My visit to my daughter's had me realizing that today's mother has quite a bit on her plate. Looking back to the early 1960's women revolted. We were tired of being under rated and associated with only the ability to keep a clean house or cook a dinner. Being submissive was tiring and acting like we were people of lesser intelligence took it's toll on us. A revolt was born.
Many good things came from the changes, like women were now admitted into medical schools and we could dress in the style that suited our tastes. We demanded to be listened to and openly gave our opinions without fear of retribution. But, for every positive outcome, a negative hid in the dark. We went to work to contribute to society, but we didn't realize that was added to all of the other responsibilities we already took on. Raising families, cooking, shopping, laundry, and cleaning were still there for that first generation of brave women. It took an entire generation for males to realize they needed to work around the home too.
Here we are today with women who are exhausted trying to 'do it all'. Tired women. Exhausted women who fall into bed at 10 PM, only to wake to the same schedule the following day. Where in my generation women had a choice to work outside the home, today's economic atmosphere sometimes prohibits what is now seen as a luxury.
How do women do it all? They can't. Something has to be altered for young mothers. My suggestion would be house work.
I'm not suggesting that women stop doing house work, I'm suggesting that standards of cleanliness be kept up and the rest be left until there is ample time to perform it. Cleanliness is important for the health of a family. Dishes must be done to avoid rodents and unwanted guests from taking up residence in your home. We all need clean clothes and food in our tummies, as well. But, do beds really need to be made every day? Or does the dusting need to be done every day? Does that pile of school projects have to be gone through or even the junk mail? Not necessarily. These things - and others-should be done once a week, but only because it is helpful to you to keep your home in order. When a home is in order, you feel less stress. Less stress on you means a healthier and happier family. A relaxed atmosphere translates into a relaxed and content family. Decompression time each day is also healthier.
How does a women begin to change things? It takes time. It takes some organization, too. And it takes a routine. Since every family has individualized needs the only people who can create a more relaxed environment are those in your own home. I can give you a few ideas to begin the changes, though.
Take time to step back - out of the situation- to look at the dynamics of your day. Take as much time as you need for this step. Jot down notes on things you see can be altered. As an example: If you find you don't have time to relax with your family in the evenings, one way of changing this is to have dinner together with no problems discussed at the table. Only laughter and silly things are allowed during this time. Then everyone helps clean up after dinner with the same laughter intermingled with the chore. Complete this time with snuggling while watching a show for 30 minutes together. It doesn't matter what time this happens, as long as it's a together activity.
House work is another hazard. Keep the trash cleaned up and the dishes. This is important for health reasons. Soak that pot overnight if you have to, but make sure the food is not on it to attract rodents. Keep the laundry up, even if tomorrow's clothes are still in the dryer when you go to bed. Anyone who says they never do this, is not being totally truthful. We all have those days.
Another must is nourishment. This is a big one. Feed your family healthy food with a dash of junk food added in for enjoyment. Warm dinners are a comfort. They don't have to be elaborate. A grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of soup and a piece of fruit and glass of milk is just as healthy as a ten hour elaborately prepared dinner. To make it special use a table cloth or nice place mats that can wiped clean Throw a candle in the center of the table and you have an instant relaxed atmosphere. Planning lunches ahead by cooking extra for dinner that can go into a lunch for the next day cuts down on lunch prep time.
De clutter the home and have a place for everything you need on a daily basis. Keep keys and phones in the same place. Grab and go. No stress there. Train the children to put coats, shoes and school gear in the same place. It's surprising how easy mornings can be with these small changes.
Another great help is having a consistent routine and bed time for the kiddos. A child under the age of ten should be in bed by no later than 8:30. They need a long nights sleep to be the best they can be. They are less crabby, too. This gives you the decompression time you need to begin the next day. It also gives you and your partner time to interact.
This list is meant to get you started on simplifying life. Reduce the stress and life gets so much more relaxed.
As the saying goes, "If Mom's not happy, no one is'. Being kind to yourself is being kind to those around you.
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