Why We Must Stop Looking Up to Superwoman

As the year comes to a close, it’s hard not to go into superwoman mode. Often, this is when work-life balance goes out of the window as we tie up loose ends at work, shop for gifts, plan holiday meals, juggle various household responsibilities and plan for next year.  Whatever it is you need to do, try not to overdo it. In that vein, we shared a post with Adore Them about why we need to stop looking up to Superwoman. Remember: this is the time of year to wind down, restore, and reenergize for the new year!

Originally Published on Adore Them

I understand how superwoman came into our society. In the ’60s, women had to demonstrate that they could do it all. Such as having babies, raising children, running a household AND holding a paying job outside of the home – in order to be taken seriously. Our foremothers needed to juggle it all. And juggle it well to earn us the seats we sit in today in factories, offices and boardrooms across America. Work-life balance falls to the background when we’re making crucial changes in our culture.

But what has continuing the superwoman persona cost us? Today, with laptops, WiFi and remote access, we seem to work non-stop. So much so that our health, family life and even our careers are all suffering.

SO HOW CAN WE RECLAIM SOME SEMBLANCE OF WORK-LIFE BALANCE?

TAKE A WEEKLONG VIEW

Some days it is all about work and it can be upsetting, especially when you come home and the kids talk about all the fun things they did with the sitter that day. Instead, look at the week to see where you can carve out some “life” time to achieve some balance during the week.

Before, I would see emails come in late at night or on the weekends and felt like I needed to drop everything and respond. Now, I realize that I can set reasonable expectations and healthy boundaries. Understanding that sometimes my personal life takes priority and sometimes my professional life takes priority has been transformative.

SCHEDULE “LIFE” TIME

Up to even the 1980’s, managers would physically lock the main office doors at a certain time, forcing people out of the office to do other things in their lives. This allowed parents to spend time with their children, work on a hobby and finish household chores. Unfortunately, no one is forcing us off our devices, or even out of the offices these days. Like every important meeting in our lives, we need to schedule in “life” time. Treat gym time, date night, and even quality time with your children, as you would an offsite appointment or client meeting. Put them into your calendar as mandatory meetings so that you won’t be double booked!

LET A FEW BALLS DROP

This was one of the best pieces of advice that I heard from a female senior executive. It’s one of my favorites because she gave all the women (and men) in the audience permission not to do it all! Her exact advice was “every day, I decide which balls I need to keep up in the air and let the rest drop.”

LET IT GO OR DELEGATE

If one of the balls you need to drop is laundry, chances are you’ll be running out of clean clothes or money (to buy new clothes) soon. For those chores like laundry, cleaning or cooking that are essential to keeping a home running, delegate it either to a professional business like the local laundromat or hire a part-time housekeeper.

TALK ABOUT PRIORITIES AS A FAMILY

Whether it’s between a couple, or a family with school-aged children, it’s important to talk about what’s on everyone’s plate for the upcoming week, month, or school year. This gives each family member a chance to say what is and isn’t important to him or her. For example, I tell the kids I can only go on one school trip with them this year. They get to choose which school trip (also can be other activities like performance, sport meets, etc.) they want me and/or my husband to join. This also works well for the parents to let kids know if they have an important meeting coming up and will need to focus on work for a particular period of time.

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