Why Efficiency is So Hard for Moms

efficiency good enough mom patriarchy socialization May 26, 2023
Family in Focus with Wendy Schofer, MD Episode #91: Why Efficiency is So Hard for Moms, with 4 lines of tab icons from web browsers

It’s freaking hard to raise kids right now. Juggling work, school support, health including movement and eating and oh yeah, electronics… and then just wanting to find time to be yourself, with your kids and by yourself.


Let’s first acknowledge:

There’s a lot on our plates as parents, and mom’s, I’m looking directly at you.


You see, while men have been truly stepping up and breaking social norms about being the “second” parent, there is a long way for us to go in sharing what I can only describe as the mental burden of motherhood.


On the list:

All the things that we are telling ourselves it needs to look like to call ourselves a good mom.


I’ve found that dads tend to believe they are a good dad with a bit more ease. We have so many more hoops to jump through, whether it is something we have created, or more likely, a part of our socialization.


Socialization is all of the rules that we have taken on for what it needs to look like:

To be a mom

A wife

A partner





A woman


Ever feel like you’re trapped? It’s often because of the rules of socialization.


So let’s call them out: List the rules of the game. 

What is your job as a parent? What are your obligations?


List them.


Now check something…


Who are those obligations to?

Your children?

Your partner?



What about yourself?


We are losing ourselves as we try to fit the mold according to socialization’s rules.

There is nothing efficient about this list. It’s exhaustive and exhausting.


Instead, ask yourself:

What is true to you?

What do you want?

If no one was telling you what to do (including yourself), what would you do?


Most often, the answer is REST.


Take a break. Time off. Vacation. Sleep.


That’s because of all the BS on our plates.


Your challenge: look at the list of obligations - and pick out one. Which one can you experiment with this week? How? Is it just not doing it? Half-assing it? Delegating to someone else?


My favorite convo with my husband: he shared a recent chat with folks about how he is so freaking efficient. And truthfully, he is amazing. He gets shit done like no one else. But I kept thinking, his four “keys” to efficiency as a leader miss something that a lot of single parents and moms and quite honestly even other married men don’t have:




That’s not being self-centered. It’s the truth. I’m the Ace in his pocket.


And he went back to one of his 4 points: find people you trust and delegate to them. He trusts me to take care of the family stuff, the household stuff.




Hold the freaking phone. The secret to his success is because he has delegated all of the family mental burden to me?!?


This is the most eye-opening, honest appraisal of the difference between socialization of men and women.


Yes, he can teach leaders that this is how things are done. It clearly works for him. And I will admit that parts of it have worked for me because carrying the mental burden was a part of what I thought it needed to look like for me to be a good mom and wife…. For far too many years I believed that. And that’s why I was harried and exhausted and contributed to my multiple-episodes of burnout.


Looking back to me in the past, even looking at right now, I notice all the things that I took on because I thought that was the way I was supposed to do it. To be good, enough, to set my family up for success.


Join me in questioning this BS. What works for him doesn’t necessarily work for me, nor will it work for others who are learning how to be more efficient. In family life, we do need to find how we can divide and conquer, but also come together, question all of the BS burden that has just been layered upon us, check in with each other, ask what is true to you, what do you need?


I love this man. Our marriage is thriving. I’m getting over the shock of the honest-to-goodness truth that he shared with me. And seeing that there are many levels of truth here. I am having compassion for the younger version of me who just thought I was doing it wrong all the time, as I couldn’t keep all the plates spinning at once. I am whispering back to her, “You don’t need to, Hon. They aren’t yours.” I’m asking what I want to delegate, what I want to just drop, and what I don’t want to consider taking on going forward.


What about you?

Much love.

Check out the Family in Focus with Wendy Schofer, MD Podcast!

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