The Many Faces of Women
Women wear multiple hats in their lives and on the outside, they seamlessly transition from roles at home, in the workplace, and in society. Each of these facets brings unique expectations and challenges.
Moonlighting at Home
At home, women often take on roles, such as
Project Managers - schedule chores, delegate responsibilities, make sure people get to the places they're supposed to be, keep track of random little tasks that need to happen, etc.
Auditors - you mentally record that your child did not get picked up on time from daycare so now you need to provide feedback and a proposed action plan in order to ensure that error does not happen again.
Quality Managers - seemingly no one else notices that the recently "cleaned" bathroom is missing toilet paper and that there is now a pool of cleaning solution around the sink.
Childcare Supervisors - you are proud of yourself for having delegated some childcare tasks, but are questioning that decision given that your child had breakfast 20 minutes early and wore shorts on a fall day.
These wide-ranging responsibilities at home result in not having a "break" until after everyone has gone to bed, further contributing to exhaustion.
Balancing Act at Work
In the workplace, women face a complex set of expectations. They're encouraged to act as leaders but are often discouraged from making waves. Taking initiative is praised, but they must do so without upstaging their colleagues. Emotional intelligence is valued, but displaying emotions is often stigmatized. Women have to figure out the delicate balance of being friendly but not too friendly and definitely not unfriendly.
The decisions that women make throughout the workday can be fraught with ambiguity and potential minefields, as they struggle to professionally progress while maintaining a sense of self.
Stereotypes in Society
In society, women grapple with numerous stereotypes that affect how they are perceived and treated. These stereotypes may dictate intelligence, educational background, income, citizenship status, language proficiency, assertiveness, and emotionality. Societal expectations can be overt or covert, and women often find themselves making making countless small choices to counter these biases. It's a battle against preconceived notions that has become so constant that it feels like a normal way of life.
Navigating Challenges Authentically
Women have embraced a multitude of roles, but for many of us, the result has been a sense of powerlessness, fatigue, isolation, and apathy. We may no longer even recognize ourselves. We feel like we've gotten on a rollercoaster by mistake. However, there is a "STOP" button that involves honesty with yourself and others, understanding that your life choices are choices, stopping for reality checks, and recalibrating back to a north star that actually means something to you.
Take a moment to pause and determine what direction you're headed. Sometimes, this may feel like a leap of faith, but have trust in your own values and dreams.