Mothers and fathers are confronted by the limits of time every day. Time spent on work, events, childcare and parental duties can be consuming and endless. For women, care of their spouse is also a time drain. Parents live in a state of constant sleep debt and neglect self-care. Studies find 50% of women have less than 90 minutes a day of free time yet these same studies report most women feel their job does not interfere with their personal life. So, the question is, what is the problem?
The primary issue is chores and responsibilities. Mothers have more tasks than fathers. Less than 25% of male spouses share household responsibilities with their wife. Most husbands focus on home-related issues including household repairs and improvements, gardening and yard work. That leaves everything else for the mother. Her list includes child care, assisting in homework, cooking, transporting children to activities, household errands, cleaning, grocery shopping, house organizing, laundry, childcare activities, managing day to day household finances, clothes buying and the list goes on and on.
Although most mothers feel their husband is capable of doing more chores and taking on more responsibilities most mothers do not delegate activities to their spouse. In fact, most women are more willing to share to do list chores with their children than their spouse. Mothers want their husband to ask to help and are especially protective of decorating, managing household finances and organizing the house.
This endless list of duties is daunting and causes physiologic stress. Stress hormones are released and elevated stress hormones at the end of the day are linked to mood changes, depression and shorter life spans. So, what can you do? Ask your spouse and others for help. Share responsibilities and duties with your spouse. Do not wait for your spouse to ask what he can do. Tell him what he needs to do. Find time to relax and stop yourself when you find a moment of free time to add more household duties.
Relaxation can be found in any contemplative activity. Get out in nature, experience the arts, exercise, take a nap, scrapbook, knit, sew, dance, join a choir, pursue your spiritual center take a yoga class or read a book. Take time to recharge and breathe. Most importantly, stop worrying about taking care of the house and your children. By being your own gatekeeper and taking time to have fun you will reclaim your life. Set a fun budget and schedule time for yourself. This is the most important retirement plan you will ever join. The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself.
If you do these things your life will change. You will live longer, be happier and have more energy to share the important things in life with your children and your spouse.