Four Bits of Advice I’d Give Myself When I Was a Young Mother

The expression working-mother is grammatical, socially, and spiritually incorrect.

It is like saying hard steel or wet water. It’s so redundant that it is offensive to the number of women who look back in their years of raising their children and don’t really remember how they actually did because the amount of work was ginormous.

Most women would say: I put one foot on the front of the other until the end of the day.  The next day I did it again, and the next, and the next.

It is a 24/7 type of work. And even when the children grow, the work diminishes, but there is still work.

The spirits of the women who stayed home can’t fathom the idea that they worked endless hours without monetary compensation and are not included in the pull. Staying home was not the lazy choice or the easy decision; it was a calling.

I worked before and after my children were born. And when I took 2 weeks’ vacation because the daycare closed for the month of August (the other 2 weeks I hired a babysitter), I worked harder than going to the office. I remember the days I missed the office during vacation. Of course, sorrow followed it. I loved my children, but I was staving for downtime where I didn’t have to be a director or a mommy.  I needed to be just Ana.

I’m now 52 years old.  The women in my regeneration didn’t have good role models as far as self-care. Our boomer’s mothers and teachers were more concerned about advising us in our careers because not too many of them made it far into their ambitions in a masculine environment.

Today’s young mothers probably won’t have the time to read my advice. They work from home, are schooling their children amidst working the job, and taking care of the family. My young friends are struggling and asking for help.  They are more aware than my generation.  They feel there is something wrong. We were not meant to work all the time. Other cultures have figured it out. Why can’t we?

My daughters are now 24 and 21 years old. One of my inheritances I leave them is the ability to practice self-care guilt-free, something I didn’t do when they were young.  And when I did, out of exhaustion and desperation, I was soaked with guilt. Everything worked out despite my fears and insecurities. All my worries never happened. 

If I could go back in time, here is the advice I would have given myself 23 years ago: 

ONE. YOU ARE TOO BUSY. You need to schedule downtime. If it is not on the calendar, it is likely not to happen.

TWO. YOU ARE WORRYING TOO MUCH. Children are resilient. They understand when you need 30 minutes to recharge yourself uninterrupted. Ask for it.

THREE. YOU ARE OVERTHINKING. People may judge you, and if they do, who cares?  You have become your worst critic. Tune into yourself and set your priorities in place. If the job cannot understand your child is sick, then that company is not for you.  Know your worth.

FOUR.  YOU ARE ABANDONING YOURSELF. Having a long to-do list is a way to get organized and make things happen. But before you plan all that, feed your spirit in the morning.  You could wake up 30 minutes early to meditate, exercise while you listen to inspirations, pray, or go for a walk. Your day will be perfectly aligned because you are whole, and you will feel it.  Then your list will be shorter because you will understand that your self-esteem is never tied to your accomplishments. 

Please like and share. If you know a busy mother who could benefit from this advice, pass it on.

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