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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

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Being a Super Mom May Be Dangerous to Your Health


In the year 2004 women are still conflicted: to stay or not to stay at home with the children; to go or not to go to work for self-fulfillment and a much needed second income, or to juggle both worlds- perfectly. Women were raised to be good little girls, accommodating, helpful and well-behaved; somehow throughout the years they kept adding on to this magical imagery. When the feminist movement took root, women who worked in the home, felt as if they were languishing, losing their keen mental edge. They envied those who ďmade something of themselvesĒ in the work force. On the other hand, women who dedicated their twenties and thirties to their careers, while their fertility declined, envied the women who were home bonding with their children. Then the womenís movement gave birth to a seemingly brilliant inspiration: Women could do both. However, now they had to intensify their existence. It seemed like everyone was lining up waiting to be taken care of: husband, children, aging parents and the boss! As a result, panic attacks, anxiety and depression have escalated.

The good news is that every woman has the power to control her perceptions and emotions. She has the potential to become the heroine of her own personal story, most importantly, to learn from the conflicts encountered along the way. Every woman is entitled to a life adventure with a happy ending. Here are some suggestions to shed the myth of perfection and the accompanying stress.
  • If you are always running around, create the time and space to sit quietly for an hour a day. Some women who have children and work outside the home get up an hour earlier in the morning to create this peaceful time. If you canít find an hour, aim for at least fifteen minutes to drink a cup of tea or coffee. Hint: donít worry about cleaning the house during your personal time. It is never clean enough, anyway.
  • Let go of the guilt! If you work outside the house, you might feel guilty about shortchanging your kids. If you are working in the home, you might feel guilty that you are not a perfect wife and mother, and that you do not measure up to other career women with your level of education. Guilt wastes a lot of time. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Be true to yourself. Live your own dreams, not other peopleís dreams.
  • Pay attention to maintaining your good health through a diet and exercise regimen. If you donít have one, then you have lost your self-esteem. Caregivers must take care of themselves first or they are no good to anyone. They become irritable, fatigued and sad.
  • You donít need to do everything yourself. Ask for help from friends and family.
  • Donít be afraid to fail. You learn from failure and you can do better next time. Isnít that what you tell your children, your friends and your co-workers?
  • Donít view yourself as a helpless victim. While you canít change others, you can change your own dynamics and then everything changes.
  • Implement your changes in small baby steps. Pat yourself on the back after each step.
  • Donít judge your choices or that of other women. If you choose to work outside the home, then feel proud about your work and see it as a meaningful contribution. If you choose to stay at home, you donít have to be a perfect mother and homemaker to justify it. Enjoy the creativity and fulfillment of raising the children and running the household.
  • Remember: You can have it all - just not all the time! Be fluid about making life decisions. You can change your mind about home or work or any combination thereof. Itís a womanís prerogative.
    Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WHLI 1100 AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com

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Content copyright © 2014 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.

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