The University of Washington researchers found that the moms who were happiest were those who held a realistic view of the challenges of combining work and family. They knew the juggling act was tough, so they adjusted their lives to fit that reality.
What does that mean in real life?
First, take off the rose-colored glasses and assess your life realistically. What are your family’s priorities? Do your activities and time spent match those priorities? Or is the time you spend scattered over a multitude of less important tasks, while your most important relationships go untended? Resolve to give your best time and energy to those who matter most: God and family. Be willing to make changes---scaling back on less important commitments, reducing work hours—to reflect your real priorities.
Second, embrace your own imperfect reality. Special needs children? Single parent? Financial struggles? Mental health or physical illness? Your own temperament and imperfections? Your life’s script unfolds with unique characters and an original plotline---how you spend time and invest yourself will reflect your own messy, imperfect reality. This is how it’s meant to be, for you, right now. Accept with peace what you can’t change, and work diligently to change the important things that are within your power to affect.
Third, don’t compare yourself to other “more perfect” moms. Everyone struggles. Some challenges remain hidden from the public eye and others are much more visible. Have confidence that you can handle your unique situation—don’t add the burden of imagining that someone else would do it better.
Finally, rediscover the richness of life—family life in particular—woven into small acts of service, mundane tasks, and daily routines. Make it a point to notice, enjoy and savor the every day “little” things your children do. Be there for the daily life, not just the “big” events.
And that mental Supermom cape? Put it away until later this month when Halloween arrives – and then discard it for good on November 1st along with all the other nutty costumes!
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