If you google the term “working mom” you will be presented with a huge number of results, most of which are stock images of women in business suits on phones, cooking dinner, holding children. Or moms in “mom clothes” sitting on a couch with a laptop AND a very calm toddler on their laps. Or moms that have sprouted additional limbs to hold children, groceries, phones, cooking utensils and in some instances, wine.

Now just last night I arrived home, ate the dinner that Mr Awesome had prepared (as he in turn headed out the door to a meeting), heard about my kids’ days, did the dishes, threw in a load of laundry, started bedtime and was faced with a little lady who felt like she might have “barfies.” All this while still wearing my blazer, blouse and pants from my work day. I didn’t have the glass of wine or groceries, no extra appendages, but I suddenly identified with the stock images.

working-momAs an aside, tangent, rant, whatever you want to call it, however…this picture drives me crazy. Her daughter is in the background waving at her, as she is on the phone stirring pasta sauce and staring off into the distance. The rest of her groceries remain packed, so I’m not sure how she dug around to get the sauce or noodles. And that’s another thing. The noodles. WAY too many for that small pot. Who art directs these shots? At least her daughter is smiling. Maybe it’s Dad on the phone and they’re both part of the conversation. Like I said, total tangent.

Regardless of how accurate or inaccurate the stock images are, they exist for a reason. The pressures on working moms to “do it all,” no matter how awesome and involved the other parent might be (if there is one, don’t even get me started on how superhuman single parents are) is immense. Whether internal or external, there are expectations to manage the home – cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, child maintenance (keeping up with outgrown clothes, shoes, etc), homework support, dry cleaning, garbage, gardening – that’s a fraction of what goes into keeping a home running smoothly and even with a partner in crime to balance the load, it’s a LOT.

So what about YOU? With all that on your plate, where is the time for you and YOUR well being?

I used to work for a health charity and part of our work was to educate women about getting their regular mammograms, to make it a priority and to put their health first. We would constantly hear that women didn’t have time, didn’t want to take the time away from their family. The same message goes for fitness as it does for breast health.

Hard truth: If you’re not healthy and taking care of yourself, who will be able to take care of your family? 

Thirty minutes a day. You can get out a go for a walk, a run, stay home and push play on a DVD while your kids crawl around you, whatever it takes, but GET ACTIVE. Take that half hour for yourself and for your health. If you take this time, if you give yourself this daily gift, you will be HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, you will have more energy, you will have more confidence, you will be clearer of mind…it literally is the best “drug” you can take to improve your mood and your life.

I could do a whole other post about healthy nutrition choices and hey, I may just do that. Taking care of your own nutrition keeps you healthy, it sets a fantastic example for your kids, keeps them healthier (I say healthiER because kids are just never fully snot-free, are they?). There are ways to make healthy eating as easy as throwing that frozen pizza in the oven, you just need to take a beat and make a plan. We’re still working to make meal planning a habit in our house, but the more healthy and simple recipes we come across, the easier it becomes.

I want you to try and make yourself a priority for seven days.I want you to try and make yourself a priority for seven days. Talk to your kids, to your partner and get their support in setting aside that 30 minutes a day. Try it and see how it goes for you, how you feel at the end of the week. It CAN be easy, if you make it easy. The less of a big deal you make it, the easier it will be. But the results you’ll see and feel WILL be a big deal.

Don’t try and go it alone! It’s not easy to change behaviour, and it can feel like you’re sometimes in it all alone. Mom groups are phenomenal, but sometimes even those are hard to find time to get to. If you need some help, some support to get yourself on track, getting active, trying your hand at meal planning – email me or send me a message on Facebook. I would love to chat, to help, to get you going on the road to a healthier life.

Here is a short video message I recently posted on my Facebook page, about this very thing: