Moms and the Role Strain
It is hard to find a mom who is not juggling several roles at any given time. Mothers, whether they work or stay at home, or handle a business, all are juggling several roles as mom, wife, and businesswoman, working mother or as a part of a welfare community. With ambitions and expectations from self, juggling roles and trying to achieve perfection, or not having enough support can take a toll on health and create stress or role strain.
Any work that requires more effort than a person’s capacity is stressful. Mothers may feel overwhelmed by many roles and responsibilities they have to fulfill. This can lead to increased amount of stress and feeling inadequate or incompetent. Moms may also set higher ambitions and goals in different roles including motherhood by comparing themselves with popular or highly successful women. Two or more roles may compete for a person’s capacity and create stress, e.g. meeting work deadlines, helping children with school projects and handling household chores.
Role strain and stress can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, irritability, sleep disorders, headaches, poor memory, feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. Other stress related health problems are weaker immune system that makes the person more susceptible to infections, cold and flu. Role strain can also make a woman suffer from long term stress that can be harmful for her well-being and increases risk of cardiovascular diseases. See Metabolic syndrome.
Some of the options which can relieve role strain are to take a break, let go or reduce the perfection levels and set clear and practical expectations with oneself and of others from self. Many times women take more responsibility because this is how society or the family expects from them, and most of the times women themselves feel that they should be doing more as this is what idealization of motherhood and womanhood dictates.
Taking help from children or spouse or making them responsible to keep their clothes in laundry basket and dishes back in the kitchen sink is rather helping them in becoming helpful and responsible. I feel being an ideal mother is to nurture children to become responsible and independent individuals rather than selfish and dependent.
It is important to fulfill responsibilities and to make dreams come true, but it is also important that all different roles responsibilities that a person takes in life help make him/her satisfied, happier and healthier.