Motherhood begins when a woman gives birth to her first offspring and comes with the huge responsibility of raising a child. At this point, the life of a woman undergoes a 360 degrees change, irrespective of whether she is a working professional or not. This process also changes the way in which she is perceived in society: she is a mother first, along with a wife, a daughter and potentially a working professional.
Nowadays, a significant portion of women in many countries are working professionals, who perform the dual role of a mother at home and an employee at their respective organisations. An important question often arises: ‘What is the difference between a working and non-working mother’?
Working and non-working mothers
The majority of working class women work full time and manage their homes too. It might seem easy, but it is not, especially when the kids are young. No doubt, they enjoy their professional life but it becomes increasingly difficult for women to leave kids at home, or in day care, due to the cost. At the same time, work is important as it provides financial stability and assistance to the family. In today’s world, when it is necessary for both parents to work and contribute to the welfare and development of their children, it can be a challenge to balance personal and professional life .
What about non-working mothers? It is often perceived that non-working mothers have a relaxed life, as they spend a significant time at home managing housework and family. But this is totally wrong! Women who are full-time housewives also find it difficult to manage home and kids. In fact, they have an equally vigorous routine like any other working woman. Not to mention the fact that some of them have had to sacrifice their careers to raise their children.
Although both the categories have their own set of challenges, I feel that non-working mothers face more stress than working ones. It may happen that, in spite of being well qualified, a woman has to leave her job to raise her offspring after becoming a mother. This might be a depressing situation and at times, it may even lead to stress. A woman might feel stuck in a kind of dilemma: she is often thorn between her career aspirations and the knowledge that her offspring needs her full attention, especially in the initial years of life, so she feels that it is sensible for a her to spend quality time with them. Therefore, motherhood is a crucial time and women need the support of her family and friends.
Keeping a positive outlook
A woman plays a multiplicity of roles within the family – she is often the cook, the cleaner, the primary educator and much more – all of which affects the wellbeing of its members. Therefore, it is important for women to have a positive state of mind as it has a direct impact on the behaviour and stability of her children. If a mother is stressed, it becomes hard for her to keep her children happy, thereby creating an unfavourable impact on mother-child relationship.
Children learn a lot from their mother. She is their first play mate and moral guide. If the mother is dissatisfied with her role, the children will pick up on the negative vibe at home. This can have detrimental consequences on their future. A mother’s positive attitude towards life is a building block for her children: her behaviour has an impact on the physical and mental development of her offspring.
Motherhood definitely changes a woman’s life, but she can become a winner if she dominates all her fears, anger and other emotions. It is true that life changes drastically with motherhood, but it is important to bear in mind that life does not end when motherhood starts. It is important to embrace this change sportingly. She can always resume her career after her children start going to school, so she has to exercise perseverance, patience and self-control, till all things fall in place.
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How mothers can overcome stress
- Create solutions for peak times: Mornings are generally stressful for mothers as the husband is getting ready for work and kids needs to be at school in time. A mother needs to identify the times when she is more likely to get more irritable and find a solution to curb the friction during that time. She must plan everything in advance such as kids uniforms and packed lunch. This will help reduce the pressure in the morning.
- Take a break: Getting stressed is unavoidable at times, but one can get away for a few minutes by taking a break. It helps the person to view the same situation from a new or positive perspective.
- Meditation: Deep breathing, meditation and prayer are the most powerful tools to overcome stress. Mental relaxation helps create peace from within.
- Exercise together: Exercise keeps one fit and helps reduce stress. Therefore, mothers should take some time out her busy routine to exercise preferably with her kids, which will also instil healthy living habits in them.
- Laugh together: If you are stressed, your face becomes tense. Laughing, smiling and giggling can help relieve some tension. Therefore, the mother should create situations for all the family to laugh together. She could organise an outing, such as dinner out, a picnic or may be on a trip together.
- Form a social circle: It is quite true that non-working mothers are devoted to their families to such an extent that they hardly have time for social activities. A social circle is very important for a healthy lifestyle as it allows you to vent your thoughts. Make sure you set time aside to catch up some friends. This generates positive energy and helps in shifting your focus from stressful things, at least for some time.
To sum up, I would say that being optimistic and patient is the key to avoid stress and depression in a mother’s life. With the support of her family and belief in herself, she can successfully raise her children. She shouldn’t put herself under pressure but take out time for herself from her busy schedule to pursue those activities that she enjoys doing. It will not only create a positive environment but also improve her family life.