Coping with the Daily Mother Routine

By Revital Baron February 5th, 2015 To: The Road Comments

Show me a working mother who isn’t struggling with the need to find some extra hours in her day. It is not only the managing of two jobs—the one outside the home and the one in the home—but the enormous number of tasks and things to think about and attend to, that wash over you, leaving you overwhelmed and lacking in energy.

Aren't all of us mothers in the same boat? From the moment we become mothers, all our priorities change. Kids move to the front of our list, but along with them comes an unbelievably long lineup of extra responsibilities which become part of our daily routine, creating a never-ending exhausting schedule (I am getting tired just from putting it into writing):

Wake up at 6:15, prepare breakfast, make sure schoolbags are ready with the right books, equipment and special assignments, pack freshly made lunches, get ready for work, take the dog for just a short walk (before leaving for him a full day at home). On the way to work, stop at the dry cleaners, stop at the ballet store to pick up some extra tights and hair clips, stop by a gift shop to by a token from the tooth fairy, stop by the seamstress to drop off one kid's dress for adjustments. At the same time, phone the greengrocer to order fruit and vegetables, make a dentist appointment for the youngest, an eye appointment for the middle child and an orthodontic appointment for the eldest. Finally get to work. Forget all about these bits and bobs and try to concentrate, reminding yourself that this is the career you always dreamed about, your chance to jump on the road to success etc. So, you get to business… meet with a representative from the bank, run an investment strategy meeting, go over the latest international overview reports, and finish the monthly report on investments. Meanwhile, attend to unrelated phone calls— from the teacher, from another mum for final arrangements of a playdate, from a fellow PTA member, and from the eldest reminding you to buy the notebooks she needs for tomorrow. Remind yourself to find a few moments to think of an activity for the youngest’s birthday party, and open a WhatsApp group for the parents whose kids can celebrate their birthdays together. On the way home from work, stop by the supermarket for some missing groceries, take the dog to have his vaccination, drive one kid to a guitar lesson, and make a final last stop to pick up a prescription from the doctors. Finally at home, help with homework, prepare dinner, listen to the stories from their days at kindergarten and school, baths all round, final preparations for the next day, bedtime stories…

Obviously this list is far from being comprehensive—it doesn’t even mention the daily household chores, the cleaning, ironing, fixing and arranging. It doesn’t include any unpredictable or changeable events such as entertaining, malfunctioning systems at home, or the periodic shopping required for restocking the girls’ wardrobes. And that is before you even started attending to your own care regime: fitness, conversation with a friend, beauty treatments— hair, nails, facial… we each have our own long to-do list, whether constant or changing, and the end result is the creation of a never-ending routine which is very difficult to change.

Just reading this list is tiring, so why do I bother you with it? For the very reason that we all just do it and accept, either willingly or less so, that it is our responsibility. With each additional child the list doubles and just when we think there is no way we can handle anything else, we somehow manage to miraculously stretch time and get it all done.

Many of us find some creative way to juggle it all: getting help from a partner or a mother or bringing in paid help. Others choose to neglect one of the two jobs: either their career or motherhood. More and more mothers are looking for ways to combine motherhood with running a small business which relates to kids’ activities, cooking and recipes, kids’ clothing, tutorials for kids or blogs on being mothers, raising kids, organizing time, DIY—the list is endless. Whatever the solution, the majority of women are still trapped by the perception that, even today, all the traditional women’s roles are still theirs to take care of. But is this what you want for your daughters? If you think the next generation deserves a better starting place to fulfill their potential, their aspirations and their power and influence, then it is your duty to create a Modeling infrastructure for them to pursue.

Breaking the daily mother routine to start something new, a small business or a consultancy venture, is a big challenge. It is easier to find a job with a clear time frame which pays a salary at the end of the month. It is a far simpler way of justifying the time you are out of the home. Otherwise, you first need to understand the unbreakable limitations of time, or in other words, to start managing your time better by defining your preferences and priorities. You can choose to be in control of everything in the home, whether it is sorting the closets or spending quality time with the children making a cake. And if you have made this choice, then you will undoubtedly make sure the closets are all neat and orderly just how you like them. But if you don’t, and you choose to let go and have the kids take responsibility, there is a double advantage: you free yourself to spend the time doing something else, and at the same time you let your kids build their own child eco-system as they learn to navigate their own time and decisions. You can choose to spend the time preparing cookies and enjoy every moment, but you pay the price in time when you could just as well buy excellent products prepared by others who are earning a living by indulging their passion.

To start something new, to open a blog or to become a woman entrepreneur, we not only need to go out of our comfort zone but also to make sure, especially as mothers, that we acquire the fundamental resource for creation, individual thinking and stimulation – TIME. Establishing the necessary time frame is essential. That certainly doesn’t mean giving up all your duties as a mother. There are some that money just cannot buy. It just requires our attention and a decision on what we are willing to let go of and let others manage. Being an involved parent can easily consume the majority of your time; by consciously allocating time to work on your new endeavor and reducing a significant portion of those dispensable errands, you can start to make progress and, step-by-step, little-by-little, take action and build your self-confidence and self-belief.

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