One of the most challenging roles to balance for a woman is those of wife and mother. Being a nurturer, supporter, and confidante to your spouse while raising a child can be extraordinarily difficult. Your child is an innocent being and a representation of your love, so it is easy to place your focus there. You just melt when you look into that little face; and on the worst day when the crying is nonstop and you can’t remember the last time you’ve showered, you still have a little energy left to stare at your little one sleeping.
So there you are, reading your parent guides and trying not to lose your sleep-deprived mind when your husband reminds you that he exists. He wants it back; he wants you back. He wants his sex kitten, his partner in crime, and the love of his life to be the person he fell in love with. And you want to be that girl who loved so freely and made your relationship a priority. But your little angel needs you, not just wants you.
Ladies, you are not alone. Trying to take care of yourself while balancing wifehood and motherhood can feel like an impossible juggling act. You end up neglecting your own needs to fulfill your other roles, which further exacerbates the situation as you have less motivation and energy to attend to your loved ones. Do not despair. You can be an amazing wife, and devoted mother, and maintain your sanity. And I am going to help you!
Here are some tips for balancing the roles of wifey and mommy:
1. Maintain a sense of self. You may not remember what your life was like before you got married or had children. It seems like lifetimes ago that you were able to focus on your desires. But this needs to change. At least once per month, arrange a time for inner reflection. Away from the hubby, kids, and responsibilities. Away from your friends, siblings, and coworkers. Use these moments to listen to your own thoughts and ensure you are comfortable with the person you see when you look in the mirror.
2. Silence your biggest critic. As a wife and mother, you will make mistakes. There is no perfect way for two people to build a life together, and there is definitely no perfect way to parent a child. Too often you criticize yourself for not living up to your own expectations. Attempting to become a better wife or mother is welcomed, but do not confuse striving for improvement with striving for perfection. Give yourself some grace for a change and silence your biggest critic, your own inner voice.
4. Make mommy playdates. It is time for mommy playdates. And not coming together and exchanging pleasantries with the moms of your children’s friends while they hang out. I am suggesting you reach out to your trusted companions and arrange an outing. Talk about things you could never discuss in front of your children, or that your husband would never be interested in. Having this time away from your daily routine and from your family allows you to take some space to appreciate them. You can then go back with a sense of renewal.
5. Develop your individualized life plan. Before you got married or had children, you had a dream. You had an idea of what your life would be like. You may have achieved those dreams prior to getting married and having children, and must now accommodate your new roles into your former vision. Or maybe you derailed your dreams to focus on your family life and need to redefine your purpose. Now is the time to reclaim your vision and start putting it into action.
The opinions expressed here are solely my own as a psychiatrist and public health advocate. I receive no support from any pharmaceutical or device company.
My new book—The Modern Trophy Wife: How to Achieve Your Life Goals While Thriving at Home — is now available in electronic, paperback, and hardcover versions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.