This morning on Hop into Health, I chatted with Mel Groom from Mums in Business Australia about challenges that may affect working mums and how to find happiness amongst the fast paced blur called life.
This is the podcast from the show (I think the sound drops out briefly)
In my Health Queen Clinic I have found working women and in particular mums, have heightened stress levels, anxiety and this in turns pushes up their testosterone levels and cortisol.
These two hormones can make a women feel out of sorts. Typical symptoms of high testosterone are facial hair, acne, tummy fat, irritability, anger, aggression, oil hair, PCOS and infertility. You may only have one symptom that indicates that your testosterone or are high.
Increased levels of cortisol can make us jittery, anxious, wound up or irritable. It can lead to tummy fat, poor sleep and long term high levels lead to inflammation (joint stiffness, aches, pains) and burn out.
It is common for working mums to struggle to find the fine, happy balance between time, energy and making sure everyone’s needs are being attended to, including themselves.
Working mums feel guilty because they often feel they are putting their work ahead of their family, or spouses. Mentally they want to achieve all the things a stay at home supported mum can achieve and get angry/frustrated or feel a failure with themselves when they don’t.
Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, getting children ready for school, homework, etc etc take ALOT of time. If you are preparing lunches, meals, cleaning etc. expect to spend 4-6 hours a day doing these chores.
Add this time commitment onto sleep (6-8 hours), work (6-8 hours), driving to and from work (1-2 hours) and you are already up to 24 hours. That is not taking into consideration exercise, friends, showering and other bathroom deeds and sex!
It’s no wonder working mums drop exercise and sex off their “must do”lists. And yet, I find these two things are really important for balance and happiness (and hormone happiness).
Things that can make a planned day (or career) come crushing down are sick children, husbands flying in and out (mines), sick extended family members, you being sick. There is so much at stake. And when one thing falls apart, often the delicate balance holding it all together dissolves too.
Interview with Mel and discussion:
Q: What are common challenges that working mums experience?
A: These were taken from a Face book post on the Health Queen page in response to this question.
Soon to be back at work. My greatest stress is knowing my boys are home safe from school & how they cope with me not being there. Over coming that feeling this time by having a nanny with bubba & taking care of the older boys in the afternoons
Trying to win the battle in my head that says that every aspect of my life must be ‘perfect’. Unrealistic, unachievable and de-motivating . I am slowly learning to be ok with imperfection
Being a perfectionist – trying to ensure I do the best in all aspects of my life – family, work, sport, friends…and learning the art of relaxation!
Trying to keep everyone happy!
I’m completely baffled how other mums juggle work and preschool hours! I’m clearly doing something wrong.
Balance & taking the time to be with the family not just in the same home.
Dealing with the constant feeling of missing the mark in every aspect of my life – “jack of all trades, master of none”.
I feel the exact same way you’re not alone!!
The feeling of having to be always “productive”
Balance. Perfectionism. Rejuvenation. Giving myself permission to take time out.
There is no such thing as a perfect mother! We are all doing the best we can with the tools we have. Aiming for perfection is a hard line to take. Aim for adequate, love and support is a better measuring stick.
Q: What are some strategies to lighten the burden of working and being a mum?
Mel: Allocating chores to children from a young age, asking for helping, hanging with like minded people (ie other working mums), sharing dropping off and collecting kids, sharing baby sitting .
Sam: Green light activities (things that make you feel relaxed, lost in thought and revive you), vent with other parents when you can (school drop offs), priorities your list
Q: What other tools can working mums utilize?
A: Demi Pairs, nannies, cleaners
Q: Any other tips?
Make sure your internal chatter/coach is positive. If the voice or thoughts start being negative axe the thoughts.
Focus on the positives in your day. Most peoples’ days are filled with lots of negative, draining aspects. Manage these as best you can and expand on the good things so that you day feels like it is full of these positive interactions and outcomes.
When planning your day leave a little bit of slough time. This will help cater for traffic jams, sick childrens and other curl balls that can come from no where.
Less if very often MORE!
Q: What things can working mums weave into their lives that assist with sex?
A: Sex is one aspect of a working mum’s life that often gets put on the back burner and can lead to resentment between the couple. John Gray, (author Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) suggests the following: average sex 3 times a week, one big session a month (roses, bath, massages etc) once a month and maybe a quick interlude once a week.
Many women are over whelmed with this expectation. Don’t feel guilty if having sex once a month seems unrealistic. Let’s just get the wheels in motion…
You may need to allocate time in your day to make it happen.
The positives of sex are: reconnection with your partner, it can be fun, it burns calories and it balances hormones.
Thanks Mel from coming into the show. Mel runs a women’s network group called Mums in Business Australia. For a very small membership fee you can come along to weekly meetings, be inspired and educated and connect with other working women. Men are welcome too.
Sam Beau Patrick in the studio with Mel Groom
What are your greatest challenges at home or work or being a working mum? Add your comments below.
Next week I will be interviewing Kate Filmer , author of Hidden Path (Author, Counsellor and Intuitive Life Guide).