This is a helpful read for both MOM’s and DAD’s! Mom’s because I offer some tips and solutions and Dad’s, because knowing the answer to this question could literally change your relationship, the quality of your life together and the happiness of the woman you love.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I have been watching the question come up in various Facebook groups, asking moms to comment on what they would like as a gift for Mother’s Day.
Based on the responses from moms in the various groups, I can share the following information with you (and I do know that there are some amazing dads out there who are also feeling like this.)
About 12% of the responses said they would like a gift; mainly random, non-expensive mushy stuff like a fluffy toy, chocolates, a voucher, plant, rescue pet, homemade cards or photo books, slippers and even a wallet full of money!
The other 88% of the moms were asking for some form of time out – a spa treatment, day off, no cooking, cleaning or having to think about chores or responsibilities, day in bed with Netflix, picnics, lunch or dinner at a restaurant (read NO COOKING OR DISHES).
Most of the moms wanted to share these experiences with one or more people from their family, but some even went as far as saying they wanted to be totally alone.
SO WHAT DOES THIS RESPONSE TELL US?
Most of the moms out there are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and quite often under appreciated.
Speaking to moms and dads here; is this something we should just accept, or is there a better way? How do we go about changing things so that moms are not in the position where they feel so tired and over worked? Is there a way to create a better culture of team work within the family unit?
From my own experience as a mom to 4 boys, I can tell you< there ARE things that we can do to change this. I have gone from being completely stressed-busy for years, to being totally unstressed. Don’t get me wrong, I am still busy, but the difference is that I don’t feel constantly stretched or desperately in need of a day off or time out.
I understand, and am sensitive to the fact that everyone’s situation is different; kids ages, single mom/dad, working or not, domestic or other help, etc. but there are some basic things that we can implement, that can make your lives a whole lot easier.
For starters, I have a FREE GIFT for you. It is a system that I developed for myself that really helps me not to feel overwhelmed when I know there are gazillion things that need to be done.
And here are some tips that you can< start implementing in your life right now, encouraging participation from all members of the family
- Kid’s bedrooms have doors – this one is mainly for older kids. Some days we need to close their doors and walk away from the mess. They will soon realize that the magic cleaning fairy was not in that day and that if they want clean clothes or a made up bed to sleep in, they will have to do something about it themselves.
- Keep midweek meals super simple – In our house we have a protein and a veg during the week with a potato thrown in for good measure. My partner cooks the meat on the gas braai and I do the veg in the steamer. It takes all of 5-10 minutes of my time to prepare.
- Set up a great organisational system that works for you. Preferably keep all your tasks, plans and kids commitments in one place so that you don’t forget anything. (This is exactly why 10 years ago, I designed the MOM Diary that would do precisely this).
- Teach your kids the value of a good routine – the sooner you can get your kids to take responsibility for their own things by way of a good routine, the less pressure there will be on you. Make sure they have their own organisational system/diary so that they don’t forget anything.
- Have chore/cleanup blitz sessions – get into the habit of having a pre-arranged time that everyone is available to help. Make a list of things that need to be done and get them to pick something off the list, do it, and pick another thing until the list is finished. From my own personal experience, the kids come quickly because they know which chores they want to pick (the easy ones!) and they get them done super-fast so that they can get back to doing their own thing.
- Use weekends to catch up and get ahead – I find that getting up early one day of the weekend and doing something that will help me have less to do during the week really works well. My two high school kids have taken on this habit and can often be found before sunrise on a Sunday morning doing projects, studying for tests or generally just doing as much homework as possible, so that their week is freer to focus on what comes up. It also means that they still have most of the weekend to themselves.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – as an organised person by nature, letting go of perfection was very difficult for me, but I had to learn to either accept that some days things would be a mess or I was going to keep driving myself crazy.
- Adopt healthy habits for YOU – in the last 10 years, exercise, meditation, mindful breathing, being more present, have all become part of my daily routine. Until you actually experience the change that these things bring about, you cannot understand how much they affect you in a good way.
So dads, besides being sensitive to what the mom in your home would REALLY LOVE for Mother’s Day, the best thing you could ever do for your wonder woman, is to stand by her and to help build the team in the home, rather than having her running around frazzled most of the time.
Moms, I know it is hard to ask for help and we want to always be seen as having everything under control, but one day it will catch up with you, and you will be asking yourself, WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?
Wishing all the amazing mom’s out there a VERY HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY on 12th MAY