Everyone knows, mums are busy. And yet we are the first to say “not much” when someone asks “what have you been doing”, or “I feel like I’ve got nothing done today”.
First things first, just because you haven’t identified it as a job doesn’t mean you’re not doing it, but it does mean you’re not benefiting from the knowledge, satisfaction and boost that comes with recognizing what you’re achieving.
This article in the Washington Post has been round for a few years now, and it’s just as relevant today as it was when it was first published. I highly recommend you read the whole article next time you feel like you’ve not achieved much being “just a mum.” Here’s an excerpt:
” When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm’s way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.
It’s needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It’s constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
It’s constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It’s resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone’s long-term expense.
It’s doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything — language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything. “
My point is, recognise what you are achieving, instinctively, constantly, on a daily basis and you’ll start to realise your capabilities and grow in confidence, and the funny thing is, that will enable you to do even more.
Mums are creative, resourceful and incredibly resilient. Why? Well it’s down to commitment really. And it’s that commitment, however tired, frustrated, or clueless we feel, that keeps us going through the highs and the lows, the good days and the really bad days, and even when we get it completely wrong, we may collapse in a heap, but we get up again.
But sometimes our commitment runs out when it comes to ourselves. We’re great at supporting others, but often face our own challenges alone.
Our resourcefulness and resilience can leads us to try and do it all ourselves. And our generous heart is so giving to those we love, we forget to give time, energy and attention to our own needs.
Next time you think you’ve done nothing, start with some recognition. What have you done? What are you in the process of doing? It may not fit the traditional labels of work, but I’m willing to bet it’s good, vital, valuable work.