How to Balance Work and Life as a Working Mom

by | May 6, 2024 | Adulting, Anxiety, Counseling, Perfectionism, Self-Esteem, Stress | 0 comments

How to Balance Work and Life as a Working Mom

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Being a working mom sometimes feels like a balancing act. One side of you is trying to meet deadlines, juggle career responsibilities, and complete endless task lists, while the other is tending to family duties, making sure the kids are in bed on time, and trying your best to be a “good mom” while struggling to navigate it all. Through all the chaos, you may be asking yourself, “Am I doing enough?” 

Let’s cut to the chase: you are doing enough—even if it may not feel like it. Working on your career while raising children takes tremendous hard work, patience, and discipline. You should feel proud of yourself for accomplishing this every day, even if there are minor slip-ups or breakdowns along the way! However, reminding yourself how good of a job you are doing doesn’t make being a working mom any easier. Keep reading to learn about some common struggles working moms face and how to cope with them while tending to your wellness. 

Understanding the Struggles of Working Moms

Each working mom faces their own set of struggles, based on their unique situation. However, a few struggles are extra common among working moms, which include:

  • Juggling Multiple Roles: 

The pressure that working moms face when trying to balance their careers, relationships, family, personal life, and other responsibilities is immense. Mothers may feel like they need to give up parts of their lives to tend to other “more important” parts. For example, a working mom may let go of taking care of their own physical and/or mental health in order to spend more time with their children, like canceling therapy sessions or neglecting self-care. Although working moms may feel like they are making the smartest decision by giving up certain aspects of their lives for another, this often leads to feelings of depression or unfulfillment with their lives, as well as a gap in vital areas of care. 

  • Feeling Guilty:

Many working moms feel guilty whenever they take time away from their kids, whether that be for work or for personal fulfillment. They may feel a sense of shame that they continue to work a 9-5 while putting their children in daycare, because of the societal pressure that women “should” always put raising their kids above their careers [1]. Everyone needs a break and deserves time for self-care, but working moms may feel like this is simply not an option for them. They may jump from their work responsibilities to family responsibilities without a second for breathing room in order to avoid feeling guilty for taking time for themselves.

  • Time Management: 

Working moms face exhaustion due to the amount of responsibilities they take on daily. This can lead to burnout, which causes a lack of motivation to complete necessary tasks. This lack of motivation due to physical and mental exhaustion can lead to time management issues, which can cause more stress and anxiety for working moms.

Mental Health of Working Moms

Most working moms face mental health issues due to stress and pressure, ranging from manageable to severe. No matter what the severity is, though, taking care of your mental health as a working mom is imperative to your health. Some common impacts include:

  • Stress and Anxiety: The constant slew of responsibilities coming in from all avenues of life can cause a working mom to develop issues with stress and anxiety. They may feel like they don’t have time to take a few minutes to breathe or talk about their feelings with a loved one because they are so busy taking care of their children and working on their career. This can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms or behaviors, such as lashing out due to frustration, neglecting personal care, or even depending on substances for a sense of calm and escape from life’s stressors. 
  • Burnout: As previously mentioned, burnout is an extremely common struggle for working moms to face [2]. When you are juggling so many responsibilities at once, you are likely not taking time to reflect on your mental health and schedule breaks for self-care. This leads to mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion, or burnout. Burnout can lead to a sense of helplessness, which can bring on depression.
  • Perfectionism: There is already societal pressure for women to be perfect, and working moms may face this pressure at even higher amounts [3]. There is a lack of recognition for just how strong working moms are, and the media often portrays being a working mom as “easy” or simply the norm. This can make women feel like they need to complete their tasks as “effortlessly” as the other working moms out there, instilling a sense of perfectionism. If they do not meet their perfectionistic standards, they may develop low self-worth or feelings of shame.

Healthy Coping Strategies and Tips

There is no quick and easy solution to all the struggles that working moms face, but here are a few tips that may make the load feel a bit lighter: 

  • Setting Boundaries: Learning how to set healthy boundaries is one of the most important tools in life. If you feel like you are unable to take on certain tasks due to your mental state or existing responsibilities, there is absolutely no shame in saying “no.” For example, if your boss is asking if you’re able to come in on a weekend to work on a special task, respectfully telling them you are unable because you have family responsibilities you have to tend to is completely appropriate. Additionally, setting boundaries with your kids, like quiet hours in which they must play on their own while you are working and not bother you (other than in case of emergencies) is also appropriate. You are not able to take on absolutely everything. Setting boundaries will help others understand and respect this. 
  • Seeking Support: Asking for help is a great way to reduce the amount of responsibilities you face on a daily basis, as well as a wonderful way to gain support. For example, if you are having trouble working from home while taking care of your kids, you can hire a babysitter to help watch the kids while you spend time working. Additionally, if you are finding it difficult to complete the amount of tasks you are assigned before leaving work and often have to stay late, you can speak candidly to your boss or coworkers about this, who may help you delegate tasks. Likewise, seeking support from a professional through therapy or life coaching can be extremely helpful for learning more healthy habits and working through the difficult emotions you may be feeling during this time. 
  • Scheduling Self-Care: Because so many working moms aren’t taking care of themselves in the way they deserve, it is important to block out time on your calendar for “me time.” This can be anything as small as a 10-minute face mask while reading a magazine, or as large as spending a whole weekend to yourself on a getaway. Whatever the self-care is, it should be restorative to your mental and physical health, helping you feel refreshed and renewed when you get back to your day-to-day responsibilities. 
  • Embracing Imperfection: Say it with me: “I am not perfect. I can’t handle absolutely everything alone. I will make mistakes, and that is okay.” It may feel foreign to say these things at first, but keep repeating it until you believe it. Although you should always try your best, not everything you do will be perfect, and that is completely okay. You are human, after all! 
  • Redefining Success: The idea that success means perfection may be holding you back from feeling fulfilled by your hard work. Instead, shift your focus from perfection to balance. When you define success as taking care of your responsibilities to the best of your abilities while balancing your wellness, you take an immense amount of pressure off your shoulders to be unrealistically perfect.

Remember, the things you are accomplishing as a working mom are incredible. Raising children while having a career is no easy feat. However, this doesn’t mean that your well-being can go on the back burner. We hope these tips resonate and that they will make your life feel more balanced!

To discuss how therapy could help you during this season of your life, please contact me or schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

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