18 Busy Mamas Reveal Their Biggest Struggles
Ever feel like other mothers have got it together more than you? Wonder how they manage to make it all look so damn easy? I’ve got something special for you here. Proof that even those mothers we tend to put up on a pedestal aren’t perfect and have their struggles just like anybody else.
I asked 18 truly busy mothers to tell me which life area they struggle with the most (Love, Family, Health, Productivity, Personal Growth, Money, Work or Fun) – and what they do (or try to do) to make things better.
I was blown away by the variety and honesty of their answers. It just goes to show the balancing act we all face. Let’s learn from each other and find new ways take on our challenges and find more happiness.
Busy mamas unite!
As a mom, wife and entrepreneur, I find that I can make my physical health lower on my priority list. I drink my daily green smoothies, but sometimes I sadly consider working out a non-essential. But that means I’m saying I am not essential and that’s not true. Without my health I have nothing. So it’s important for me to take care of my body to be able to rock my business and be an awesome wife and mother. So instead of always scheduling phone meetings during my favorite yoga class times, I now say that time is not available. You have to make an appointment with yourself and keep it. Don’t stand yourself up.
To help me commit to my physical health, I’ve asked my close friend (who is also a yoga teacher) to keep me accountable. She calls/emails/texts me reminders to get my butt into yoga class and will make me feel super bad if I don’t make it. I told her I need help and she’s been great. Accountability with others has really helped in this area of my life as well as others.
Life can change dramatically once you add kids into the mix. As a mother of two young kids, I struggle with balancing their desires with my own. And to be completely honest, for the first three years of motherhood I had no clue who I was beyond a wife and mother. I didn’t know what I even liked to do anymore besides driving through Starbucks and grabbing a morning coffee on my way to the park with the kids.
I wanted to find myself again— so I began praying for opportunities and forcing myself to do things that I used to enjoy (like running, traveling and graphic design). The more I did these things, the more I craved it. And the ball began to roll. I planned more family road trips and began dabbling in photography. My graphic design business was growing rapidly— one client even became my business partner and we launched Simple Green Smoothies! My life has become so much richer once I took the time to invest in myself.
It is so easy to become content with life as we know it. I still struggle with that. Yet I also want to grow and stretch myself— and that means I need to be intentionally pursing my passions (and discovering new ones along the way!). I know it can be hard not to feel selfish about taking some time for yourself, especially when you have kids. But I can promise you when you are taking time to live out your own dreams, your kids and husband will be reaping the rewards as well.
Lisa Grace Byrne
For me, I feel pretty good in most of these areas at this point. It’s taken a while with a whole lot of intention to get here, but taken individually, I feel fulfilled in most of these parts of my life. My challenge comes up when I try to keep all the cups filled at the same time. For a while I had this definition in my mind that to live a whole, healthy, integrated life meant that I needed to be filling each of these cups at the same time with the same amount of focus and attention. That almost always ended up leaving me feeling depleted and disappointed.
What I’m learning now is to honor the natural ebbs and flows of my own inner needs for growth and nourishment in these areas. When I make sure that I’m well-attuned inwardly I can tell when I need more attention or investment in a certain part of my life, and when other parts of my life feel satisfied and not as needy. It’s a dance that I’m learning to enjoy and relax into more and more every day.
Amy Lynne Andrews
I struggle with keeping firm boundaries on my work time. Working is a huge draw for me because I love it. I do a few things to curb the problem. First, I try not to sit down at the computer without a plan. Having a list of things to do keeps me from whittling away my time on things that don’t matter and therefore pushes me to spend more time later getting real work done. The other thing that helps is to get out of the house. The drive to the local coffee shop or the library marks a clear boundary between work time and home time.
I struggle with the social demands a lot, but not for the reason you might think. It’s not because I have to give it up – it’s the opposite. I am an introvert by nature so it is quite normal for me to put everything on the back burner and plunge into the whatever project I am working on. And since I can’t do that to my kids, or husband, the social circle is the first one to go. That being said, I am lucky to have the support of few girlfriends who understand me and how I operate. Being mums with kids, they have got issues of their own, it’s just that mine is using work as an excuse to crawl back inside my shell. The only way I deal with it is let people know that I might disappear for a while and also, making up for it (or doing more) when I can.
I’m pretty together with most things in my home and life but two things still elude me. The first is dinner. I am completely OK with planning all the other meals we have during the day but when I get to dinner it feels very much like Groundhog Day to me! The idea of cooking yet another meal seems to really do my head in! To solve this – or at the very least to help me a little – I have basic supplies in my fridge, pantry and freezer so that when dinner time comes around I can take a peak and decide what I feel like cooking that night.
The second thing that eludes me is switching off from work to focus on my family. Being your own boss is great – but sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself to complete things when really there’s no rush. To solve this, and to reconnect with what’s important to me, I made the decision to reduce my work hours. Now I only work during school hours and have scheduled tasks to do each day.
Also for about six or eight months now I’ve implemented “Sacred Sunday” where I am technology–free every Sunday. I’ve even implemented a rule with our son that there is no technology after 6pm during the week – and he’s started pulling me up on it when I don’t follow the rule! I’ve also implemented Sacred Sunday with him and even though he complained at first he now loves it. We spend the day cooking, gardening, playing, watching movies – it’s a great bonding time for us and even though I’ve yet to convince Hubby to drop technology completely on Sundays, we do have some great quality family time together.
Beryl Ayn Young
I’ve always been a bit of an ‘old soul’ deep thinker type so I struggle with FUN the most. That’s not to say I’m not fun at all, it’s just hard for me to switch off my serious side and tap into the silly. It’s become even harder now that I own a business I love, because I could spend every last minute working on stuff for that instead of letting go and doing something fun instead. Now that I have a young daughter I’m trying really hard to be goofy, and silly, and let loose with her. A friend actually challenged us a few months ago to head out in public for 2 hours in super hero capes and although I had to stretch out of my comfort zone to do it, we had a blast!
The biggest challenge I struggle with is always living in alignment with my priorities. For example, my priorities are my faith, my husband, and my children, but it often happens that my business gets the best of my energy, while my kids get everything that’s left. My poor husband is sometimes left on the sidelines, and my spirituality suffers too! I just have to be conscious and work to rebalance myself every day. My morning meditation practice is the surest way to make sure I keep myself living in alignment and spending my time and energy in a conscious way, making life better for both my family and me as my business grows.
I struggle the most with time management. I love spending time with my daughter and can get carried away playing with her. Before I’ve realised – it’s lunchtime and nothing is prepared! I do try to preempt this by preparing meals in bulk so there is something in the fridge that can be quickly heated.
The same goes with work, as I work from home. Fitting in emails and writing when I get the opportunity during the day and after my daughter’s bedtime. I’ll get stuck in and will often work until the early hours. I make myself have at least one early night a week to catch up on my much-needed beauty sleep.
Editor of www.mumazine.com
The biggest life challenge for me is trying to balance work, kids, husband, house, myself… life! The only way I manage it is by forcing myself to do only one thing at a time: when I’m with my kids, I leave my phone behind; when I’m catching up with my husband or a friend, I leave my kids behind (with a babysitter of course); when I’m working, I leave home behind (easier said than done when you work ‘from home’). The final part is the hardest: how do I make time for myself? I’m still working on that part!
My biggest challenge is health. As a former yoga instructor and always active person, it kills me that the one area I can never seem to keep up with is keeping my body moving. But when it comes to balancing kids and my growing business, working out is usually the first to go. I’m trying to start a non-negotiable, every other day workout. I don’t care what it is, but I need at least 30 minutes on my calendar every other day when I move my body- usually going for a run since it requires no equipment and very little planning.
Since finding date time with my hubby is also a challenge, we’ve started having active dates together. For example, to celebrate our anniversary this weekend, we’re going for a run and going paddle boarding together – fitness and couple alone time all in one great afternoon!
Being self employed, my biggest challenge is finding that ‘switch off’ moment. I encourage self employed mums – if you can find and afford some shared workspace (hot design, council run shared office space, members clubs) – get your office out of your home. I know it costs money, but working from home is so problematic and the kids get really frustrated having half my attention where they’re home and I haven’t ‘left the office’ so to speak. Maybe you can get together with a few other mums and share the expense… time share a desk? But when you’re home – you’re home.
Money is my biggest challenge in life. Growing up I have developed some serious money issues about not deserving more and other major blocks. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and reflection about removing those blocks and working on my business which is something I absolutely love! I know this is a common challenge for people especially when you go from two incomes to one like we have. My life lesson that has come out of all of this has been to adopt an attitude of gratitude. I truly am grateful for all I have. It has also lead me down the path of personal development which has made me a stronger and wiser person.
With a thriving online business with lots of moving parts and a very lean team to help me work on it, my biggest challenge is keeping my work hours to 40 or so hours a week while still meeting all my deadlines and leaving some time to think and plan ahead for growth. I absolutely love what I do, which is making it easier for busy families to come together for a healthy meal at the end of the day with my online family dinner planning service The Six O’Clock Scramble. However, there are other things that I love, like spending time with my family, cooking, exercising, seeing friends, traveling and reading novels, and I want all my favorite things to fit into my very full life. I’ve found it’s a matter of setting priorities and boundaries and finding efficiencies.
Here’s how I try to fit it all in so I can have a multi-dimensional life that I love:
I can’t say that I accomplish all my goals every single day, or that some of my life isn’t sheer drudgery, but amazingly I am able to fit family dinners, friends, reading and my other passions into my life most days and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to have so many things that I love filling most my time.
Aviva Goldfarb is founder of The Six O’Clock Scramble, an online dinner planning solution for busy parents, is author of the acclaimed Six O’Clock Scramble cookbooks, and frequently appears in media such as the Today Show, the Washington Post, O Magazine, Real Simple, Prevention and more.
What about you? What’s your biggest life area challenge? And what will you do to make things better? Join in with your comments. Please share this post with other mothers who struggle with the juggle. Just hit one of the share buttons below. Thank you!
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