Researcher Dr Judy Rose recently published a paper – Never Enough Hours In The Day: Employed Mothers” Perceptions Of Time And Pressure. In it she identifies ‘mother’s guilt’ and explores the concept of how the stress of juggling work and family has not only negative mental and physical effects but ‘actually changes women’s perceptions of time’.
Working mothers feel mother’s guilt as they try to be the primary caregiver, breadwinner and family support network. If they take time out for a coffee or exercise, the guilt mounts as we focus on all the things we’re not doing for others while we are taking time for ourselves.
Dr Rose found that in an effort to cope, working mothers were:
- change working hours to better fit the family schedule
- use the ineffective technique of multitasking
- attempting to be more organised (which felt like another chore)
- calling on husbands to help more
Women who are under these pressures experience time differently. They experience ‘time poverty’ or a lack of time. In these moments time seems to be going “in reverse, neutral or hyper-drive”.
As our society changes and women are having their families later in life, it means that not only are we looking after the generation below us, but we may be simultaneously looking after the generation above us at the same time.
One of the greatest things we can do when we are at the time of our lives where we are giving in so many directions, is to make sure we take time for ourselves. Take time out to exercise and relax. It is healthy to spend some time away from your children. It is good for both of you and if there is another parent in the picture, it is good for him/her to spend time with the children as well.
Look after yourself. You cannot do everything for everyone. Without your health and mental well-being, you cannot be anything for anyone.