Whether we like it or not, the single biggest obstacle between women and career success, is the overwhelming responsibility that most of them have on their shoulders. Women look after their families, their households, and many are facing the reality of looking after their elderly parents (1.2 million in the U.K. alone). Women don’t have time to shower, never mind finish payroll, put together sales proposals or travel extensively for business.
It is amazing that after 40 years of independence, women are still being overwhelmed by their daily lives. The question of course is why?
Our spouses, partners and families are perfectly capable of helping, so why is it still on our shoulders? Are they shirking their duties or are we still living with a superwoman dream? Do we still want to be Suzie Homemaker at home and Ms. Powersuit at the office?
It’s probably a combination of the two. Our families our more then happy to be waited on, while we want to be looked upon as nothing less than the most organized and resourceful woman in the world. This is completely unhealthy though and is destroying us on physical, mental, emotional and professional levels. It’s time to start taking real steps to gain real control of our lives.
Step 1: Realize that you can’t do everything yourself.
I realize that this is probably the hardest step to take, but it’s o.k., that’s why there’s more people on the earth besides you, so they can help out. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it wasn’t built by one Empress. It’s time for a family meeting, where you can tell everyone exactly what you need, to make your life easier. This is going to be a big change for all involved, but it’s time to make it clear that things are going to change, why they’re going to change, and what everyone is going to do about it.
Step 2: You’ll Actually Need to Verbalize the Requests
I know that we often expect the men in our lives to read out minds, but science has shown that they do not have telepathic abilities yet. You will actually have to say: “Can you pick the kids up from soccer, I’m busy.” Surprisingly, if you put a note in their palm pilot, they’ll usually show up at the field on time, and everyone will make it home safe, without you.
Step 3: Realize that nobody’s house looks like Martha Stewart’s, except Martha Stewart
The world is not going to end if you leave the house and there are dishes in the sink. Your children are not going to die of malnutrition if they eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches for supper. Stop feeling so guilty.
I realize that our mothers and grandmothers had floors that you could eat off of – but is that really necessary? Are you ever going to eat off the floor? Why’d you spend $2 grand on that dining room table? And let’s not forget the five second rule, you’re always covered by the five second rule.
Your family should be more worried as to whether or not you’ve had 15 minutes to rest in a day, then if there are clean socks for the morning. It’s not illegal for a 12 year old boy to wear the same pair of socks for two days; in fact, he’s probably doing it anyways.
Step 4: Realize that your children have hands.
Did you know that children who are raised on farms, get up at 5:00 a.m. to do chores, before they go to school? And do you know what – they actually survive! I haven’t heard of a rush of farm children, running to the psychiatrist’s office, because they had to do some manual labour.
I’m not saying to hire your children out as farm labourers, but I am reminding you that they are perfectly capable of folding some laundry and washing the dishes. Realistically, helping around the house will turn them into adults who can actually look after themselves. Their future partners will thank you.