Working women and how we manage our days are subjects that can inspire thousands to take to their computer. I can shed a universal truth with you – we are tired. No matter when they came through, women of all types and ages and ranges are simply pooped.
Let it be noted, men are too and we all do too much. But I dare say there has never been a time in history where so much is expected out of us females. As a Mom to three girls (one daughter and two step-daughters) I try to paint the reality for them that they will soon face – it’s their journey and it’s their job to balance for themselves. Many of us fail miserably at this, I can’t think of one friend, relative or neighbor that is in perfect ‘balance’.
DISCLAIMER: reference ‘balance’, someone who is content and comfortable with where she is and what she does and how she handles ALL things.
It feels as if there is this quiet expectation set to do it all – not just work and be a Mom but it feels larger than that – as if we are supposed to be like ‘Elizabeth Dole or Hillary Clinton’ (I play no favor to which side of the isle you sit on) creating powerful careers and really making a difference,
‘Martha Stewart’ with homemade goodies and baskets of fresh flowers strewn about the house (the same house that offers incredibly organized and well groomed cabinets and shelves), a Victoria Secret’s model with a curvy body, and even after giving birth to several children, the all important abs of steel and triceps of stone, a PTA Mom that never forgets to sign a report or volunteer for a quick hour or two when needed (and nurtured personal relationships with teachers to help usher her children through school appropriately) and a great entertainer, well put together, pretty much happy and smiling all the time.
That being said I will share that I think we are the hardest on ourselves. I would bet most households (including spouse and children) would be totally cool if we scaled back on the expectations, and were ok to just say ‘I just can’t’ or ‘not sure I need to do that’ and really look inside with who we are and where we sit.
It’s such a tough balancing act. I wonder about the struggles of our ancestors, the women who worried about feeding and clothing their children, or guarding against free flowing disease and illness that captured so many so quickly.
It all goes back to what is important and how to define our priorities.
Thanks to Mr. Maslow, we would start with the basics of food, security and safety and work up from there. Now that we do indeed have our freedoms, the journey is back on us and we need to figure this out without taking on guilt and shame and remorse.
And we need to stop judging. Someone mentioned to me last week that they couldn’t get over how poorly a friend kept house and were buzzing about it a bit, as this particular Mom doesn’t work full time.
My gut level response is, who the heck cares? The role we play to support each other should be just that – to support each other and not to compare, contrast and pull each other apart in our assessment of who is doing what and how we stack up. Silliness.
It seems perspective is always my best friend. How about the fact that as women, living in today’s world, we have these freedoms? And may I note, many still do not as hard as that it is to believe. It’s tough for today’s environment offers a new set of challenges to face. Maybe the real answer is learning how to manage all of this while shifting priorities and responsibilities around. What worked before doesn’t work now.
Things are moving, changing and we are growing. How wonderful. How scary. To help myself out, I made a little chart that provides insight into my decisions. Listed on the left are expectations, unspoken as well as my personal expectations (which may or may not align with yours) and then I added criteria of ‘How I stack up’ and lastly how much priority I give the expectations.
|Expectations||How I stack up||Priority|
|Elizabeth Dole or Hillary Clinton|
|Victoria Secret Model|
|HAPPY all the time!|
|Wife – Supportive spouse, loving, honest|
|Mom – Nurturing, teaching, guiding|
|Sis/Daughter – Helpful, considerate family member|
|Friend – Generous and thoughtful|
|Professional – Hard working, dedicated, striving to grow|
Wow. I realized that my assessment changes daily in terms of how I stack up. So it’s not bad, or good, or tough, or easy. It’s simply life.
Feeling better already, I am going to print this out and put it in my ‘personal items’ folder that includes goals, affirmations, etc. as a reminder that we all change and adjust priorities as needed, and personally, I consider this to be in balance. After all, we all show up every day and do the best that we can. That in itself should be recognized. And embraced. A hug to you.