.
The first step is awareness and initiating conversations about this gap, this unfulfilled need, then can we move to the next step and make changes in our lives. Just remember, if you don’t prioritise your own needs, no one else will, and you won’t be able to get to the level of Esteem or Self-actualisation - meaning that you are in balance in your life and you feel that you have it all.
On which level are you most days?