Playdates, meetings, cooking, counselling, caring. The life of a woman can be challenging and full, to say the least. For many of us, ‘wearing many hats’ comes naturally, but it can become difficult when we try to wear all our hats all at the same time.
Why do we do this? Sure, society puts excessive amounts of pressure on women to be everything to everyone. To be the world’s best multitaskers and to successfully (and obviously gracefully) juggle everything. That's all so unrealistic and unfair. In reality, to be ‘successful’ in the eyes of the world is something completely different to what success looks like in the life of each individual.
What do you classify as being a ‘successful’ woman? How has success been defined in your life? Are there people in your world who have expectations that you feel you’ll never be able to live up to? You’re definitely not alone. It can be frustrating and overwhelming having to fill so many roles as a woman and often times we can’t help but feel like we’re failing - dropping balls all over the place.
As, for example, a married woman with children, you’re wearing your mommy hat and wife hat 24/7, there’s no getting away from that. Add to that some more multitasking such as running everyday errands, being a work professional, and perhaps caring for an elderly relative or neighbour, and you’ve got your hands and brain full of worries by the time you go to bed at night.
Interesting enough, according to modern research, the term ‘multitasking’ is a misnomer. Multitasking is actually time-sharing or task-switching and, instead of increasing productivity, switching between tasks often leads to confused, frustrated, burned out people with impaired cognitive abilities and increased stress levels.
A major European study covering over 30 countries with a combined population of 514 million people in 2014, reported that depression in middle-aged women had doubled in 40 years because of pressures of juggling work life and family responsibilities. Women between the ages of 25 and 40 were three to four times more likely to become depressed than men. What an eye-opening statistic…
And lest not forget the grandmothers and great aunts… Even in their golden years, women continue to don the hats as providers, prayer warriors, caretakers, friends and mentors, while fighting through different (albeit not less challenging) everyday battles.
There’s a difference between trying to be everything to everyone and being all you - bringing all your unique strengths as a woman to different situations and areas of life. The secret is finding a balance. To embrace this crazy, demanding life and avoid wearing all your hats at once. Once we find a balance, we’re able to breathe again.
Obviously easier said than done, but if you have to wear two or three hats at the same time (which is inevitable), at least try to prioritise. And whatever you do and wherever you are, be all there and be all you.
If you’re at work, be a professional. Don’t bring your personal problems with you to work. Also don’t be afraid to play on your strengths: take action, make decisions, form collaborations. But as soon as you leave work, leave work.
Once you get home, put on that super-wife or mommy hat. Trust your intuition, teach, love and care, and above all, be there.
Then there’s the role of a grandmother. Probably one of the most fun roles a woman can have. If you’re privileged enough to have grandchildren, don’t let the time fly by without being present. Kids really do grow up so fast - just look at your own!
Every so often, put on your daughter hat and be just that - a daughter. Visit your parents or mentors and talk your heart out. It’ll be good for you. Remember to prioritise and recharge yourself. Get out in nature, take up a hobby, or go out with your friends.
You are enough
Life as a woman is tough, but once we stop and recognise that what often seems like draining, tedious tasks is actually blessings, it puts things into perspective. Giving is often way more rewarding than receiving.
In light of Women’s Month this August, you need to be reminded that you are a spectacular mom, wife, sister, friend, grandmother, and above all, woman. And, all your hats aside, you are enough.
“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. 'Time' for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” ― Roman Payne
THE HELDERBERG SOCIETY FOR THE AGED
The Helderberg Society for the Aged provides a variety of secure lifestyle options for elderly people in an environment of compassion and care. Entertainment and engagement of our members is vital to our approach of keeping people enthusiastic and participative in activities that will enliven, motivate and enrich. We believe in encouraging life to the fullest for all the people within our services encompassing Independent Living, Assisted Living, Home-based Care and Frail Care.
Find out more about us: www.hsfa.org.za
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