At least 50 percent of women say they don't have enough free time and 60 percent feel guilty for spending what little time they do have on themselves, according to a survey published in the March issue of Real Simple magazine.
Between motherhood and work, it is crucial that busy women also take time out for themselves, says wellness coach Saniel Bonder.
"Putting things into a new perspective and realizing that a really good mother and home manager - or a mother who works outside the home - can't be chronically tired and cranky is a first step to achieving a healthy balance between a mom and her to-do list," he says.
He offers tips for managing a mother's to-do list:
- Make "me time" a priority every day. Set aside 5 to 10 inviolable minutes for triaging your day's to-do list - early on, when you aren't already overwhelmed.
- Serve everyone notice. Let your family, friends and others who depend on you know that for everyone's sake, you are going to take better care of yourself and you're not going to try to be Superwoman any more.
- Ruthless ranking. Rank each item 1, 2 or 3 in order of real importance. Make sure your priority is only the most important, and that you actually can do it.
- Talk back to your inner critic. Do this out loud; shout it if you need to! Just say "no," a lot, to that fault-finding perfectionist in your head. You're right. It's wrong!
"Sustainability begins at home, and the true hearth of most homes today is the mother's well-being," Bonder says. "Your children need to learn this from how you live, not just what you tell them."
Bonder is a Harvard University graduate and author of the new science-fiction novel, "Ultimaya 1.0."