We know moms are superheroes of the world, able to consistently push through sleepless nights, early morning wake-up calls, unwavering stress, body aches, and turbulent waves of emotions. Day in and day out, they efficiently tackle the challenges of motherhood, learning while on the job, and adjusting their routines to put their children first.
Motherhood is long, hard, and tiring. And now, research is backing that statement up. According to a recent study commissioned by Welch’s, American moms work an average of 98 hours. Between juggling jobs, cooking, cleaning, driving kids to and from school, managing after-school activities, and helping with homework.
Weigh that against the total number of hours within a week (168 to be exact), and they’re on the go 58 percent of the time that’s allocated in one week. That’s equivalent to working two and a half full-time jobs. Yes, you read that right.
No wonder moms are tired!
The 2017 report, which surveyed 2,000 moms across the nation with children from 5 to 12 years old, derived from Welch’s goal in providing easy and simple nutritional solutions for families. The study also asked participants to weigh in on their go-to resources that provide them sanity as they keep the house running.
“The results of the survey highlight just how demanding the role of mom can be and the non-stop barrage of tasks it consists of,” Casey Lewis, Welch’s Health & Nutrition Lead, told Yahoo News.
The grape juice company discovered that mamas work 14-hour shifts, clocking in at 6:23 a.m. and ending their day around 8:31 p.m. As for a lunch break? They may finagle close to one hour and seven minutes of personal downtime every single day. But moms all over can vouch that even getting one full hour for alone time is a rare occasion.
What keeps us sane?
Four in 10 women also reported feeling their life is a “never-ending series of tasks” each week. But as they battle picky eaters, develop tricks for getting the entire table to eat their meal, and navigate the pressures of feeding their family nutritional dishes, moms do have secret weapons to get the job done.
The survey found the top 20 “lifesavers” that help them keep everything afloat, which includes:
- Wet wipes
- Yoga pants
- An iPad
- Ever-brewing coffee
- Squeezing in a nap
- Reliable grandparents who can stay with the kiddos
- Babysitters parents can trust
- Kids’ TV shows on Netflix that they can turn to
- Turning to an effective angry voice when needed
- A pantry filled with healthy snacks and fruit juice
- A trove of toys in the car
- Arsenal of wine
As mommy’s little helpers, these resources are great for knocking out day-to-day tasks that help the house continue to run. But what about carving out time for just mom—no kids, no spouse, and no interruptions?
Parental burnout is real.
It can already seem nearly impossible to shower without a youngster looking for you, let alone have an hour of relaxation. But alone time is vital for mothers to avoid running themselves into the ground.
This is a genuine issue that now has a name, thanks to research from Clinical Psychological Science. “Parental burnout” is chronic stress and extreme exhaustion that leads caregivers to feel detached from their children and uncertain about their parenting abilities. It can lead to serious issues like parental neglect, harm, and thoughts of escaping.
Self-care is important to help positively impact moms’ physical, mental, and emotional health and give them a well-deserved break they need.
How to get some “me time.”
For moms looking to take full control of their “me time,” it’s best to do what makes you happy. Think about the days before children or even marriage. Ask yourself what you loved doing that you haven’t been able to enjoy in some time. It can be something as simple as watching your favorite Netflix show, taking a bath, reading, or crafting. Whatever it may be, remember that it’s time for you and only you (sorry, S.O., you have to sit this one out).
If you’re in search of other options that don’t include aimlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, we’ve compiled a few ideas to get your wheels turning on the perfect winddown time:
Treat yo’ self.
Whether it’s getting a nice mani-pedi, going to the mall for a shopping trip, or spending an afternoon at the spa, spoiling yourself a little now and then is good for the soul—and of course, your overall happiness.
Make a date with a pal.
Who said only kids could have playdates? Text a friend and plan a coffee or dinner date. While it can be hard if you both have children, try to sync up your calendars to find a time each month that works for you two.
Take up a class.
From crafting to fitness, join a weekly class to keep you in a routine. This will not only keep you on a schedule but will also help you focus on an activity that helps you relax and release endorphins.
Join a book club.
Being a part of a group helps you feel included and important. If you throw in an activity, like reading a book, it’ll hold you accountable to do something more outside of mom duties and household chores. Ask your friends to kick off a book club or partake in an established group with an entirely new circle and create new friendships along the way.
Remember, focusing on yourself is not selfish. The more time you devote to yourself once a week or a month, the happier you’ll be, and the better you’ll feel about tackling your daily to-do list. A little bit of “me time” goes a long way.