TIME TO THRIVE BLOG
The invisible work of Mums – tips how to give yourself a break from all the doing
Today is Mother’s day in Germany and I want to take the opportunity to highlight all the invisible work we, as Mums do. I will share my experiences and give you some tips how to give yourself a break from all the Mum duties.
Invisible family duties
The guests are on their way to your house and you are already feeling exhausted. Your partner or husband is full of energy and is ready to start with the barbecue.
Do you recognize this?
You are the one who have planned the dinner, what to eat, who shall come, sent out invitations, made sure everything is ready before the guests arrive. You greet the guests, make sure everyone feels welcome and have a good time, you run around serving even though you feel the need to be served yourself.
When the guests leave, they turn to your partner or husband and thank him so much for the fantastic dinner he made.
Did this happen to you too?
During the last couple of years, I used to complain about nobody acknowledging all the work I did. Since I became a Mum it got worse.
Free ourselves from expectations
After a situation at my daughter’s Kindergarten where my whole family was involved in a big International project, I saw that something had shifted in me.
I had organized my family to help out, including my parents. I had set up appointments, brought in music, books and toys. My father did a presentation. My husband filmed the event. Then we got a thank you email from the teachers, thanking everybody except me.
This time it was different. I was not triggered. I did not complain. This time I smiled to myself, and thought, it’s a pity they did not see all the work I put down, but I did not do it for them to acknowledge me. I did it because I wanted to support my daughter’s learning.
When we stop expecting the world to tell us how wonderful we are, we become FREE TO CHOOSE what we REALLY want to do.
Let go of control and surrender
One of my clients said, “I have a full time job as a Mum, it never stops. But my family only sees all the work I do if it’s not done.”
When I asked a couple of friends for examples of invisible work they do as Mums, they told me this: Pack kid’s stuff for school, buy presets for birthdays, remembering activities, buy new clothes, all social events with kids...one friend said “actually all the practical stuff’.
No doubt we feel exhausted!
Somehow, when we leave our partner or husband with our kids, they manage to do all those duties.
So what makes us keep on organizing our entire family life?
Be honest with yourself, do you do it because you love doing it, or are you doing it to hear from others how wonderful you are?
TIPS HOW TO GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK FROM ALL THE DOING
Just because you are good at multitasking doesn’t mean that you have to do it all the time. I tend to think that I’m much more capable of organizing our family life than my husband. Lately, when I feel the signals of exhaustion, I request my husband to step in and take over many of the tasks. But remember, it has to be a request and not the “it would be nice if you..” And be clear with what EXACTLY you need help with.
Before we can be of service to others, we must first serve ourselves. Having a stressed out Mum in the house is a nightmare for everyone involved. Who wants to help out that person? When my husband is stressed, all I want to do is lay on the sofa and do nothing. So why should it be different? So Mums, it’s time to think more about ourselves and tank some NEW ENERGY now and then. Read more about tips how to take care of your mental and physical health in my latest blog SLOW SUCCESS.
Go from multi-tasking to single-tasking. Instead of doing something at the computer, talking to your kids and cooking at the same time: Do one thing at the time. If you can’t find time to do it all, ask yourself “how can I organize my time and become more structured so I don’t have to multi-task?” If we multi-task all the time, it leaves us with a feeling that we never experience or do something properly. One thing that works for me is that I tell my daughter when I need to do something for myself, not just doing it. I say “now I’m busy 30 minutes and after that it’s you and me time” Usually she goes and plays alone, because she knows that I also give her time when I’m fully present.
Commit to spend at least one weekend a month with no plans. This is something I started doing lately and I can highly recommend it. Mums tend to fill up the weekends with too many activities, and it hardly gives us time for just being and doing nothing. What I experience is that usually those weekends with no plans are the most creative and loving once. Reading the article “Who killed the Weekend” in “the Guardian”, confirmed my theory on how beneficial it also is for our kids: “Reclaiming unoccupied time at the weekend may be the most successful parenting strategy of all. In boredom and spontaneity, our kids figure out who they are. Unstructured play brings creativity and joy, while over scheduled kids become anxious adults”.
Cry if you need to and are able. It can help you create a more relaxed, positive state of mind. I know that a lot of Mums are struggling with not showing their emotions in front of their children. I have always cried in front of my daughter. I believe it doesn’t harm her. I explain that it has nothing to do with her, that I’m simply tired, upset or whatever it is. By showing our children that sadness is a natural state of being, they learn that it’s okay to feel weak or sad. So let out the tears, it’s good for both you and your children!
Give yourself a break from technology. This tip is especially important to me at the moment. The more active I’ve become in the online world, the more challenged I feel NOT “unconsciously to hang out online”. What supports me is this question: Does this task add value to my life/job? When you receive a phone call, text or email, ask yourself “How urgent is this?”. If you get people used to you not answering them immediately, they won’t expect you to.
Become free to be yourself!
“There is no such thing as a perfect parent, so just be a real one” – Sue Atkins
How to be a real parent, when society is challenging us to be a perfect one?
To be a real Mum and embrace all our imperfections, we need to learn the skill how to let go of expectations and to accept ourselves as the human beings we are.
Dr. Shefali Tsabury, author of the “Conscious Parent”, says, “to parent effectively we need to adress our own personal issues first”.
If I had not spent hundreds of hours in Trainings, Coaching and in Therapy, I wouldn’t have gained this growth in such a short time. I have gone from being a stressed out mum feeling constant guilty, to a calm Mum who is stressed out from time to time.
Today I see, that when I, myself, acknowledge all the invisible work I do, I don’t need to hear it from others.
When I schedule “time for myself” the same way as I schedule work and duties, I show up as the loving Mum I am, and not turning into a stressed out monster irritating everybody around.
Where in your life are you right now?
If you decide that it’s time to ditch overload and stress and learn more how to give yourself a break, gain more harmony in your life and become yourself, I offer one-to-one Coaching sessions.
More information on how to work with me.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Hello, I’m Katarina Stoltz, a life coach and psychotherapist helping international professionals prioritise their well-being so they can achieve fulfillment without burning out.
Welcome to the 'Time To Thrive' blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to prevent burnout, expand your self awareness and start living your vision.
I don’t offer ‘quick fix’ solutions, but my tips are straightforward and easy to follow. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for some thought-provoking articles and honest life stories.
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