Moms are Overworked—The Untold Story
Maintaining health and physical well-being means there must be a balance in our lives, and for some people, especially mothers, finding that balance can be a challenge. Today’s moms have many responsibilities that consume their time. Taking care of their children, families, and careers are just a few things that moms must simultaneously juggle. If you’ve ever wondered where the inspiration for Wonder Woman or Super Woman came from, look around at the moms you know! Women do so much and, in many cases, it’s without help or praise.
There also seemed to be a common belief that moms have to sacrifice other parts of their lives if they wanted to better themselves. Even in today’s world, because of assumed gender roles and responsibilities, there are strong suggestions that women cannot be good moms and/or good wives if they have a career. Not only is this assumption antiquated and unfair, but it is absolutely false. On top of all those responsibilities, women are trying to live healthier lives and find time for self-improvement.
With all of the chaos around moms, it is not surprising that a common theme with my clients who are moms is they never have enough time for themselves. With so much on-the-go and continual work, taking care of their own needs, especially exercise, becomes irrelevant.
To try and come up with a solution to this familiar problem, I’ve spent time brainstorming with my clients. I’ve asked them, “How can we change that?” Unfortunately, I usually get the same response. “I don’t know,” they would say, “I wished there were more than 24 hours in the day.”
As much as these overworked moms did not complain or make excuses, I realized the issue was not from lack of interest or a lack of trying. These overworked moms wanted to eat healthy meals, be active, exercise, and do things that helped them feel better. Unfortunately, it seemed like they often just accepted that “that’s just the way it is.” Plus, this often leads to feelings of resentment and frustration that can keep them feeling stuck in negative cycles.
However, it is so important to create a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and overall self-care. This can improve every aspect of your life and can be critical for on-the-go-moms. For example, exercise is a natural antidepressant because it releases endorphins that improve mood and stimulates the production of serotonin. It also helps relieve pain and regulates appetite, sleep, sexual desire, digestion, anxiety, and stress. When we do not exercise, cortisol levels in the body increase, and this increase exposes the body to a series of health complications that affect blood pressure, blood sugar, anxiety, depression, and fat accumulation.
Yet, as many moms know, finding the time to do these things can be a challenge, so how can you create a lifestyle that encompasses everything you do while also including fitness and self-care?
The key is being smart about exercise and overall wellness. An exercise program can be as simple as two 15-minute sessions per day. It is also important for overworked moms to include activities that are fun, unique, quick, easy, and functional. These activities can be done as part of your daily routine and are perfect for busy moms.
The first hurdle is for moms to accept taking time for self-care because it is important and necessary for them to have balance in their lives. When moms take care of themselves, they are happier, healthier, and better able to take care of those around them. Here are some tips for busy moms that want to increase their health and wellness.
- Technology: Moms only have a little time for themselves, but they master the art of making the best of the little time they have. Because of this, moms can use technology to set reminders and perform other tasks. Having a phone or tablet works like an assistant can alleviate the stress of having to remember everything they need to do. Adding in times to workout or take time for self-care can remind moms to take a few moments for themselves.
- Quick exercises: Moms need quick routines when trying to squeeze exercise into an already hectic day. A mom might only have 20 minutes one day while a child is napping or can only get away while the kids are at school. Quick routines that can be done at home or in a fitness facility are perfect for a busy schedule.
- Easy Routines: Any routine for moms should be easy to do, and they should not require a complicated set-up to perform. Getting started should be as easy as changing into workout clothes. If moms know they do not have to always go to the gym and can do routines at home with little or no equipment, it will be easier to have a balanced and healthier lifestyle and squeeze workouts in.
- Functional, Body Type-Specific Options: Knowing their body types will help moms target specific areas with exercises and wellness routines that suit their bodies. With generic and non-specific routines, precious time is wasted because the exercises won’t work for the individuals’ needs. When moms learn their body types, they will understand if the routines they are doing are helping them with important qualities like flexibility, mobility, balance, and strength.
- Unique Exercises: Moms are not all the same, so generic or one-size-fits-all exercises that work for one mom might not for another. Comparison can be ineffective and unrelated to specific goals, stressing out moms unnecessarily. Creating routines to meet the specific needs of an individual helps show progress and achieve goals.
- Delegate and Ask for Help: Most moms have a hard time giving up control or delegating tasks. But moms should recognize that it is okay to allow others to help, and it is not an admittance of failure if someone else steps in occasionally. So moms should sometimes kick back and let others lend a hand.
- Use “NO” More Often: Most moms have a difficult time saying no even when it’s to their own detriment and inconvenience. They say yes to every play date, field trip, school bake sale, etc. Moms need to learn to say the word no sometimes to free up sometimes for self-care.
Moms are amazing and resilient. They have busy lives and schedules as they take care of all those around them. But it is usually not to their individual benefit. Taking some time for self-care adds balance, wellness, health, and longevity to the lives of moms and their families.