Updated: Nov 13, 2019
YOU ARE NOT SUPERWOMAN.
I say this frequently to myself. But rarely do I ever back down from trying to be anything but the perfect, superwoman mom.
I’m not complaining, but boy do I feel overworked! Until recently, I was a full-time working scientist, a full-time mom, a full-time small business owner and a part-time graduate student. Now that I’ve graduated (whoop whoop!) I have a moment to breath...aaaand add 5 million other tasks to my lists including helping my neighborhood plan/design/build a playground, like, AN ACTUAL PLAYGROUND. How do I even end up in these situations?
Truthfully, there are days that I just give up. I absolutely give up. There are days that my kiddo eats sweets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because I can’t argue or even think of what to eat. There are days when I may have been grumpier than usual with my family. There are days that I don’t feel like myself or I mess up so badly that I feel like a terrible mom. It happens, and there is much to learn from it.
So HOW is it possible to balance everything we want to achieve as mothers, professionals, spouses, friends, daughters, etc?! Here’s how I do it and you can too:
1. GRANT YOURSELF SOME GRACE.
I know, I know, you hear this all the time, “no one is perfect”, but this takes on such a different meaning once you become a parent doesn’t it? It just feels much more important. How are we to raise good humans if we aren’t? The truth is these moments of failure can be the greatest lessons we can teach our kids. Embrace the imperfect and roll/laugh/cry with those punches, brush yourself off and move forward. This grace is a strength we should be proud to share with our kids.
2. REACH FOR YOUR TRIBE
In those times when you feel like you can’t get up, ask for help. Know that everyone’s tribe looks different and just because you don’t have a Facebook profile full of “Bad Mom movie nights” doesn’t mean there isn’t another mom going through some of the same trials right around the corner. We are out there standing on our own lonely islands with our peace sign up in the air cheering you on.
You will find that often times, that even people you aren’t close to will be there for you when you need them. Sometimes they will be more available than your busy, working mom friends. Unfortunately, what bonds you to other working moms can sometimes be exactly what keeps you apart. So it’s generally a great rule of thumb to get creative and find those tribe members even at work. Now’s not the time to be shy! Find that colleague! You know the one with her accolades prominently displayed in her office next to the occasional Thanksgiving hand turkey that says “I’m thankful for cupcakes” written in almost illegible crayon. She’s your girl. Turn those workday lunches into a moment for you and your newfound friend. All you need is one person to be...well, your person... and she can be right in the next cubicle.
3. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE
This is actually a hard one for me so I totally get it. As confident as I appear, I’m actually pretty shy and TERRIBLE at small talk. Add to this a major case of resting b***h face and it makes for a challenge when meeting new moms. But if I can do it, so can you! There have been so many times when the mom friendship I knew would never work out, became one of my most trusted tribe members.
4. USE SOCIAL MEDIA
If all else fails, get on that phone and use social media! I mean there are entire apps built around finding that tribe (#socialmamaapp) and helping you through your journey through motherhood. AND THEY WORK!!! I’ve met several women on SocialMama that are now legit friends (one pictured on the right). NO JOKE.
5. TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF
So this brings me to prioritizing your time. I know, I know! We often prioritize career goals, family goals, and social goals before we even consider that we should be our own goal sometimes. It feels like we don’t have enough time in our day to make this one happen and honestly, most days, we don’t. But you know what? THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY. Try and squeeze in one day of PTO that involves you just sitting on the couch. Ask your neighbor or partner to take the kiddos out for pizza (your treat) so you can sit in the tub for an hour. Find 30 minutes while your kiddos reads a book so you can catch up on a sitcom instead of laundry. DO IT GIRL. Taking just a few minutes to do something only for yourself can be a life saver.
6. YOUR COMMUTE CAN BE YOUR COMFORT
I spend at least 30 mins at a time in my car every week morning and afternoon. I use to view this time with general disdain and frustration as I regarded it as just a hindrance in getting to where I’m going. But now, my commute is one of my favorite parts of my day. I use it to catch up with my BFF, host my own rendition of carseat karaoke, or unwind with one of my fave storytelling podcasts (that are honestly just as entertaining as TV). Schedule your commute just as you would any other task. This doesn’t have to be just a step in your day, it can actually be the perfect time to unwind.
Finally, know that these tips may not work for you because everyone and every family is so very different. That is okay. You will find what works for you as you move forward and grow with your kids. Growing as a mom has made me a much more honest person with myself. Through being a mom, I have learned how to say NO to an obligation that is no longer a priority over my family or myself. Through being a mom, I have learned to communicate with my family on our needs, including my own personal ones. I have learned how to embrace other families as they have embraced mine despite our differences; and all of this has kept me going as an everyday run-of-the-mill, overworked mommy.
Want to meet another busy mom for advice and friendship? Download SocialMama and find thousands of moms with similar struggles and questions.
About the Contributor:
Nina Gutierrez-Garcia is a mom who clearly doesn’t sleep. She is a mom to a busy 6 year-old, a health physicist, a small business owner (a modern children’s clothing store, THE TOT COMMODITY) and is extremely active in her community. She’s mostly known for her creative, close-knit, snarky and hilarious family that she shares with the world through personal and business social media accounts. Her motto as a human is, laugh as hard as you can, love with everything you’ve got and only take it seriously if you absolutely have to. Nina is also a MentorMama for SocialMama.