Work-at-home moms do a lot for others — and often forget their own needs in the process. Yet, you can dramatically change the course of every day by giving yourself the same attention you’d give those you know and love. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how.
Treat yourself how you treat others
In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how.
I recently read an article on The Huffington Post about important questions to ask a mom. Though it was told in a humorous vain, it got me thinking. Why is it that we work-at-home moms spend so much time asking others what we can do for them, but so little time asking the same questions to benefit ourselves? More importantly, how dramatically can we change our daily experience by simply asking those basic questions?
To test my hypothesis, I started keeping a little tally. Just this morning, in the last 30 minutes, I’ve asked the following:
- To my son: Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Do you want vanilla milk or apple juice? Can I get you something to eat?
- To my pets: How are you? Do you have to go out? Do you need food?
- To my husband: How are you? What time do you need to leave? Can you change the kitchen lightbulb?
(OK, so that last one was not so much out of caring as it was need, but in fairness, the need did serve the greater good of the household!)
Most work-at-home moms know they’re typically last on the priority list, but the article and my own experiment pointed out a truth that I presume work-at-home moms fail to overtly realize: We rarely check in to ensure that our own basic needs are met. More importantly, how much better could we work-at-home moms manage our stress, exhaustion, productivity and ultimate life satisfaction if we stopped to check in with our own well-being as frequently and instinctively as we do for those we love?
Just for today, give it a try. Ask yourself these basic questions a few times, and see how your day goes differently.
- How are you?
- What can I do for you?
- What can I take off your plate?
Of course, no one is going to answer those questions for you, but taking the same “time out” that we often instruct our kids to utilize in order to regroup and find calm can help us prioritize and tend to what is most important, while recognizing what’s not serving us, or our families. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just nice to have your feelings acknowledged — even if it’s coming from yourself.
Yes, you’ve got a mountain of work and a child whining for your help to find a missing toy. You might be low on groceries or need to pull the weeds from the lawn. But what’s necessary in the here and now, and where do you need to give yourself the opportunity to ask for help, or give it to yourself by changing your own self-imposed demands? When you take the time to do a little self-check, your whole day, and life, can be more enjoyable.
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 their 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.