I hear working mums all the time lament that they don’t have enough me time. They wish they could exercise more, go out with their friends more or even just watch trash TV in bed more (with a glass of wine, ALONE of course).
Working mums are also known for prioritising work and taking care of their family ahead of their own needs and wants. When this happens working mums feel exhausted, drained and generally enjoy life less.
What I also know, from surveying 300 working mums in Australia last year, is that working mums feel time poor. It takes a lot of energy and mental strength to be a working mum. It’s about taking care of things at work AND at home. The juggle is real and a struggle for many.
It’s not just a lack of time management skills either. In fact working mums are renowned for excellent time management and getting things done at home and at work. It’s incredible how much a working mum can achieve really.
Usually the feeling of being time poor is more to do with working mums spending less time doing things they love than they would like. Wishing they had more time for themselves.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
It’s absolutely possible to have a business/career and a family AND time for yourself.
How do I know this? Last year I worked in an office 3 days a week while pregnant with my second child. I went to the gym twice a week (on average), spent time with my family, read books, watched TV shows, kept up with household chores and even set up this website and blog and wrote and launched my free ebook. Without sacrificing my health and wellbeing.
Did I have help? Absolutely. My husband, daycare, employer and housekeeper are all part of my support team and help to make all this possible. I make choices about my time that make me and my family happy (most of the time). I’ve also developed ways of doing (or not doing) things I dread to free up my time for me.
The more important question is WHY don’t most working mums have more time for themselves?
This is a question I have pondered a lot over the past few months and I’ve come to some conclusions.
Guilt and fear. Lurking in the back of the mind of a working mum.
Guilt about not spending more time with their family or taking care of their family.
Guilt about being selfish and spending time away from their family doing things like exercise, socialising or anything that doesn’t involve being a mum.
Guilt is something I haven’t spoken about much before. To be honest I haven’t wanted to give it power. We all know it’s there though.
Fear is even worse. Fear about what other people (husband/partner/grandparents/children) will think if we firstly ask for me time and secondly if we take it. Fear of what might happen to our children in someone else’s care. (insert YOUR fears here).
What I have found as a working mum is that the more you DO take time for yourself, the more the guilt and fear shrink. (They’re always there in the back of your mind, threatening to ruin your ‘me time’.)
The more we let them steal our me time, the stronger we feel them and the more power they have over us.
Don’t let guilt and fear steal your me time.
Banish the guilt and fear that’s trying to hold you back from living a fulfilling life as a working mum.
Give yourself permission to ask for and take some me time.
Of course there are many other barriers as well. Women’s Agenda highlighted more of the external barriers in this article here.
If you’re a time poor working mum wishing for more ‘me time’, I’d love to work with you to explore what’s standing in the way of you doing more of what you love and how to reclaim your time. To get started simply send me an email.