September 25, 2018

Practical Parenting

Working mother? The truth is, very few mothers are not working! Whether inside or outside the home, mothers are workers — hard workers who deserve a standing ovation for the important work they do in raising children and running homes.

In this article, the term working mother refers to the mom working outside the home. According to the 2000 U.S. census, there were 6.5 million single mothers working in America.

Today, 60 percent of married women with young children work outside the home, a phenomenon that crosses all cultures and income levels. With the decision to work comes a potentially heavy price of personal, social, familial, and physical pain and/or strain, especially if the life of the working mother is not in balance.

Here are seven tested tips to help all moms restore — or maintain — balance in their busy lives:

Tip 1: Take pleasure in your work. Working for eight hours doing an unpleasant activity will add stress to your entire life. Remember, eight hours is one third of your day, so work where you are happy — even if it means making less money! This will help balance your mood.

Tip 2: Live within your means. If you’re frugal and budget-wise, you won’t be forced to work in unpleasant situations to meet unnecessary financial demands. This way, even though you may have to work, you can still choose your job and your hours. Remember: If your income exceeds your outgo, your upkeep will be your downfall!

Tip 3: Train all family members to do their home chores. Delegating the work at home keeps you from working full-time at the office — and at home! This will guard you from the stress of overwork. Just because you are Mom doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

Tip 4: Develop a financial plan for the future, and then follow it. Having a financial plan provides confidence and security. It also helps you maintain independence by avoiding the unhealthy relationships borrowing from others can cause.

Tip 5: Establish an exercise routine and be consistent. Regular exercise is the key to heart health, mental health, and overall stamina. It also guards you from being over whelmed with work and helps you have a positive mental outlook as well as a fit, trim body, which are important to women of all ages. As cardiologist Dr. Royce Bailey says: If you don’t exercise, you’ll rust out before you wear out!

Tip 6: Evaluate your progress regularly. Set goals and priorities and review them regularly. If you are on track, cut yourself some slack and give yourself some sort of reward. If you’re veering off course, determine what corrections need to be made. This keeps dissatisfaction with life in check and your joy and optimism scales in balance.

Tip 7: Join the “Stress-Busters” Club. Stress can cause physical, mental and emotional illness. If you are affected in any of these areas, you limit your usefulness to yourself, your family or your job. Identify ways to relieve your stress and commit to engaging in relaxation on a regular basis.

Institute these seven tips into your busy life, and you’ll be a much more efficient, much less stressed, working mom — both at the office and at home!

Karen Allen, RN, PhD, FAAN; dean and professor, Valparaiso College of Nursing and Health Professions.

This article has been condensed and reprinted, with permission from the author, from the Lifestyle Matters Balance: Mind, Body, Spirit magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 7, 8.