The strong, but stretched, women around me.
March 4, 2012
I found this a hard post to articulate… hence the gap since the last one.
When I first began this blog journey, I was SO nervous about this new world I’d entered and was questioning its dynamic at every turn – How many times a week should I be doing this? Will people drop off if I do less than two or three times a week? Are my stats good? Is anyone commenting? (finding it curious that the spam messages are about to overtake the number of messages sent to me!). All in all, a tad nervous.
I’m a full-time high school teacher – holding down four specific roles within the school – and a mother of two young girls. On a ‘normal’ week night, whether I cook or not, the ‘Me Time’ part of the evening doesn’t start until the chores – such as, cleaning up after dinner, getting everyone sorted for the next day (lunches for all, uniform, notes, sports clothes etc) and the never ending, girls’ bedtime routine, concludes – this is normally around 9pm. On some evenings, I would hop on the computer and start writing – shamefully admitting that I was more preoccupied with the blog than hanging with the Hubby. I then (always) get to bed late – around midnight (whether I write or not, for some reason, regardless of good intentions, I get to bed that late) – just to start over again at 6.30am. I find myself always telling my daughters how tired I am.
As I’m looking at my inability to ‘fit it all in’, I hear a few sobering stories from numerous girlfriends of mine and learn of their situations. All in the one week. It made me take a deep breath and conclude that we needed to strike a balance towards all this – and life in general.
BALANCE. It’s the key to everything.
Which brings me to the reason for writing this post. I hope that it gives justice to the women I want to write about……
Part two – Our Lot
Friend #1: I have a very close friend who confided in me – telling me how the pressures of her life are deeply affecting her. As she’s talking to me, I can see that, due to her wonderful sense of duty towards her family, she finds herself doing everything in her power to not let their problems affect her children (most importantly) and husband. Even as she’s talking to me, I can see how she doesn’t want me to worry either, as she speaks in an accepting, almost matter-of-factly manner, about her situation – even though it’s a gloomy one. I simply don’t know how she does it, holding her husband and three young children together.
But she does – and her family are so incredibly blessed to have such an inspirational and strong mother – however, it is affecting one person – her. She’s stretched to the limit.
Friend #2: In the same week, I spoke to another friend, who wakes up in tears every morning, due to a legal issue involving her husband. They’re a lovely family who stumbled onto some bad luck, and now find themselves facing a possible outcome, unimaginable a while ago, that would impact their family deeply, if it were to occur. This has been going on since last year and she – also – found herself holding it all together for everyone, especially her husband – but is now finding that she needs support too – she’s fraying at the seams.
Although these may seem, to some of you, as extreme stories, I know of SO many women – actual friends, not “I heard about this person, who’s a friend of a friend” – who are in a daily struggle to not only find balance for their families, but balance for themselves. It seems, however, that the pressure of finding that balance for the ones they love, means that many women are short changing theirs.
In this new, modern age of marriage and motherhood, women – AGAIN – seem to be taking the bigger piece of the responsibilities. If one is lucky enough to have a supportive partner in crime, one is also (hopefully) going to have a partner who shares the ‘chore’ load. Most times, however, even when the mother works full-time, the chores are still heavier on the female side. BUT let’s say, there’s equality on that front – it still appears the partner falls way short of equally sharing all the ‘worry’ that comes with their life.
As I mentioned earlier, my mind never seems to stop ticking with the million things that are bouncing around…well, there’s nowhere to bounce, actually – it’s all tightly crammed in there and ‘lo and behold!’, some things get forgotten. And don’t we feel a little guilt when we do? The pressure women find themselves under in retaining EVERYTHING that has to do with family and work can be suffocating at times because it’s unbalanced.
Question #22: Are women capable of finding balance in their lives?
Up until recently, I did both the washing for the family and the weekly shopping. As a full-time worker, the only time I could do it, was the weekend. As you can imagine, I started to become a little resentful at the fact that I wasn’t getting any break from work – whether it be a school or at home – because these two chores HAD to be done every weekend. I also didn’t want to ‘ask’ Hubby for help, at the risk of sounding like a nag – but if you don’t ask, how do you get the help?
This is why (I think) we are, where we are. Our lot.
But a few months ago I walked up to my husband and said, “Shopping or washing?” He chose shopping – again. See, we tried it a few years ago, but it still felt like I was in charge of it all, just not actually going to the shop, so we quickly reverted back to the old ‘system’. So I said, “But this time you’re the boss of it” and he accepted.
I tell you, it’s been great. It’s incredible how difficult it was at the start, to ‘let go’ (when you’ve always been in control…) – but relinquishing that big chore was just the ticket. I got a bit of the weekend back – a bit more balance to it all. *worth it*
Baby steps, right? Then BIG ONES!
PS Due to this reflection, I’ve decided to simply post once a week. Just the ticket *big smile*