Should Overwhelmed Working Women ‘Take It Like A Mom’ Or Ask For Help?

Written by admin on June 18th, 2011. Posted in Fun Stuff, Rants

Karen Larson needed a break. An associate in the merchandising group at Macy’s in New York, her husband Scott had just been made law partner a month before their daughter Sophie’s second Christmas. His promotion meant longer work hours and less time with his family, leaving Karen with the care of the apartment, which was undergoing renovations, their daughter and holiday obligations. Oh—and her job.

Did we mention it was the holiday season?

Two weeks into the rush, Larson, was reaching her limits. Each morning when she woke with Sophie to get her dressed and off to daycare, Scott had already left for work. After hours on the floor of the busy department store, she rushed to pick up her daughter, feed and bathe her, deal with her growing temper, she says, and put her to bed—all before her husband returned from the office.

“I was running myself into the ground,” she says, “But what’s worse, the stress of juggling everything was killing my relationship. It all just felt so unfair.” Why should she be doing everything, she thought, and never get a break when Scott got away “Scott-free?”

By Christmas Eve, Karen had nothing left to give. Her husband was expected to be off in time to pick up Sophie so they could make the trip to Scott’s parents’. When Karen received a call at 4:45 pm that Sophie had not been picked up and was the last child at the day care center, she rushed out of the office, grabbed her daughter and took the next train to her own parent’s house. Leaving Scott both bewildered and behind for the holidays.

“In hindsight, of course, it was a dumb move,” says Larson, 30, still married to Scott and a still-working mother now of three. “And one that could’ve cost me my marriage. The truth was I just needed a break. I needed help and I wasn’t getting it. I should have just asked Scott. But instead, I ran.”

With women making up more than half the workforce and still spending an average of 12 more hours a week with their children than their partners, it’s no wonder that stress levels are rising. And in a recent partnered survey by ForbesWoman and parenting hub, an astounding majority of responding mothers can commiserate with Larson’s predicament: 94% of working moms say they need a “time out” from parenting. Stay-at-home moms told us they feel about the same: 97% want a time out, nearly 20% of them say “yes, all of the time!”

But is it possible that the combination of working, parenting, running a household and taking care of herself is simply too overwhelming for women? Or is the underlying truth that, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, mothers have always had the power to get that “break” if they repeat the magic phrase: “There’s nothing like asking for help…there’s nothing like asking for help.”

Susan Newman, Ph.D., and author of The Case for The Only Child admits it’s complicated. “Sixty percent of mothers are returning to work before their child’s first birthday,” she says. “And while both men and women are working nearly 11 more hours a week than they did in the 1970s, mothers are still spending about the same amount of time with their children as they did in the 1950s.” As the number of hours in a day hasn’t changed in recent years, it stands to reason, she says, that stress levels are skyrocketing. “They’re cutting back on their sleep, exercise, any form of relaxation or fun. Read a book? Forget about it.”

Carley Roney, editor-in-chief, says it’s not just a matter of taking on too much. From her perch as the editor of a leading parenting network and as a mom of three, she says that women have to ask for help with the countless balls she juggles each day—work, family, home. Instead, when it comes to asking for that much-needed break from parenting duties, many mothers are loathe to outsource even a single task.

“There is an underlying self-doubt and guilt in saying ‘I don’t want to do this’” she says of parenting. “It’s literally ingrained in most of us to want to be Super Moms, and that feeling is so often compounded in working moms, who feel the added guilt of being away from their children for a number of hours each day to begin with. When they have the chance to be a mommy, to give up any control can be quite painful.”

That guilt then, and the reluctance to relinquish any task of motherhood, might just be Public Enemy No.1. “It’s a martyr syndrome,” Roney contends. “You want to do everything, but you want to be recognized for it. You want to be offered the help, not to ask for it; and that’s where the resentment kicks in.” Seventy percent of working moms admitted resentment towards their partners for not being as helpful as they’d like with parenting duties.

Census data from 2010 shows that married households are officially in the minority. As my colleague Kiri Blakeley notes, married people have dropped below half of households, to 48%. Forty-one states showed a decline in the traditional household set-up: A married couple with children. These numbers imply that single parent households are on the rise and such nuclear families may be as nostalgic as Family Ties. But according to our survey, which queried 1,259 mothers who live with their partners (91% married, 9% in a relationship), even with the presumed luxury of having a partner in parenting, everything isn’t equal. And it certainly isn’t fair.

According to research by The Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit that studies the changing workforce, when both parents are working outside the home, women spend 28 hours per week with their children while men spend just sixteen. The same working women told ForbesWoman and TheBump that they also tend to the majority of the household work (shopping, cooking, cleaning), parenting work (discipline, feeding, bathing) and even parenting “play” than their partners each week. Oh, and 44% of them also provide more than 50% of the annual household income.

Like Karen Larson learned after the runaway Christmas of 2008, avoiding a breakdown means a willingness to communicate her limits with her husband and asking for help when she needs it. The couple now trades off Sunday mornings with the kids to give the other an official break, and she’s outsourced housekeeping and laundry to a weekly cleaning service. “I do occasionally feel guilty that I can’t be everything to everybody,” she says, but at least she’s spending holidays with her whole family.

“There’s ego in motherhood,” Roney concludes. “And an ego in being a wife. It’s the nature of being a mother—that you’ll just do it. That you’ll take it ‘like a mom.’” Communicating the need for help is a troubling but necessary first step, she says, to relieving stress, avoiding resentment and—ultimately—getting the time out every mother deserves. “At some point, you’ve got to say: I can do a lot of it, but I don’t want to do it all.”

Meghan Casserly
GIRL FRIDAY, 15 June 2011

The Story of STUFF

Written by admin on June 3rd, 2011. Posted in Healthy Home, Rants

This is a FANTASTIC and necessary eye opener that all should enjoy watching. The consumerism conveyor-belt that we have been duped by governments and corporation into believing will deliver everlasting happiness is the fuel that drives the worldwide economy that is obliterating our planet.


If we stand up from the fog and realise the food we are eating along with the pointless goods we are ‘consuming’  hoping to fill our lives with will never satisfy our needs: either emotional, physical or spiritual, we will reclaim the ultimate freedom. The freedom we were born with and is our birthright. Balance and harmony within our world, our ecosystems and our fellow creatures of this planet.

Bob Parsons of GoDaddy – There is a harmonious solution!

Written by admin on April 1st, 2011. Posted in Rants

There's a better way Bob Parsons

If ex-Vietnam vet and GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson’s egomaniacal slaying of an elephant in Zimbabwe isn’t a classic example of shooting oneself in the kneecap I don’t know what is.

Worldwide community backlash is mounting upon him and GoDaddy over a self-made and blogged video of Parson’s attempting to express concern at a local farmer’s loss of crop but more transparently, his eagerness to pull the trigger on some ‘big game’.

Clients are pulling their GoDaddy accounts left, right and centre with good cause. Most notably PETA an organization for the ethical treatment of animals.

Quite simply people are voting with their feet and pulling accounts even at their own expense to make a statement. We are not going to finance your lifestyle of chest beating and butchery. Given elephants have demonstrated a proven ability of intelligence, long term memory, intense feelings, family network and massive grief at the loss of family members, Bob Parson’s slaying of a so-called ‘problem’ elephant is the action of a short-sighted, opportunistic trigger-happy man.

Here’s an amazing, harmonious and clever alternative we discovered taking place in Sri Lanka that could be adopted in Zimbabwe’s clash between elephant and human needs. In Sri Lanka after bitter land battles between farmer and elephant, they are now allowing elephants to come and go as they please and collecting and processing the elephant’s dung. From this highly fibrous dung comes a beautiful handmade and dyed (odour-free!) paper product. A product that earns them a profitable, honest, ethical living.

Those clever Sri Lankans!










Now THAT’S outside the box thinking that benefits everyone!

Cyclone Yasi – Do I stay or do I go now?

Written by admin on February 2nd, 2011. Posted in Rants

Category 5 Monster

Cyclone Yasi - Do I stay or do I go now?

Is it just me? Have I lived such a nomadic life in the last 10 years that packing up your loved ones & driving out of harms way seems like the logical course of action in such an epic instance of danger? “Nahhhhhhh she’ll be right, we’ll ride it out” Sit in your bathroom/toilet with your children crying out in terror for hours on end while a Category 5 tears at your house. Begs the question ARE YOU COMPLETELY *@$%ING BONKERS?!! Make like a backpacker AND LEAVE!

Get in your car and drive. As far South as needed to reach safety. (Mackay was recommended by the emergency services.) Come back tomorrow (or later) and do the clean up. Is it really so terrible to abandon your house and let it ride out the storm on it’s own? It is a house, after all. You can’t protect it. You can’t reassure it. You can’t cuddle it while it cries through the furious storm or try desperately to keep it safe and dry after it’s roof flies off in a screech of metal and broken glass. But you’ll need to do that for your children you have huddled under a mattress in the bathroom. To ask your children to endure an emotional, psychological and in all likelihood, physical trauma by staying in the path of a monster Category 5 cyclone with 300km/hour winds and a dangerous storm surge is pure insanity. By choosing also to simply relocate from your house to a local emergency shelter does little to remove them from that path of danger.

Survivors of Cyclone Tracy in 1974 are weighing in commenting on this question of stay or go. They say if you were unfortunate enough to go through Tracy you sure wouldn’t be squatting in the path of Yasi ‘bunkering down’. You’d get out of there.

I have friends saying “The people of Innisfail should be in everybody’s prayers tonight.”

My response was “The people of Innisfail should be in Mackay tonight!

For those who stayed, may you and your family live to tell the tale and share your fear and new-found respect for mother nature. May your childrens’ fearful experience not traumatise them for life. May friends and neighbours rally together after this epic event to lighten the burden that follows. May you never again choose to stay, when you could go.

Our thoughts are with you.