The dreaded second shift. Many women work all day and come home, only to continue working. So while women have made great strides in the workplace, I believe they have not made enough headway in the domestic sphere. A heavy domestic load does not allow many women to earn at their full potential! A housework study, published in Women Don’t Ask, by Linda Babcock, reported that full-time working women do over thirty hours of domestic work a week, while their male counterparts do about sixteen. Incredible! I believe strongly that it is time to look at matters of equality inside the home, if women truly want to make more money.
This is an issue for single as well as for married women. Many of us need to put extra energy into our careers. However, we come home to laundry, groceries that need buying, and homes that need cleaning. No wonder it’s hard to muster up the energy needed for our careers. It takes a lot of energy simply to run our lives.
The dilemma is that our energy and our time are finite. And if we want to truly earn at our potential, we may need more time and energy. Gone are the days when one person was the full-time worker and the other a full-time caregiver and supporter. Both men and women have to adjust. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to work full-time and come home to a home-cooked dinner? Of course! I don’t blame men or anyone else for wanting this. But for many people, those days are simply gone.
Women have focused for so long on other people that it is often difficult to focus on themselves and their careers. So women do the impossible: they work diligently in their careers and continue caring for all their family’s needs. The cost? Women’s stress levels are sky-high. It simply isn’t possible to do both at the level we often believe is demanded of us. Our health and our lives can’t sustain it.
If we have partners, it’s time to talk to them. I used to cook more. This was very convenient for my hardworking husband. But when my business expanded and my stress levels began skyrocketing, we talked. Is it convenient for him to have to cook more? No. But he does it. His career was not more important than mine, even if he was making more money than me.
I also used to pick my son up every day after school. But when I expanded my business, this was no longer possible. After dealing with motherly guilt, I put him in after-school care three days a week. He’s very happy there with his friends and gets his homework done as well, so we don’t have to do it in the evening. And guess what? My stress level dropped!
What else can you do? Let go of perfectionism. The sheets don’t get changed as frequently. My baseboards are dusty. (Sorry, Mom.) And the benefits of hiring a house cleaner usually far outweigh the costs. I also know many women who use meal services that allow them to freeze meals in their freezer for the whole week. My family has become connoisseurs of all things frozen. My value is that we eat together!
You get the idea. It’s time that we equalize the roles of the sexes in the home. If you are working full-time, regardless of how much money you are making, you should not be doing more domestic work than your partner. Talk about this. If you are single, brainstorm ways you can save time in your domestic life.
Remember, if you are trying to earn at your potential, it’s time to put a stop to visions of Superwoman. She is stressed, unhealthy, and doesn’t make great money—trust me.
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