Regardless of the choices you make about your career and how to structure your family time, judgment runs rampant. Are you working too much or too little? Do you make enough money to provide for your kids or are you losing too much quality time with your family while building your career? They're questions all moms grapple with, but surprisingly, that critical enemy dishing out the doubt isn't a co-worker, spouse, in-law, neighbor or friend: it's us.
According to research Ernst & Young recently compiled in a study for Working Mother Research Institute, feelings that we're just not doing enough as moms abound. What Moms Choose: The Working Mother Report asked more than 3,700 moms about their top worries. Here's a list of what the research revealed about our top concerns as working and stay-at-home moms -- and how to start easing your mind. (You can read the full report here).
Worry #1: "My house is dirty"
In the study, 55 percent of working moms and 44 percent of stay-at-home moms reported feeling bad about their ability to maintain "domestic chores."
The solution: While there may actually be some truth to this worry -- the study acknowledges that women statistically perform about 12 fewer hours of housework each week than they did in 1965 -- that time has been replaced with a more meaningful activity: hands-on parenting! Remember that although you may not keep the house as clean as your mom did, the expectations and roles of what a mom does have grown (in part thanks to our own self-demands). If a less than perfectly clean house is keeping you stressed, carve out time where all of the family conquers a major chunk of housework for one weekend morning every two weeks, and get your husband and older kids to pitch in with the little chores throughout the week.
Worry #2: "Not enough couple time"
The solution: Nearly a third of respondents to the study had concerns about spending quality time with their partner. Whether you're a dual-income household or one parent stays at home, having kids does inherently take away from your time as a couple. But, staying at home, working part-time ,or full-time doesn't indicate a healthy partnership either way, What does? Your prioritization of the relationship. Make it a house rule to banish smart phones, texting or use of other social media when the work day is done and spend time interacting only with those in your house. Carve out at least fifteen minutes a night to catch up on your partner's life after the kids have gone to bed. Communication is a key foundation of a healthy relationship. At times, it can be the easiest aspect of a relationship to lose—but can also be rebuilt with commitment and effort.
Worry #3: "I don't take care of myself"
Forty-eight percent of working moms and 42 percent of stay at home moms in the study reported concern over letting themselves "go."
The solution: While it's tempting to want to replicate "supermom celebs," prioritize your health and happiness first, and your physical appearance will fall into place. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and take time to recharge your mental batteries with rejuvenating "me time," whether that's a yoga class, massage, walk or jog outdoors or a relaxing manicure. When you take time to give back to yourself, it shows.
Working Mom 3.0
The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one.
Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.
This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms
More tips for working moms
Working Mom 3.0: Mom-centric jobs
Working Mom 3.0: Career crossroads
Working Mom 3.0: Manage work and housework