A contribution to the blogparade Working Mom – Where do you get your strength from Stefanie Brodmann.
Contrary to popular belief, sipping cappuccino and building a business on the side, while the kids are just kind of cute accessories, is just not how it goes for the majority of moms. The whole thing is work, every single part of it. Yes, even the childcare! There may be isolated specimens who just kind of do it off the cuff. But I’m pretty sure that upon closer inspection, there is some “unfair” advantage to it after all. Like a large fortune, an army of babysitters and household help, etc.
I am a normal standard mother (a little crazy, but otherwise just and so, ne), without assets, without a large helper network and with only normal stable psyche. Nevertheless, it works (mostly) to stay sane.
Don’t go insane 101
- Take me-time. Even in very small “doses” like taking out the trash and breathing consciously. There are days when that’s all you can do. Stupid, but doable at least some days.
- Visit friends (or invite them) and relieve each other temporarily with the children. One is the entertainer, one has a break. And there is also time together, in the evenings or in between, even without children. Ideally, friendships will develop between the kids.
- Hire a babysitter. And no, I don’t mean the full-day relaxation package. But at least 1-2 times a month an evening or afternoon at least a few hours off. Maybe there are also nice neighbors who do this occasionally. I was lucky to have such neighbors at times.
- Music. Listening or singing. And dancing to it. Also great to dance out frustration, also works with children.
- Writing. Does that surprise anyone here? Nope, right? I don’t mean a gratitude diary (only very occasionally), but stories with damn good friends. I find time for it every now and then a few minutes in between.
Finding a balance between working & mom
In fact, I try to structure my job so that it brings me more energy than it takes away. So that, at least most of the time (when I’m on target), there’s hardly any loss of energy from the job. This means that a large part of my self-employment is actually the stories that are created in a group (or even 1:1) setting. Which brings me so much joy that it rarely feels like work.
Otherwise, I work with breaks, purposeful breaks that are then also just for me and my well-being. An evening with friends, a workshop in another city over the weekend, a movie night….
When I am in my own power, most of the activities with the kids are so much fun that there is little “friction loss”. I really like to tinker, play, build and role-play. Building bows on vacation? Sure, preferably with the children of the other families. Or building rafts together. Or building a dam. Or playing Minecraft. Or invent new games (Black Hole? Hamburgers? Do you know them?).
Is it really that easy being a working mom?
No and yes.
No, because you really first have to learn to recognize your own limits and not to run over them (all the time). Because readjustment is always necessary.
Yes, when you have understood and internalized self-care and have a system that “works”. I’m not there yet, but sometimes on some days, there are times when I think “yes, it works”.