Everybody, everywhere, seems to be busy. The time poor problem seems to affect people all over the world. However, with the huge growth of time-saving apps and devices, do we actually have more time on our hands? I think many of us would agree, that this is sadly not the case.
Now, as we approach the school summer holiday time there are all the other things to juggle - routines, rotas and relationships. We need to cover gaps in child minding and find extra income to pay for treats and trips. This means that work load and pressures are higher than ever. All this make for a very stressful time for the primary care giver - usually poor old mum!
So what can you do about it to keep your sanity and everyone happy? Having spent decades working in the field of stress resilience, and seeing many a stressed out female executive, here are my top tips:
1. Be guilt free. Being at work while wishing you were with the family and vice versa doesn't help anyone, least of all you. The best tip I was given when I faced a similar quandary with my first child was to work out what you actually want. Do you have to work? Is it essential? If you want to work or you have to work, try this - imagine it is 2020 and you are looking back to summer 2017. How do you want to remember it? Write down your vision of the possible memory and work out how to achieve it.
2. Forget Perfection. It is a figment of the imagination. There is no Wonder Woman, Lara Croft or Super Woman - these were all created by men.
3. Don't compare yourself to others - nothing is ever as it seems. Comparing increases stress and makes you unhappy, your family will pick up on this. Happy mum = happy family.
4. Be organised about your time and energy. You need good sleep to keep up with it all. Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, if possible. Save your energy for the important things - does it really matter if the housework is left for a couple of days? Or if the children wear the same clothes again? Children would rather have you sit with them for five minutes than watch you hang up washing!
5. Turn the phones off as much as possible. Constant distractions and alerts drain your energy, take the focus away from what you are doing and send subliminal messages to your children that they take second place.
6. Know that your children were born to exactly the right mother! They will flourish and thrive with you, adapt and embrace your example and ethics. Harvard carried out a study which showed that working mothers often mistakenly "internalise social messages of impending doom for their children". In fact, the reality is that their sons and daughters appear to flourish, with daughters benefiting most from the positive role model of a mother with a career.
7. Make sure that you build in some time just for you - call it being healthily selfish. Swap childminding sharing so that you can do something just for you. Go to cinema or theatre and catch a matinee (enjoy the guilty pleasure), go to the park and read a book, have an extra class at the gym or a beauty treatment. This is the equivalent of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first - you are the pilot on this plane. Keeping everyone happy should include you too.
8. Make a special photo album up of the things you do together this summer - not the exotic holiday - but pictures of the paintings, baking, flowers in the park or on a walk, interesting sights - and not a mobile in sight! It will be something to look back on with irreplaceable, wonderful memories.
Here's to a stress-free summer, with no looking back with regrets.