There are strains in life that transcend gender, but some things only women understand. For example the social pressure to have children. Women are experts at dealing with what the world throws at them, perhaps because historically they have had to endure, and still do. This blog explains why women need me-time as a social right.
Children VS Career
The phrase, “the biological clock is ticking”, is something which haunts many women. It's the countdown to infertility, with 30 being the magic number, after which it’s all downhill. Whilst fertility eventually decreases, this phrase is a sexist construct invented in the 1970s. Women were having their careers pitted against motherhood, and vice versa.
This rhetoric was designed to push women into having children and away from the workplace. The choice was between being childless or having a career—because mothers professionally, it was decided, were weaker than their male counterparts.
The truth, obviously, is that giving birth is not a weakness and fertility doesn’t randomly plummet when a woman reaches her mid-thirties.
Pressure to Have it All
Whilst some of the misogynistic views of the past have disappeared, the clock ticking phrase hasn’t. It's become part of the fabric of society. It isn’t so much used in the media, as it is in our own homes, by well intentioned friends and family members. Women are still under pressure to have children—within an outdated time frame.
The problem now, is women are expected to have it all— juggling children, careers, relationships, and social lives simultaneously. To be a mother and working at the same time is common. From the early 1990s onwards the number of working mothers has increased significantly. There are millennials hitting their 30s that grew up with working mothers.
In the past half a century different aspirational images of women have been projected in the media. Which, after the smiling 1950s homemaker with a hoover in hand, were most welcome. One of these images is of the strong, independent career woman. Just like motherhood, this is seen as a vital part of a women’s entitlement.
Women Are Superhuman
However, what’s often overlooked, is how taxing it is to meet the modern demands of being a woman. Many expectations are still rooted in the past, for example, women in the UK are saddled with 60% of the housework. Women are also relied upon to be the primary caregivers for our children and the wider community. This is whilst holding down careers, and of course chasing ever pervasive ideals of beauty.
Some of us will remember our own mothers slaving at work yet coming home to cook us meals, tidy the house, and take care of us. It’s only with adult eyes do we see how amazing they were and are. How is it they didn’t break under the strain?
Women are tough, that’s a given. This doesn’t mean they are immune to the pressures of life. More and more women are starting to suffer from burnout as the worlds of work and home become increasingly demanding.
Women Suffering Burnout
We’ve all heard of burnout, and some of us have suffered from it without knowing that’s what it was. According to Psychology today burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion brought on by a prolonged period of stress. People suffering from it become lethargic, cynical, and depressed.
Men and women both get burnout, although it’s thought women are getting it more. Why? Firstly, there’s the workplace. Despite feminism and the struggle for equality at work, men are still favoured in senior positions, and often wield the power within a company. Women find themselves without a voice, frustrated by their untapped potential, and desperate to prove their worth by taking on unmanageable loads. To top this off they are frequently paid less than their male colleagues.
Immobility and injustice within the workplace are causing women to burnout with chronic stress. Secondly, through a mix of self-imposed maternal responsibility and persisting gender roles, women are also shouldering the brunt of the emotional and physical labour of running a household.
Women Deserve & Need Fixed Me-Time
Pursuing careers, taking care of children and family members, shopping, cooking, cleaning…for women the list is large and relentless. Absolutely no downtime. Women are giving their heart and soul to others and leaving nothing for themselves. Even basic things like booking a hair appointment, meeting a friend for coffee, or curling up with a book seem impossible when the cup is overflowing.
Can you relate?
If this is you, whether the time seems to be there or not you should take it. Me time is your human right. It is certainly not something to feel guilty about. You should feel proud with what you've managed to cope with, and safe thinking about you for a change.
Regular time for yourself and self-care has a myriad of benefits. Time away from the demands of work and family is time to rest and recharge. Afterwards you’ll feel happier, healthier, more in-tune with yourself, and able to express your needs. You may also find that dealing with the stresses of life becomes easier.
Glass House Women’s Weekend
Where better to start than with a women’s weekend away at our detox and wellness retreat in Essex? Our Elemis spa treatments, state-of-the-art health and fitness facilities, and plant-based meals are relaxing, invigorating, and cleansing. Think of it as pressing a reset button.
The weekend of the 21st March is a special one, focused on women’s wellness, and offering busy mums some well-earned respite from daily life. There will be informative talks on women’s health and wellbeing with a celebrity guest, and a mum’s spa day with extras.