Natural Living: Supporting moms beyond Mother’s Day
Millions of moms and their families celebrated Mother’s Day this past weekend with flowers, food, chocolate and maybe even some adventures. It’s a time to celebrate and honor mothers for all that they do for their families and their influence upon their family and community. It’s a time for mothers to realize how grateful they are for the beautiful beings they brought into this world and either spend the day with them or take a break from them.
Too often do I hear from my friends and patients who are moms with kids still at home that they are burned out. The expectations put on mothers in our culture are overwhelming, especially if they’re working. Moms typically are the ones who buy the food, plan the meals, cook the meals, make lunches, nurse, stay up with their kids to feed, change diapers, clean up vomit, poop and urine, do the laundry, fold and put away the clothes, plan play dates, baby-sitters and other activities, buy their kids clothes, toys and books and then sift through them all when they’ve outgrown them and bring them to a thrift shop or hand it down. They also are typically the ones that meet with the teachers, bake treats for parties, sign permission slips, monitor homework, make the doctor’s appointments, take care of animals, plants, housecleaning, assure healthy snacks for their kids, plan social engagements, the taxi driver for all the activities, assure their child has that special costume for a play or holiday, stay home with their kids when they’re sick, volunteer at school … do I need to go on?
Of course this is not true for all moms out there — some couples do an excellent job at balancing responsibilities — but the high majority of moms out there have the bulk of responsibility on their shoulders. To do all this and work full-time, no wonder why moms don’t get enough down time or “me time.” Then to think about how single moms do it all, they don’t even get enough time to secure a full night sleep.
Many eventually realize that their own moms did all of this and that they may have taken it for granted when they were kids. A vast majority don’t tend to appreciate all that their moms did until they’ve walked in their shoes. For those that chose to not have kids and may judge easily, just remember this job description and ask yourself, “could I do this and hold it together all of the time?”
Support is key, whether they have family, friends, neighbors, before or after school programs, it is important to take time out. If you know an overwhelmed mom, think about how you could help them in some little way, which could have a significant impact on them.
If you can relate at all to this job description, make sure you ask for help to assure you get the care you need. How can we nurture others fully when we can’t nurture ourselves? You might find you have to say “no” to invitations or activities to get a little “you” time. Men are typically better at this and know when their cup is full. Assure that you are getting enough rest, exercise and consuming healthy live foods. A mom who is burned out is a mom that could eventually have a chronic health issue. This is surely not worth it, when most moms out their want to see their kids grow up and maybe even their grandkids or great grandkids!
We need a cultural revolution to change the unrealistic expectations put on moms in America. These expectations can be fed by advertisements and TV shows that portrays the perfect mom, with the perfectly clean home, with a perfect body that can do it all, “if you just buy this product.” I say, turn the TV off, don’t worry about keeping up with everyone else or having the next best “thing,” rather take time and nurture yourself like you nurture those around you!