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Ask Lisi: Mental load makes it impossible for moms to relax

Many women feel the weight of the world (by which I mean, the everyday workings of their families) on their shoulders constantly.
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher.

Dear Lisi: Recently, I was sent on a work trip. I think they wanted to impress me as I’m new to the company, so they put me up in a very nice hotel. The last day ended much earlier than anticipated, so I decided to treat myself to a few hours at the spa. I had been very anxious about this trip, as I wanted to impress my new colleagues, and I was feeling the effects of the stress on my body.

While flitting between the hot tub, sauna and steam, I met a few other women and we had some nice chats. One woman was on vacation from Europe with her husband and two children; another was on a work trip with some free time; and another lived in the city but had been given a visit to the spa as a gift and just happened to be using it that day.

As we all breathed and tried to relax, that woman admitted that though she was there to clear her mind, all she could think about was what she was going to make for dinner later that night for her family. The rest of us laughed but admitted that we, too, were thinking about similar issues: dinner, grocery shopping, school lunches and making lists in our heads.

Why can’t we women relax???

Worldly women

It’s so true that many women feel the weight of the world (by which I mean, the everyday workings of their families) on their shoulders constantly. Part of it is how we were raised, part of it is how we view our place in our relationship/marriage/home/career, and part of it is self-imposed.

Some women thrive on the multi-faceted life of a career woman with children; while others feel overburdened, underappreciated and completely out of balance.

What’s important is to figure out what works for you…. and what doesn’t. And then get the rest of your family on board. For example, if working on a Thursday conflicts with your kid’s soccer schedule, doubtful your employer will be understanding and let you have the day off. Instead, you need to lean in to your family and community and find someone to help with carpooling.

In my opinion, the tricky bit is that for every child, in every season, the schedule changes. So once you seem to hit your stride, soccer Thursday switches to hockey Tuesday and you must figure it out all over again.

So, how can women relax? Plan ahead! Going away for a few days but know that you’re coming home to an empty fridge? Order grocery delivery for the day you return. Taking a day to yourself? Buy a frozen pizza or premade lasagna ahead of time and ask your partner to pop it in the oven.

Finally, remind yourselves of this: no matter how organized you are, sometimes you just have to let it go. No one will go hungry if you’re off your game for a day. RELAX!

FEEDBACK Regarding the scared mom (April 9):

Reader 1 – “It doesn’t matter what the laws are re Sea-Doos. I have had one.

“She is talking about her husband’s behaviour. When an adult enjoys a Sea-Doo alone, that person can go fast, take risks, fall off and get back on.

“When an adult takes a child for a ride, they should go more slowly and not plan on having the child fall off into the water unless they are old enough to want to experience this and capable of getting back on, in the water, which takes a lot of strength.

“As for the motorcycle, if she does not want her children on the motorcycle, he should respect her wishes. Period.”

Reader 2 – “I don’t agree with your response. You should have addressed the fact that perhaps ‘Scared Mom’ is just that. She’s being an overprotective parent. Children of overprotective parents have low self-esteem and are less resilient.

“Not to mention all the fun they are missing out on.”

Signed: a Harley-riding grandma who took her granddaughter and great-granddaughter riding and snowmobiling

Reader 3 – “Taking kids on a motorcycle, Sea-Doo or Ski-Doo is perfectly fine and legal if they can reach the footrests.

“I take it by the writer’s description, the children are of an age that they probably can. There is nothing wrong with that. Some children ride motorcycles at much younger ages by themselves, so what is the difference?

“Being a concerned person is one thing, but when your anxiety overrides common sense and turns you into a helicopter parent it’s totally different.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected]