According to the United States Census Bureau, as of October 1, 2008 there were over 154 million women in America, nearly four million more than the total number of men in the country during that same time period. More than half of the women were mothers; several operated their own businesses. As a whole, women-owned businesses employed more than seven million people. In fact, over $939 billion was generated from women-owned businesses in 2002. Additionally, women comprised 59% of America’s workforce which includes self-employed and other work forms.
Demands on Women to Perform
An August 2008 Consensus report stated that 90% of employed Americans commute to work each day. The average length of the daily commutes is from less than 20 minutes to 45 minutes or more. For mothers, before they begin their commute they wake, dress, feed and get their children off to school. It is no small wonder that working mothers are able to maintain their health and sanity.
It is not easy to put in a full day at the office, clean a home, cook hot meals, check a child’s homework, get that hour workout in at the gym and make it to the Saturday family get together at one’s mother-in-law’s wearing a wide grin. Yet, millions of women pull this off every day. Consequences of this hurried life are varied. For many women the madness starts in the morning.
Steps Working Mothers Can Take to Ease the Morning Rush
To help smooth out the at-home morning rush, climb out of bed half an hour before waking one’s children. Give children plenty of time to prepare for daycare or school. Rushed children can become agitated and irritable which only increases the stress a woman experiences. Take advantage of the school breakfast program. Prepare school lunches at night prior to going to bed. Fill the car with gas on the way home from work. Of course, married women should solicit and receive support from their husbands on a daily basis.
Working mothers will also benefit from setting aside an hour a day to relax and do an activity that they enjoy. Do not wash the dishes. Do not sweep the porch. Do not write out checks to pay monthly expenses. Relax. Make this one’s own time. Go on the front porch and sip a favorite tea. Put on headphones and listen to a smooth jazz CD. Stretch out across the sofa and flip through an enticing novel. If met with resistance from other family members, clearly tell them why one is resting and inform them that this hour is going to be incorporated into the daily routine. With consistent effort, the pattern will stick. After all, women aren’t born rushing around as little girls. Women learn this behavior and can therefore, unlearn it.
Change One’s Behavior and Influence Others to Follow Suit
Modern day demands placed upon working mothers are not easy to meet. Many of these demands are placed on working mothers from within. Women observe their own mothers and grandmothers being the jack-of-all-trades and making efforts to insure that everyone in the family is happy, fed and cared for. However, these demands can take a toll on working mothers and create stress.
To ease these burdens and reduce or eliminate stress, working mothers might well benefit from waking earlier than usual, giving their children enough time to prepare for daycare and school without feeling rushed and take care of regular activities such as putting gas in the car and preparing school lunches at night. Build in an hour a day to relax and engage in pleasant activities. This might be one of the most challenging tasks for a working mother as many women have a strong belief that they must stay busy and work for their families 24/7. If not, that familiar enemy called “guilt” may appear.
Overcome this by starting new patterns. A working mother should clearly communicate to her family that she is going to rest for an hour a day and then be consistent and do just this. In time, working mothers and their families will see that this beneficial change is not threatening and that the change, in fact, comes with a bounty of rewards. These positive yet simple behavioral changes will yield surprising and beneficial results for working mothers who are juggling a myriad of daily tasks.