Ask any mom who works full time, and they will tell you that they do much more than their fair share of the tasks at work and home. In fact, many working moms pull over 40 hours of work each week plus still do the vast majority of the chores at home. Unfortunately, this means that many working moms get almost no time to themselves, and they definitely don’t find time for anything fun.
But shouldn’t moms who work hard also get to play hard if they want to? Absolutely! As a full-time working mom, I firmly believe we all need alone time, too. Here’s why.
Working Moms Experience Burnout At Alarming Rates
While most working moms like myself love our careers and children, we also push ourselves well beyond our limits. In fact, working moms are 28 percent more likely to experience burnout than working dads. This is because we don’t ask for a break or even ask for help — we just push through and keep taking on extra projects at work while trying to complete the endless loads of laundry and carving out time to help the kids throw together their science project.
I think, many times, people don’t see just how much full-time working moms have going on, especially given the current world we live in. Since many working moms have switched to working from home, burnout is even more prevalent because we’re now frequently expected to do all the housework and the work for our job simultaneously. So if the house isn’t spotless, or we get behind on a project at work, we instantly feel guilty. And that takes its toll on us.
Over time, burnout wears us down, and the mental overload we experience turns into physical symptoms. But we could easily avoid that if we could get just a bit of alone time each week — even if it’s just a moment to pee or shower in silence.
Alone Time Helps Moms Be More Productive
While it may not sound like much to you, the burnout moms experience from working full-time and parenting full-time takes a serious toll. In fact, 1 in every 10 moms battles symptoms of depression on a daily basis. Even if we aren’t experiencing burnout or mental illness, though, we still need time to ourselves every once in a while — especially if you want us to keep juggling all the balls in the air.
When moms get even just half an hour to themselves each day, they often feel less overwhelmed and more focused on work and parenting. What’s more, alone time helps decrease stress levels and gives individuals time to reflect. This, in turn, helps moms focus more on tasks, act more creatively, and even appear less irritable with the children.
Speaking from personal experience, I’m the best version of myself when I’ve gotten adequate rest the night before and had even just 30 minutes to sit and breathe between my workday and when the kids return home from school. Just a bit of alone time gives my body and mind time to decompress, refocusing my attention. This is so important for moms, especially when we switch gears mid-afternoon from “working woman” to “super mom.” On days when I get that bit of alone time, I can knock out more tasks at home, make a more elaborate dinner, and show my partner more love and attention once the children go to sleep.
But How Can Busy Moms Squeeze In Alone Time?
Moms need to have a better growth mindset to have a better life. Okay, so now that we know why moms need alone time and understand the benefits, that leaves most moms with a simple question: How the heck do I find time to myself between a full-time job and all the responsibilities that come with raising children? Well, you might have to get a bit creative, but there are ways to make it happen.
During the week, I usually opt not to “cash in” my lunch break in the traditional sense. Instead, I eat lunch at my desk. Then, I use my “lunch break” just before school dismisses, using those 30-40 minutes for myself while I sit in the car line to pick the kids up. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I walk, sometimes I scroll social media, and sometimes I even take a nap — it just depends on what my body and mind need on any given day.
However, if shifting your lunch break like that isn’t an option, you can still find other ways to make that alone time happen. For example, you can reserve a bit of time after dinner for yourself while your partner handles the kids. Maybe you take a bubble bath or go for a walk — as long as you’re alone, it’s okay! Or, if you’re a single mom, maybe you make your alone time part of your bedtime routine after the kids go to bed. Just schedule it like you would any other event because that’s often the biggest hurdle.
Between work, parenting, and household chores, full-time working moms have a lot going on. So instead of sucking it up and suffering in silence, it’s time we all take a stand and start advocating for ourselves. You deserve alone time, Mom. So make sure you get it every once in a while!
Originally Published on Moms.com