A mother may praise her child and try to impart self-esteem, but if hers is low, inevitably, it will be revealed in her behavior, and children learn most by emulation.
Balance is an ongoing struggle for women. As individuals, as caregivers, and as earners and professionals, finding balance between our masculine and feminine sides, between the spiritual and material, between work and family, and between personal needs and those of our employers, children, parents, and partners requires self-esteem and autonomy, not to mention time, which there is always too little of. Rather than acknowledging how much they achieve, women typically are self-critical that they are not accomplishing enough at work, as mothers, homemakers, daughters, or in their personal endeavors. They feel guilty when they don’t meet their own and other’s expectations. The fact is there isn’t enough time and energy to go around, but how we think about it and allocate our resources makes all the difference.
Women are used to stress – caring for children while cooking, cleaning, and talking on the phone. Working moms have added stress and it’s a greater challenge for them to make time for themselves. According to the latest census, 55 percent of mothers (63 percent of college-educated moms) with infants work. Of mothers under the age of 45 without infants, 72 percent are in the workforce. When I returned home to my children after a stressful day practicing law, I’d park my car outside my house to meditate for ten minutes before going inside. This allowed me time to get centered and transition to parenting. Self-esteem enables women to practice self-care and to balance these competing demands, reducing stress and allowing them to be present to loved ones and any task at hand.
Setting boundaries is vital to reducing stress and finding balance. Women are plagued with the dilemma of feeling guilty when they say “no” or resentful when they don’t. They fear loss of the relationship or…