Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — As involved and nurturing moms, we face daily and deep challenges in running a home and raising a family. After informally posting a question on my Facebook page — “What are the top three stressors in your life?” — I gathered the responses and put them into these top three categories.
No. 1: Self care
Women expressed there was too much to do, too little energy, and a whole lot of "how will I handle that?" — and not just physical, but emotional needs. As I thought about this, I realized that we women know the need for self-care, body and soul, so why don’t we do it? One thought was perception — that we perceive we can’t or shouldn’t — and we can change that.
Basic physical health. We need to value basic health for ourselves. Take the time to eat well, exercise and sleep, and in the process shoot for 80 percent of the time. When one area can’t be a positive (i.e. a new baby, so sleep is gone), add something to another one (eat well). You can also adjust responsibilities, delegating to someone else (i.e. trade something for house cleaners for three months).
Basic emotional health. As a young mom, I thought doing the things I loved — playing the piano, writing, speaking — would take away from my children and the time it took to help develop them into wonderful people. But what I learned is that it gives something to them: It helped them know me and expand their own talents and interests.
One of my friends told how the only time she could play the piano was at night when her children went to bed. So she did, and they loved it! Years later, one of her children in college called to say he’d heard a Brahms piece that she used to play for them.
No. 2: Finances
Every woman deals with this on a daily basis, and often with a sense of unease. Instead of overhauling everything, we can start with one principle: plug the leak. In "Smart Women Finish Rich" by David Bach, he shares the wisdom of finding one area that isn’t working and work out one solution.
For example, do a quick check of online bank statements for one or three months and find the five top variable outgo areas (i.e. fast food, kids clothes, school book orders, etc.) Then take the 30-day challenge and just say "no" — no to overspending in those areas. When you pass up a Wendy’s drive-thru, share with the kids that you just saved $25. Use Monopoly money to put the equivalent in a jar. Children can visually see how much is typically spent and how much was now saved.
No. 3: Connection with children
Hands down, a huge worry of moms is that in this digital, superficial and distracting world, we aren’t creating those deeper connections and having meaningful conversations.
Whether they’re on the go or structured, it doesn’t matter: simply seek the moments. If you’re looking, you’ll see them, instead of pushing them aside for functional to-dos. Once you have the moment, engage in an open, exploratory conversation, rather than a lecture or an I’m-making-a-point conversation.
While writing the book, "What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know: 10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters," I worked on the “puberty” chapter. When my daughter and I headed out for a shopping trip, I casually asked her some questions that other 6th graders had submitted about the subject and asked her opinion. That led to a meaningful, open and helpful discussion that included other topics like boys and friends. Surprisingly, it went so well that we sat in the Old Navy parking lot still talking while shopping awaited. Connecting with our children means opening the door, offering trust and a listening ear, and seeking for the opportunities.
Although many life areas could make the top three, consider trying one tip in any of these areas to increase the positive and lessen the stress.
Connie Sokol is an author, speaker, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at www.conniesokol.com.