2020 may be a new year, a new start for most of the country, but for Boca moms, our minds (and bodies) haven’t stopped moving since Halloween! There is no “new beginning.” There is no end! There is just survival most of the time when you’re raising a busy family. Add work, finances, health and social commitments to the mix and it can be utterly overwhelming. But we love our kids!
Local stereotypes often pin the “Boca mom” as an athleisure-wearing, Range Rover-driving, school volunteering “lady who lunches”. But as I’ve recently learned (or rather, confirmed), it couldn’t be further from the truth…at least the “lady who lunches” part. And despite wanting to be organized, amazing, loving and present parents, we have a lot weighing on our minds as we enter 2020. Let’s discuss…
Whether you’re a stay-at-home or a working mom, the issue of burnout is universal. Moms appear to be incredibly stressed from their seemingly endless responsibilities and the pressure they feel all around them. Living in Boca Raton, there are many opportunities for success–it is an ideal place to raise a family, after all. Many even say, it’s “the best!”
According to local family therapist Lori Lundin-Fish, PhD, LMFT of Palm Beach Therapy Center, “The mentality of maintaining this ‘level of perfection’ welcomes unnecessary pressure, comparison, and unrealistic expectations for moms. Not to mention their spouses/partners and children. Parents often feel like there is always more that can be done to meet that goal”.
And while this mindset can sometimes feel motivating, it can also lead to feelings of doubt and guilt. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself questioning: “Am I enough?” “Am I doing enough?” “Do my children have enough?”
Spoiler alert: YOU ARE. THEY DO. I resolve to remind myself of this more in 2020.
Finances appear to be a common cause of stress among moms, as the cost of living in Boca Raton seems to continue to increase. In many homes, either one or both parents are expected to work and support the household bills and expenses. This means more time away from your family, more time away from your children, and more time away from meaningful connections that typically bring about joy and contentment.
“In order to sustain a comfortable lifestyle, it seems as though many families are forced to continue to ‘pour from an empty glass,’ or ‘keep it moving’ despite feelings of exhaustion, which is really unfortunate,” explained Dr. Lundin-Fish.
Of course, not all families raise their children this way. Many are able to sustain their households with a single income. Yet, having the primary responsibility of caring for the kids can also feel debilitating and isolating. According to Dr. Lundin-Fish, “Staying home on a consistent basis can often increase anxiety and loneliness, once again, leading to burnout and sometimes unnecessary resentment within a marriage or partnership”.
This is where a solid family budget and weekly glass of wine with your mom friend(s) comes in really handy. I also resolve to do more of this in 2020.
When it comes to saving time, my scheduled workout is always the first thing to get deleted from the calendar. I know I’m not alone here and I always feel guilty about it.
Dr. Lundin-Fish reminded me, “Many moms fail to realize that in taking care of themselves, they are also taking care of their families. When mom feels re-energized and happy, she has the ability to be fully present with her children, engage in deep and purposeful conversations with her partner, and develop the confidence and skills to effectively manage conflicts that may arise.”
Creating the smallest change in your routine, such as going for a nature walk, or trying a new restaurant can completely alter your mindset in a positive way.
An added bonus, in setting the standard and modeling proper self-care, mothers are simultaneously teaching their children how to appropriately respond to life stressors and relationships-skills. These are experiences that are invaluable when it comes to raising children.
So many thoughts
If I’ve learned anything during the past six years of being a mom, it’s that it can be challenging. But, Dr. Lundin-Fish emphasizes, “Challenges do not define you! They have the ability to strengthen you and inspire you to become the person and mom you had always envisioned. Be mindful of your fears and how they can impact your life. Once you are able to alter your mindset, you may notice that the issues you had been experiencing will naturally dissipate”.
And that’s solid advice we Boca moms can take into 2020 and beyond.