I recently read an article on LinkedIn about women having an affair with their career/work. I spoke with a wise and trusted colleague about this subject and she said to me, “I think that women have to be connected to their passion whether that is work outside the home, their kids, their hobby, etc. I think we are made with that void around fulfillment and I know women who have been momaholics and are really struggling with their purpose now that their kids are gone.” I sat there after that comment and thought, “Oh my word, it’s true and why isn’t anyone talking about this?
There aren’t just women workaholics, there are also momaholics. Momaholics are in the same boat as women who work out of the home, and it’s no different. Once the kids leave they are thrown for a loop just like when a woman decides she will no longer be married to her career.
Why are women who are in out-of-home careers scolded as workaholics but women who choose to be stay-at-home moms and end up being momaholics aren’t ever talked about?
I have been in both seasons of life and I’ve learned a lot of challenging but empowering lessons about myself and I am going to say it, “Being a momaholic is certainly just as dangerous as being a workaholic.” We should be talking about this and helping each other out as women.
Before I begin, I’d like to point out that this is not a rant or put down to either parties. Women who choose to be in their careers and women who choose to be stay at home moms are both champions to me, BUT … both of those roles hold unhealthy dangers that should be discussed. With that being said, I do not think that EVERY woman in their career are workaholics, nor do I think that EVERY woman who is a stay at home mom is a momaholic.
A workaholic is a person who is addicted to work, a person who compulsively works hard and long hours. Being committed to and passionate about your job are good qualities, but there’s a distinction between having a strong work ethic and being a workaholic.
Let’s examine that in the form of a momaholic and look at 6 signs that you may be one.
1. You don’t have any non-kid related hobbies.
When you’re asked what you like to do for fun, you reply with “I like to read.” But the last book you read was “Goodnight Moon”. You say, “I like to Pin things on Pinterest.” Um … but what you mean is, pinning kid party ideas, a new recipe that is kid friendly, or a diy on kid decor, etc. Try to “create” some hobbies that don’t involve what you do from kid o’clock time to kid o’clock time. You support and nurture your child’s passions and hobbies that are distinctly about them and not you. You should support and nurture your own too, and let them see that you have other interests that don’t pertain to them and lead the way in that example.
2. You get stressed or anxious when you’re not being a mom.
Feeling stressed as a mom is normal— but you should be concerned if the source of your stress or anxiety is when you are on a date or out with friends and you’re not being a mom. Relax, realize, and embrace that the world will not end or get turned upside down just because you aren’t “momming” and instead you’re being a “wife on a date”, or a “girlfriend on a GNO”. Also, try not to talk about “kids”, or at least put a time limit on kid talk. You have other valid and interesting thoughts within you. I’m pretty sure your kids don’t talk about you all day to every person they come into contact with, or bring you up in conversation randomly.
3. You micromanage your home, marriage, kids, friends, family members, and yourself.
It’s impossible to do all the work required to be a mom alone. Learn to delegate and then let your husband, friends, and family members be given the task at hand and let them carry it out while you walk away from it. Momaholics tend to not be team players because they think they can do it the best or on their own. Ask for help, delegate some things, stop being so controlling. You have taught your child to always ask for help, you should do the same. Asking for help does not make you weak, it does not make you turn in your supermom cape, and it sets an example to your children that it’s really okay to ask for help. If we are being raw, even Jesus asked for help in the book of Mark.
4. You rarely say “Yes!” to non-kid events.
If your standard-issue excuse for missing happy hour, adult birthday parties, GNO’s, or date night with your man, is always “I can’t because of the kids,” or something along those lines, then your long-suffering friends/man/family members will eventually stop asking. If you hear people say to you, “I never see you anymore,” or “You’re always busy with the kids,” then it might be time to pay attention. Momaholics always get feedback from people in their lives , but they often ignore it. Read #3 again to help with this situation.
5. Your mind is in “home/kid mode” even when you aren’t home or with the kids.
Be on guard if your mind constantly wanders to “kid mode” when it should be engaged in what you are doing. A momaholic can get so preoccupied with “momming” that they’re not present in the moment of what’s actually going on around them. Follow the lead of your children, they live in the present. As adults we tend to loose the childlike sense of life. We shouldn’t abandon all responsibilities, but we can learn a lot from children and be more like them when it comes to being fully present in the moment.
6. You don’t ever call yourself a “momaholic”.
True momaholics don’t have this word in their vocabulary. The moms who tease and joke about being momaholics rarely are. Momaholics are like workaholics in that they are in denial that they have a problem. It’s often a need to escape from something within themselves that they’re not aware of.
Bottom line, self-awareness and balance are key. We all have a seat with our name monogrammed on it on the struggle bus of life, but we don’t have stay in that seat. Take a step to get your momaholic tendencies in check and you’ll be a better woman for it.
Relinquishing control is as rewarding and as powerful as taking control.