Motherhood is often framed as having to be stressful, busy, and hard. There is little space for positive conversations about how we can find it joyful, freeing, fun and soul-fulfilling.
Which leaves the question, what are these barriers causing all of the stress in our motherhood journey?
Let’s break them down a bit, and explore how you, dear mother, can choose motherhood to be the adventure you so very much desire.
This may sound a bit like feminism wrapped up in a different bow, and I’m pretty proud to say that it is.
By bringing attention to the ways we are told a good mum shows up for her kids, by the very society that claims to support us, is a key way to break down this patriarchal barrier.
Often, the more time we spend in society, listening to other people, our parents, our generational beliefs, and even what we pick up on social media… it creates layers of expectations around what it means to do motherhood the ‘right’ way.
This can exponentially increase the stress load in mothering, and it’s a perfect time to stop and pause.
Ask yourself these two questions, “Why do I do things this way?” and “What is the way I would like to show up in this?”. You may just be surprised by the clarity it brings.
Lack of time
Time is a tricky beast to make the most of when we are navigating working motherhood.
I mean, sometimes just a 10-minute delay in one area can have knock-on effects for days (I’m looking at you delayed naptime, or that delightful fall asleep in the car on the way home).
I find that when I feel in control of my time, it makes everything seem easier.
Where can I get a window for a short walk, or meditation, or listening to something by myself in the car that totally makes me laugh… all of these things can decrease our stress load.
Where do I start
Stress can creep up on us when we know we should be doing something different, but we just don’t know where to start.
This wanting to change something positively, but not having the knowledge to do it, be it for ourselves, our kids, or our career can be a really tough road to navigate.
We are often expected to know all of the answers, and asking for support can be seen as a failure (cue patriarchal expectation).
Ask yourself this question: “If I was to ask for help with one thing for me… what would it be today?”, and really listen to your inner dialogue and its answer.
This can give you the direction for beginning your shift to break down that stress barrier in your world and accept support when it is needed and wanted.
What about Childcare/School costs
I hear you, sister… I mean seriously, our poor educators are not paid what they are worth, as they are the most amazing people!
With many working mums I speak with, there is so much stress about finding the right childcare and school, and then navigating the cost pressures of ‘is it worth it?’.
Breaking this stress down by sharing the decision with your partner (if you have one), can really help.
But also have a great big think about what matters most to you. Where do your values sit now? Is career a priority, is being home with your kids, is it somewhere in the middle?
There is no right or wrong to this, but when what you’re doing is aligned with what matters to you, it makes it a whole lot easier to complete.
You matter – kick that mum guilt to the curb!
And finally, the biggest part to break down the stress barriers of working motherhood is to recognise that the journey of your transition to mothering, and your joining of motherhood and your career, is YOU.
And that you matter.
Honouring that sometimes you really need to put yourself first, and do it without mum guilt can go a long way to relieving the stress.
As a working mum, you can absolutely choose your own adventure.
You can show up for your work, for your family and for yourself, and decrease your stress load also.
My hope for working mums everywhere is that they have enough knowledge to know how to do this, to recognise that some days are going to be tough, but let’s celebrate the amazing, joyful, exciting, and connected ones that we do get, and break down the expectation that to have it all has to be stressful!
You’ve got this mama!
Dr Ali Young is a Chiropractor and Working Motherhood Health expert. She authored the book Work.Mama.Life. and works with mum’s around the world through her Working Mama Reset platform to beat burnout, dial down stress and find vitality. Follow her on Instagram @dr.aliyoung to catch all the goods!