This guest post was contributed by Rebecca Alston from Mamas Like Me, a parenting platform helping families to create a flexible, natural lifestyle without a ton of stress.
From the mid-1800, women started actively involving themselves in businesses and work outside their homes. Today, due to economic, health, and family obligations, more and more women work outside their homes to provide financially for their families. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 79.7% of women with children below 18 years are working full-time. It’s not uncommon today to see mothers taking more leading positions in their places of work, such as CEOs, Directors, and even running their own companies, roles that involve long periods of daily work hours. As a result, mothers dedicated more time at the workplace than in their homes. Let’s not forget mothers who are housewives. By choice or circumstances, stay-at-home mothers also face challenges in taking care of their family needs.
From dealing with busy and demanding work schedules to outside social influences, mothers face many challenges that affect them differently. Grouping these challenges under-recognized themes in no way overlooks the unique challenges met by different women.
Mothers face the issue of how to balance employment and raising their family demands. Many say that raising a family is a 24-hour job. With this in mind, how will the employment hours, which typically require 7 to 8 hours at a minimum (for full-time work), fit within these 24 hours? Something has to give, which typically is time spent in raising the children that get sacrificed. The good news is that many companies have noticed the negative impact on their employees of not having a work-life balance and increasingly look for opportunities to create flexible working environments. The introduction of work-life balance programs such as remote work, hybrid work, and other programs assists single and married mothers face the hurdles of demanding needs. A study states that ‘90% of workers report that flexible work arrangements contribute significantly to their overall morale’.
Child Care and Housework
Many mothers find that to work outside their homes, a caregiver for their children is essential. Nannies and housekeepers contribute to the support mothers need in raising their families. Domestic machines such as laundry machines, dryers, and dishwashers have reduced the amount of time mothers spend on these cleaning duties. Even so, responsibilities such as helping their children with homework, cooking, vacuuming, creating and participating in social activities for their families, and spending time with their children need time. Mothers with valuable support from their husbands or relatives living close to them find it easier to manage these duties.
Care of Elderly and Ailing Relatives
Nowadays, taking care of one’s parents is not an uncommon task. Due to advancements in health technology and care services, many more people are living longer. This advancement contributes to the rapid increase of older people proportionate to the world’s population. A direct result of this growth is that many families increasingly look after their ailing and elderly parents. Families thus find it easier to have their parents move into their homes or stay nearby to care for both their children and parents. Having the responsibility of parent caring increases the challenge for mothers to allocate time to take care of their parents while balancing the time to spend with their children.
Due to higher economic demands, mothers find that to meet family financial obligations, whether their spouse is employed, longer working and commuting hours make it harder for them to spend time with their children. As more children get exposed to the influence of peer pressure, TV programs, and movies to take drugs, alcohol, engage in early sex, and reckless driving, parents need to spend quality time to counterbalance these negative influences.
Getting Enough Good Quality Sleep
Anybody can attest to the fact that when they have a good night’s rest, they wake up feeling rested emotionally, physically, and mentally, ready to meet the day’s challenges. Between work and family life, sometimes mothers spend less than the recommended time for getting quality sleep. Mothers especially require a sleep schedule that provides them with a good night’s rest. A contributing factor in achieving a good night’s rest is a comfortable bed with a firm or medium-firm level mattress that supports the body.
Getting Personal Time
Mothers need to get their me-time or personal time to unwind and relax. Some say that not having personal time can make a mother go ‘crazy.’ Finding me-time requires mothers to ask for help from a spouse, friend, or relative. Having a support group is essential to help mothers get the needed personal time and rejuvenate them.
Compared to 50 years ago, being a mother today is not easy. Many competing factors such as economic, social pressures, and family demands all present challenges in motherhood. Daily, many mothers are meeting these challenges. However, finding the right balance without compromising on their health is essential in meeting these challenges. It’s no wonder that motherhood is associated with being a superwoman.