For working U.S. mothers, American might be the land of the depressed.
A British survey of global happiness ranks Denmark as the happiest place on Earth. The U.S., in our endless quest to "have it all," came in a sad 23rd. And working Moms might be the unhappiest of all. According to a study by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, who compared the happiness of American and European women, American women don't like spending time with their children because, put quite simply, they try to do way too much each day, and it's bumming them out.
Let's face it, how can you enjoy a "tea party" with your daughter when your boss just texted you that he needs the reformatted Excel spreadsheet ASAP?
"Modern technology is definitely robbing us of quality time for ourselves and our loved ones," says Mom•Logic friend and psychotherapist Jill Spivack, We have to fight back or it will continue to take over our precious moments and lead us down a path to depression and despair." Here are Jill's tips on how to be "present" when we spend the precious little time we get with our kids.
Make a kid date, and stick to it: Make a commitment to being fully present with your kids at least twice a day for 30 minutes. During these times you'll need to turn off your phone, BlackBerry, computer, etc. and fully focus on your child.
Set work boundaries: Let friends or co-workers know that once 6 p.m. hits, your phone and computer are turned off until your child goes to bed. Insist on uninterrupted time with your child during these special times.
Get organized: Set up your schedule in a very organized way. Assign certain days and times for work, time to return emails/calls and time to focus on your kids, yourself and your marriage. You may have to make a color-coded schedule and once you do—stick to it! Set boundaries in writing, and when you're with your kids during focused time, pretend you don't even have a phone or BlackBerry!
Don't try to be a SuperMom: Watch your own overload. Moms try to be super-women these days and think if they can just run fast enough, all will be well. Try, as much as possible, to get rid of things that don't matter or overwhelm you. You may need to scale back on volunteering for every job at school or doing an extra project at work if it means you won't be able to focus enough on your children.
Make housework a family affair: Involve your kids in doing things around the house with you rather than doing it all yourself. If you can do chores together, it gives you time to accomplish a task and still spend quality time. Chores also help children feel a sense of responsibility and help them to feel like an important part of their family community.