“The door is not bolted, the lights are on, the food is not warm, the geyser is not working, the AC is not cooling….seniors not keeping well, child not performing as per expectation….. All have to be catered to by this working mother…… Who else but she can work!” exclaimed Professor Seema Lall, who struggles to manage her home and work.
According to Harvard Business School research, daughters of the working moms had more years of education, employed largely at a supervisory role and had higher incomes. Whereas the professional life of the son remained unaffected in either of the cases- working or a non-working mother, as per the study.
There are a lot of findings on how the professional life of a mother does not affect their children’s well being, given adequate resources.
Conversely, there is a lot of research on how stress and anxiety affect her well-being.
Working Mothers could be more depressed and anxious than non-working mothers
There could be various reasons for it pertaining to external factors such as support and internal factors like self-worth and guilt. We have penned few of them as per the research and insights from our counselor-
- It could be because of dual role and responsibilities at work & home, guilt for not spending time with family and missing the bond with children. They have to Combat unrealistic expectations of being a perfect employee vs being a perfect parent.
- Feeling inadequate in terms of managing a dual role.
- Working moms have to constantly fight stereotypes of either incompetent or a privileged employee. They might be confronted with the pressure of lagging behind in the career ladder, missing out on a much-awaited promotion, working under a time constraint (because of a need to switch to a role of a primary parent once home) and often fight the male dominant working environment.
According to a Forbes Study- Given the level of pressure of parenthood, it’s not surprising that while only 2% of working women plan to leave the workforce for family reasons, yet 43% of highly qualified women opt out or off-ramp on their way back to work post-baby. Millennial mothers are feeling overwhelmed and unsupported during the transition from motherhood to working mother.
How can you help yourself as a working mother?
- It is important to understand that your baby is not a solo project. It is impossible to take dual full-time work and child responsibility without draining out yourself. A lot of infant’s well being depends on the emotional state of the primary caregiver. So one is not really doing justice by managing both at the same time, that too alone. Thus, share the responsibility with your spouse.
- Communicate clearly to what things need to be done, for example- I want you to take turns on alternate days to drop off our child to school, that can help you instead of being vague with direction- I want your help at home.
- A lot of mothers assume to be a more skilled caregiver than their husband and thus take all the responsibility on themselves. A child needs emotional safety and security, and it should be okay if their shoes and dress ain’t coordinated or socks don’t match. Give fathers an opportunity to transition into the role as well.
- Give yourself Me Time instead of looking at yourself as being selfish. Self-care is important to rejuvenate yourself for all the emotional assistance that your child may need.
- It is also important to clearly communicate and set expectations on managing this transition as a family rather than only as a mother when you plan a child.
- In case when one does not have enough support due to various reasons, negotiating workload according to the maternal needs could be a good idea.
- Identify the tendencies that prevent you from living a happy balanced life:- Perfectionism, unrealistic expectations from spouse or work colleagues and wanting to be a superwoman juggling multiple tasks at once can be an exhausting mental chore. Finding a balance in loosening up these rigid ” to-do” beliefs by being a little flexible at times( through the means of;- ordering food once in a while, doing housework at your own pace and prioritising on things/people that matter) can be very liberating for self. We carry a lot of unhealthy patterns since childhood, learned from our parents and surroundings. Unloading and unlearning unhelpful thoughts and behavior will help you let go of unrealistic expectations about your role. Seeing a therapist will not only help you become the best of self but also let you adopt healthy parenting
- Working on the Marital relationship- Demanding schedule and limited resources can put a strain on parenting as well as the marital relationship of the couple. There can be multiple other reasons like varied salaries of both partners, dissatisfaction with work, long commute, skewed role responsibilities and disregard for each other’s contribution around the house which can add to the strain on both partners. Such conflicts have the capacity to breed resentment and insecurity in a fulfilling marriage.
With both parents being breadwinners there is a need for mutual support and communication that should not be ignored. Verbalising your feelings and discussing mutual concerns can prevent the marriage from getting affected by the external factors.
- Fighting recurrent thoughts about being a ” Good enough mother”- The hardest to fight the battle is the one with self. It is not easy for a working mother to not question her availability/presence in her child’s life especially if the child is young. She may worry about missing child’s important milestones or feel rushed to judge herself harshly as a parent. It is important to recognise here that the child’s welfare is not directly linked to your own needs.
- Remind yourself of the benefits of being a working Parent :- The perks of working are not only restricted to monetary contribution made to the family on monthly basis. In fact , independence, self-fulfilment, confidence, a sense of accomplishment, social power and feeling useful are some good fallout’s that are worth acknowledging. A personal gratification that follows after having a fulfilling career can often be a motivator for living a content life. Additionally, it can also act as a good role model for the child.
If you wish to see a therapist or a counsellor, you can reach out to us on +919266626435 or chat on www.betterlyf.com