Drop the ball, break the chains, and become your own CEO
I was recently sent an article written by Gemma Hartley of Harper’s Bazaar magazine about the “emotional labor” that women seem to do a lot of compared to men. Emotional labor is, she says all the researching, thinking, and decision making that women have to do as household managers. This is what society expects of us and she’s tired of it, as are the other women she interviewed for the piece.
I would agree. Society expects us to shoulder all of this burden because “a woman’s place is in the home’. But increasingly we are being told that being a Stay At Home Mom is a luxury few can afford and so we should take on more and more of the bread-winning responsibility too. And we’re at breaking point.
Firstly I would say that our decision to work/not work should be a decision made within our families and none of society’s business. Stay at home mom … working mom ... entrepreneur mom … women who cannot/doesn’t want to become a mom…..all of these are choices that we and our partners if we have one should be making based on what is best for us and our situation. There should be no judgement from any one. Our children, if we have any, benefit from seeing that their parents make choices based on balancing all the different interests and creating the best overall outcome. All of these scenarios can be “proved” to be the best by research. Which proves that they are all good choices but have to take into account individual circumstances.
Enough with the judgement of another’s unseen situation.
So what would my advice to Ms. Hartley be?
First to read Tiffany Dufu’s “Drop the Ball”. In this book you will learn how to create a more balanced partnership where both sides know what their roles and responsibilities are and keep the other side informed of all that is going on so there are no surprises if one person is incapacitated for a short time by illness, deployment etc. This book also aims to end the gender inequality that society thrusts on us so that the partnership or marriage is a more fulfilling and more balanced one.
Second, I would say become CEO of your life. Understand that you don’t have to shoulder all the burden of running the home. And you certainly don’t have to do all the tasks yourself.
here are strategies you can use to reduce the emotional labor:
- Split the burden with your partner if you have one
- Delegate chores to the kids so they come to appreciate the home and the effort that goes into running it (and they can DO the tasks necessary) by the time they leave home
- Hire help. Hire on a temporary basis first so you can try out the help before committing to a long-term relationship.
- Let go of the need for everything to be done exactly the way you would do it. Decided what success looks like for each task and focus on that.
If you let things continue as they are even though you are not happy with the situation YOU are continuing the gender inequality that causes you so much pain and you are showing to your children that this is what they should expect too.
claim your role as CEO of you and shed the overwhelming stress of being a modern woman.