I Am WomanNov 30, 2022
As women, society has groomed us to believe that we must do it all.
First off - WHO MADE THIS RULE?!?!
I want you to think back to your childhood for just a moment. Who was the female figure in your life? Was it your mom, a close aunt or sister, or perhaps your grandmother or step-mom? Regardless, there is someone in your life who was influential in forming your beliefs about what it means to “be a woman”.
If you’re reading this in 2022, then chances are your mother was a stay-at-home mom. Men were the primary breadwinners of the household, and mom assumed the full-time duties of keeping up the house, cooking meals, and spending the majority of time with the children, and was expected also to keep herself up physically. Nothing wrong with any of this, just highlighting a common societal norm.
Fast forward to today, when women have achieved recognized equality in many areas, including voting and holding high-level jobs in medicine, government, research, politics, and sometimes becoming the breadwinner of the family. Breadwinner or not, this is a lot of responsibility. But is it too much?
Here's where I insert my unwarranted (yet important) advice: You don’t have to do it ALL. If you’re expected to be fully present at work, come home and prepare dinner for your husband and children, clean the dishes, do the laundry, get your workout in, volunteer at church, and make your mother-in-law’s monthly book club - chances are you’re overloading your plate. Let me say that again, YOU are overloading your plate. This means it’s a conscious decision by you to be overwhelmed. Although it may not directly be obvious, you have brought it upon yourself.
Let’s unpack that and allow me to stir the pot a bit more, or at least get your wheels turning:
- If you have a job, you are expected to be fully present for that. But, if you are stressed at your job because it’s negatively impacting your home life, is it worth it? You must weigh the pros and cons here. Be honest with yourself.
- You chose to be married and to have a family, so you should be supportive of them. But what does this look like? If you are working full-time, is it expected of you to cook, clean and do laundry, pick up and drop off the kids, or is it “just the way it’s always been”? Perhaps, your female role model maintained the home in this way, but did not also have an 8-5 job. So be sure your responsibilities fit YOUR lifestyle, YOUR marriage, and are the best use of YOUR time. Maybe your husband would like to do the dishes! Okay maybe not, but I’ll bet if by helping you it frees up more time for you to spend with him, he’d be willing ;)
- Physical health is extremely important and should not be compromised. Don’t choose this area to skimp. Get that workout in, whether it’s running, weightlifting, yoga, or walking. Listen to your body. Remember, if you’re not currently exercising, you’ll never feel worse than you do today. So get moving. Your body thanks you for doing this. It also gives back by beginning to crave foods that nourish it rather than deplete it. Movement does more than help you lose weight. It preserves mental health, gets the lymphatic system moving, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, digestion, and much more! Use consistent movement to your advantage. Physical activity is one of those areas that when executed intentionally moves the needle a long way.
- Volunteering. This can actually be very healing. There are few things more valuable than your time. So when you give it to someone or something, there is a sense of fulfillment for you, as well as gratitude from the recipient. I recommend volunteering at least once a year. Pick something you’re passionate about and have fun with it!
- Your mother-in-law’s monthly book club. Well, as fun as that sounds (or maybe important for family dynamics), once a month for anything can be a lot. If any frequently recurring obligation stresses you out, ask yourself this: Do I like doing this or do the benefits outweigh the risks? Or…is this an area where perhaps I should do some pruning?
To be clear, you don’t have to unsubscribe completely, instead of committing monthly, try once every two months. You may be surprised how much time this gives you back :)
The moral of the story? If your schedule is overwhelming you to the point where it robs you of your joy, distracts you from your family, and leaves you feeling unfulfilled, anxious, depressed, or under-rested - then you need to reassess. Now.
Please remember that you cannot make time, so you must take it.
My challenge for you this week - take a look at your daily routine and schedule - trim out the activities that do not serve you.
Until next time my friend, Stay Refined!