Where motherhood has taken you

You are expected and expect yourself to do too much, which creates stress in the family. You do lots of tasks that you do not enjoy or are not good at, which crowd out enjoyable activities. You focus often exclusively on your mothering role to the exclusion of your role as lover/partner (where relevant) and your 'me'.

What motherhood could look like

Pro-actively design a fulfilling motherhood role to fit your skills and wishes as much as possible. Balance this fulfilling motherhood role with your role as lover (where relevant) and 'me'. Be supported by your family, who acknowledge and share your workload, in your quest to live a meaningful life.

How you could get there

  1. Complete The Mother's Job Description.
  2. Start or join your Street Gang.
  3. Balance, respect and allocate time to your 3 roles: mother, lover, me. If you do more housework, this will take time from your role as a partner and individual person with interests. So, no, mothers cannot have or do it all – like everyone, there are balances to be made.
  4. Embrace support.
    • We live in an era where there is comparatively little community support for mothers compared to the past, so it is up to the mother to initiate her own support structure. Interestingly…
      In the 1940s in America, when the government needed mothers to work for the war, child-care facilities included medical staff to look after kids who were sick, a shopping service for mothers to order their food to take home at the end of the day, a laundry service, a repair service etc.
    • While paying for external assistance has short-term costs, it can have very powerful long-term benefits. By paying for some help with the cleaning, you may be happier and be able to spend more time thinking about a business idea that will generate income in the future. By getting a babysitter while you and your partner have some time to yourselves, you may be saving the cost of divorce because the relationship has not been invested in. Getting help should not be considered a luxury. For those whose budget does not allow, help could be achieved through family members and/or swap systems with friends/neighbours.
    • Bringing different people into your family (old, young, different nationalities, neighbours) not only spreads the joy of children around but it brings interesting influences into your family. If it is a paid arrangement, older and younger people tend to charge a lower hourly rate and while they may seem inexperienced/out of practice with kids, few mothers were experienced before they had kids.
    • Spreading the responsibility of raising a child amongst more people relieves the pressure on the mother as the sole person in charge of a child's life.  It takes a village to raise a child.

  5. Abolish guilt (at least try to) - remember that leading a passionate life, more than having a tidy house, is going to inspire your family in the long term. Interestingly…

    Your tasks fall into 4 categories:

    • Urgent Important
    • Urgent Unimportant
    • Non-urgent important
    • Non-urgent unimportant

    Many household duties could be defined as both non-urgent and unimportant (although they often don’t seem that way), leaving space for those important ‘me-time’ past-times you have identified.

By doing the above, you will acknowledge:

  • Between you and your partner (if you have one) that:
    • the children and the household are both of your responsibility. This does not mean that you and your partner will spend equal amounts of time as each other on those responsibilities, although you might chose to.
    • the children and the household are 2 distinct fields that shouldn't necessarily be grouped together.
    • the jobs to be done for the children and the household are as extensive and important as in any paid job and should therefore be treated with the same respect. Receiving acknowledgement and thanks for the often invisible jobs of motherhood is as important, sometimes more important, than getting help with them. Interestingly…
      In the 1960s, it was popular to draw up a marriage contract that clearly stated that "each member of the family has an equal right to their own time/work/values/choices. The ability to earn more money is already a privilege and must not be compounded by enabling the larger earner to put the burden on the one who earns less. Domestic jobs should be shared 50/50 and if one does extra time, they will be compensated by extra work by the other."
    • all "employees" in the family business have finite hours in their week, energy and capabilities, such that some things may need to be outsourced or not get done if time or skills do not allow. If extra things are added, other things may have to fall away. Try and avoid taking on the jobs that nobody wants to do.
  • A system that suits your skills and desires rather than bowing to public pressure. Challenge the norm. Mothers have done things very differently in different eras. Parts of the current all-encompassing, hands-on approach to motherhood may not suit you. Do you need to spend 4 hours in the supermarket every week or could you spend 2 hours setting up your online shopping lists or standing order initially and then spend 10 minutes each week ordering your delivery?

Mothers accomplish much but often with little satisfaction

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