Truth be told, we're exhausted. While it's easy to discuss how busy we are at work, the vacations taken over the summer, and which sports the kids are participating in this fall, it's not easy to talk about the stress, anxiety and guilt that surrounds our everyday existence as women. We want to experience it all!
As working moms, we feel more isolated than ever in the emotions we're dealing with. Though a sensitive topic, I am compelled to help women face it head on. As a working mom myself, in no way do I want to set women back to the 1950's. My intention is to foster a meaningful conversation among women that is long past due, and provide meaningful ideas and solutions to help us survive the demands of today.
As an entrepreneur, I've spent the last 20 years on stage as a professional speaker. I've been in front of over 250,000 women and in every rural and metro city in this great nation. It's not what happens on stage but the reactions I get after my talks that have inspired me to take a stand for women. Women who work full time at home and those who work full time outside the home are both working their tails off. Kids or no kids, single or married, young, mid-life or elderly, low-, middle- or high-income, I've found women are more alike than they are different.
While there are many challenges beyond these, here are the top seven that rise to the top in most conversations and more than likely in your own life:
1. We're Guilty, like ALL the time: If working outside the home, you feel incredible guilt due to your inability to be home with the kids, go to school or sporting events, field trips and more. If you are a full time mom working inside the home, you feel guilt over not having a job that produces a tangible pay check and that could provide a better financial quality of life for your family. There is also guilt over what working moms think of you and vice versa -- what you think of them.
2. We WORRY about EVERYTHING: There is never enough time in the day and no matter how hard you try, you will never get everything done. There is simply too much to do. Consider a single day in the life of a working mother: You rise early, feed the family breakfast, including cooking and cleaning it up, make school lunches, get kids off to school and yourself off to work, pour everything you have into your job which is typically 9-5, rush to gather kids from school or daycare, do homework, cook dinner, clean it up, bath and get the kids ready for bed, throw a load of laundry into the washer, shove clean clothes, unfolded into drawers, unload the dishwasher, check work emails, feed the pets, and fall into bed wondering where the day went. Looking over at your husband you feel incredible guilt as you've barely talked to him today and at this point all you want to do is sleep. "Maybe tomorrow", you think.
3. We're Letting our Health Slip: The daily dash is taking a tremendous toll on women's lives. The most shocking discovery I've made is the number of emails and conversations I've had with women who are fighting to live. From cancer, MS and diabetes, women are running through life until they run straight into a door that stops them dead in their tracks. This door sadly is not one of opportunity but to a new life of doctors, medicines, fear and regret. While many of these diseases are genetic, many are also the result of a chaotic lifestyle.
4. Our Work-Life Balance Looks Like a 2-year-old on a Balance Beam: A nice term, most women simply can't strike it. So busy living life, you don't have time to work ON your life and find ways to create balance.
5. Our love lives are on the Back Burner: Marriages are falling apart at an alarming rate, and when kids are involved it can mean years if not decades of turmoil for both men and women. While you may not act like the lack of connection in your marriage bothers you, I imagine it does. More than likely you feel incredible guilt and sadness over the distance in your relationship and long to experience the love that drew you to your partner in the first place.
6. We are in Constant Comparison Mode: With social media at the front of everything we do, people are feeling more insecure than ever. Just as no one takes photographs of unhappy moments, no one is going to post their crap online. Limit your time on social media and take it for what it is, people crafting the image they want you to see. Spend more time living your life than watching others live theirs.
7. We're Still Not Happy!: The end result is that people are not happy. While women have more opportunity than ever before, we are more unhappy than at any other time in history. You have the power to create happiness but that requires tough decisions, laser focus on your priorities and standing by them at all cost.
Trying to have IT all is taking everything that matters most to us as women -- it's breaking up families, creating undue financial pressure, stress, anxiety, and depression, and it's literally killing us. I advocate you stop trying to have IT all and focus on having YOUR all. Look within and figure out what matters most to you. Prioritize your life, set your goals around those priorities, and stand by them at all cost.
We can't lose hope. We need to take a stand both at work and home for an improved quality of life. Families must pull together and spread the work load and employers must address work life balance issues by offering more flextime, job sharing and work from home days (for both men and women). Women must also pull together and stop judging one others' lives. We should be our biggest advocates, eyes and ears for each other. Often, women are ashamed of asking for help from each other! We'd rather run ourselves ragged than ask a fellow Mom to pick up the cupcakes because of a late night meeting at the office.
While I imagine this piece will create lots of emotion, no conversation that is long past due is ever easy to have. So let's start talking about it. What are we going to do to bring change, to create balance and true happiness? Share your comments and let's start an honest conversation.
Written by Traci Bild -- Author, Speaker & Entrepreneur. Get a free Get Your Girl Back Dream Journal and revamp your life, filling the pages with the hopes and dreams you hold close to your heart. Simply email Tara@TraciBild.com. And put Dream Journal in the subject line.
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