“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” – A. A. Milne
“I am the person who notices we are running out of toilet paper,” Ellen Seidman began a poem for her blog, Love That Max, about the hats she wears in her household – worrier, organiser, rememberer and attention-payer. The poem was about the work she does involving thinking, a kind of mental labour that, she says, “enables our family to basically exist”.
She’s not the first person to notice. Back in 1996, sociologist Susan Walzer wrote of the household gender gap whereby women, even those who work full time, do the majority of what has come to be called the ‘second shift’ – the work that greets us when we come home from work.
In 2014, Dr Libby Weaver introduced us to the term ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’, based on the concept of being all the things for all the people all the time. We’re focused on empowering women to lead fulfilling work lives and, while that’s a wonderful thing, we’re still being expected to do all the ‘other’ things too.
It might just be time to practise ‘kindfulness’. Forgiving and nurturing yourself can set the stage for a number of benefits, including lower levels of anxiety and depression. That aside, it gives you time to curl up and read Metropol with a cup of tea and we’re all for that!
After all, women may be capable of doing everything, but does that mean we have to do everything?