Guest Piece By: Grace Derocha, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
When combined, the average salary of each job a working mom typically does at home would equate to an income of more than $65,000 a year. For a stay-at-home mom, that salary would look more like $119,000. In fact, recent studies show women in America are nearly twice as stressed as men and mothers in general are more stressed and fatigued than their male partners. Despite the notion that chocolate and flowers make the best Mother’s Day gifts, celebrating mom can be as simple as easing her everyday workload.
- Take Something Off Her Plate
Mothers spend more than two hours a day doing household activities. Observe her daily routine to determine if other family members can take on one (or some) of her normal tasks. That may mean helping each other get out the door in the morning, caring for pets, doing the dishes or folding the laundry. By dividing basic household duties among the family, mom will have more time and less worry.
- Get to Know Her Schedule
It’s no secret that a mom’s agenda can fill quickly with random appointments, errands and obligations. Ensure the family is up to speed on her to-dos by creating a calendar that marks events at work and home. When it’s obvious she has a long or busy day ahead, work together to take care of tasks that she may have less time to accomplish. This approach keeps everyone in the family accountable for remembering doctor and dentist appointments, haircuts, bill payments and school or sporting events.
- Make Family Plans
A positive, well-planned vacation can help to recharge and de-stress everyone in the family. Instead of waiting for mom to suggest a family excursion, surprise her by arranging a trip or outing where she can relax and take a break from being the family planner. Weekly traditions, such as a family bowling night or even family board games, can be just as valuable and give everyone a chance to get their mind off a busy or stressful week.
- Arrange School Needs
Handling the many academic needs of children in grades K-8 can be overwhelming. If mom tends to take control of school demands, it may be helpful to share the load by printing a calendar and setting reminders to keep track of events. This way, mom and dad can alternate between chaperoning, lunch-making, homework-help, volunteering and signing permission slips.
- Meal Plan Together
The question most moms, regardless of how busy they are, hear on a regular basis is, “What’s for dinner?” Believe it or not, meal planning as a family makes for a great Mother’s Day surprise and can be more beneficial than letting one person handle the menu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares that meal planning has the potential to improve family dynamics, promote better eating habits and save money.
- Plan Date Nights
When couples prioritize time together at least once a week, it has been shown to improve
communication, intimacy and help both partners de-stress. For Mother’s Day, plan a special night involving an activity or event that allows her to unwind and feel pampered. Arrange for a babysitter, make reservations at a nearby restaurant and execute the date from start to finish. Planning date nights with children also allows for one-on-one quality time to enjoy an activity together and can serve as another great surprise for mom.
- Let Mom Relax
Because moms tend to put the families’ needs above their own, personal time can fall by the wayside. As a family, assert that she takes time to see friends, hit the gym, visit the spa and enjoys some alone time on a regular basis. When personal care becomes a priority, a mom’s mental, physical and emotional well-being improves.
Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.