Do you feel like you’re a high-wire acrobat sometimes? Funny question, is not right? But do you feel like you’re balancing on a tightrope while juggling milk bottles and trying to hula hoop at the same time?
Those milk bottles are like work, home, and motherhood. The plate you’re balancing? That would be your questionable grasp of reality, my dear. And the hula hooping is that performance you have to put on for the world. Do you think you just MIGHT need to reduce stress with all that you’re juggling?
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How to achieve work-life balance is one of the more frequent challenges that my clients face, particularly if they are business women and mothers. Depending on the age of the business and the age of the child or children in question, women entrepreneurs must overcome a number of issues to take care of business AND take care of themselves and their loved ones.
Why is work-life balance so vital? If you don’t have it, you don’t have joy in your life. If you don’t have work-life balance, then you don’t have health. And if you don’t have health, you’re basically poverty-stricken because good health is vital to having a successful and happy existence.
Women in business today are experiencing more and more stress and it is putting a strain on our families and personal relationships. Why are we particularly vulnerable as women? For one thing, before our foremothers entered the workforce in waves during and after World War I and II, our roles were very clearly defined—and limited.
Men brought home the bacon and women made sure it got cooked up in a clean pan; that was that. But we did enter the workforce, just like Rosie the Riveter said we could. Still we hurry and worry to get everything done.
Nowadays, women are still considered the managers on the domestic front. We’re typically still managing the household, making sure everybody gets their teeth cleaned, food on the table, homework gets done, and the repairman fixes that leaking toilet—You get the idea. We’re managing at home–still taking on the full role of domestic manager–but we’re also managing at work. Downtime is a foreign concept to us.
Managing at home AND at work and being “on” all the time is a recipe for a disaster. It’s not possible for women to keep our sanity and health while do all of the work at home and in our businesses.
It is no coincidence that in the United States, with so many women in the workforce, we have a 60% rate of divorce. The responsibilities we women must take care of are excessive.
How do we remedy this, given the state of the economy and the reality that most American households need two incomes to make ends meet? As a society, we need to get men more involved in all aspects of domestic management and parenting.
A collaborative approach to running our households and raising great kids is essential for our children as well as our spouses and partners who also benefit from being more involved and engaged.
We need to have—to use a Marxist term—a good division of labour in our households. That’s where we women often contribute to our own demise in that we will do something that someone else didn’t do–We will take it over or do it over if it wasn’t done well in the first place. And by doing this, we do OURSELVES in!
One of the first things we should do is scrape some of that extra stuff off our plates. I’d bet your plate is overloaded and on the verge of breaking. Before it breaks, hone, clear it off in some way, shapes, or form. STOP doing what other people should be doing. STOP taking up the slack for slackers at home and at work!
You need to stop juggling and put some stuff down. Smash those milk jugs (what a great pun, gals!), shatter that plate like you’ve just eaten din-din with Zorba, kick off that hula hoop, and kick back! You don’t have to perform for the world. Just be who you are to survive this circus called life. And practice what we talk about to reduce stress and have work-life balance rather than overload.