Why is it so hard to have it all for working mothers?
The thing is that from the outside, working mums have a dream life. They have everything they always wanted, have a beautiful family, have a professional career - so it seems like after all, they did it, they managed to have it all, they must be so happy, don't they?
But when you take the time to look at their lives closer, what you find there is stress, exhaustion and self-doubt. Why is that, why is it so hard to have it all and then just enjoy it?
We always say that it takes a village to raise our kids, but let's be honest, in the modern days, there are barely any families who have the support of a village. An average woman today has very limited help around the children and the household chores, but on the other hand, she is expected to not only cover these areas but also to work and excel at her job. So the expectations are higher than ever, but the support is less and less.
They are set up for failure, as they are expected to be great mothers as if they were only dealing with motherhood and be as good employees as if they were not having kids and family life.
And these expectations don't just hang in the air around working mums who could simply learn to ignore them, unfortunately, that is not that easy. Because they want to excel at their jobs, they want to be at least a good enough mother if not perfect, but most of the days they are not able to achieve it and they feel miserable and stressed. It is a general feeling of not being good enough in any life area, while they see all other mums on social media who obviously have their sh*t together, so the problem must be with them, maybe it is hard just for them, maybe there is something wrong with them?
The vicious cycle
We all know the answer. Let go of the expectations. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Say no to everything that is not essential and have healthy boundaries. Prioritise yourself. Involve more your husband and your environment. Delegate. We all know that we can apply some obvious tools and strategies, but deep inside, it is hard to listen to these buzzwords and expressions. Because women traditionally are socialised to be good girls, to be kind, and to put others' needs first. These behaviours, these mindset became our core values, we believe these are showing us the way like a compass in this chaotic world.
And while these are indeed beautiful values, can a working mother always put others' needs first, can she always be there for everyone? The answer is obviously no, she can't, she can't please others, and she can't give in everything at work and home, because she will end up having nothing left in the tank.
But even though she knows this, she might not know how to draw the line and set healthy boundaries that would help her to live up to her values and keep her sanity at the same time - and that is the vicious circle.
They always say that motherhood is a journey of self-discovery and endless lessons from life, and I do agree with that. Because everyone wants to have it all, but it is a long journey and learning curve to find our personalised way of having it all. It takes time and effort and a lot of reflection and work to build up a life where we can communicate effectively our needs to our partner and to our colleagues, where we can say no nicely but firmly and we feel entitled to rest and focus on our well-being with the same priority as it was cleaning a house or finishing a work project for the deadline. But this is definitely worth the effort, standing up for ourselves, showing a positive example to our kids and, on top of that, enjoying a fulfilling and joyful life instead of being stressed and overwhelmed working mothers.