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Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?

“I need the older children in the family and my husband to step up and help out. I feel like I’ve taken up all the slack and their responsibilities have remained the same. My husband says I just need to ask him for “help” but that just puts it on me to manage everything. I’m frustrated and exhausted and he doesn’t get it.”

“I am literally drowning in overwhelm while my husband is having a great time working from home! Because I’m picking up all the pieces keeping everything together.”

“I told my husband that him “helping” around the house is not enough anymore. He’s an adult and he needs full ownership of at least 50% of keeping our lives together.”

Over 1,800 parents, mostly Moms (98,%) have shared their pandemic stories for our research study. And they’re drained from doing more of everything: housework (78%,) kids activities (54%,) and childcare (73%.) Although they’re overwhelmingly married or cohabiting, in the pandemic, only 30% state their partners are doing more housework or childcare. The gendered division of household labor for Moms partnered with Dads isn’t new. And it’s a corrosive undercurrent for many couples.

The consuming nature of parenting and running a home, has ballooned during Covid. Although the physical work is considerable, the mental energy to plan, triage and react to countless daily choices, adds strain to the situation.

Although some couples successfully divide the work, few share the mental load. And that’s often where the perception gap between Moms partnered with Dads lies. But what if we could make all that hidden work visible? Does it change the conversation between couples?

Mind the Gendered Gap

“I’m doing all the emotional work of parenting (my spouse does only non-emotional tasks like grocery shopping and lawn mowing)…)

“…My personal routine has been overshadowed by helping/dealing with everyone else. If I try to work out, I’ve got kids hanging all over me, when I’m trying to work during nap time my husband wants to chat always preceded by “I know you’re busy but, just real quick…”

A recent Morning Consult survey echoes the stunning Continue reading “Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?”

Working Parents Get Your Mojo Back! Flaunt Don’t Hide Your Superpowers

“I asked working Moms, who had good relationships with their kids and thriving careers, how could I have both. I was on maternity leave with 3 kids under the age of 4. So, I called them from a very raw, liminal place.” said Amy Henderson, Author & Entrepreneur. Those calls, to understand if successful working Motherhood was even possible, led her to 4 years of research. She said, “I learned that the things that break you, are also the things that can make you.”

The work and parenting fit was always hard. Moms are blindsided by how difficult it is to get into leadership. Then we’re gaslighted into feeling inept once we’re there. So, we end up taking our superpowers for granted. But like elite athletes, the intense training of parenthood, makes you stronger. And the collaboration, decision making, empathy, presence and efficiency skills that you’ve honed, make you a more agile leader.

Working Motherhood is Harder in the US Than Anywhere Else

In her new book. Tending: Parenthood & the Future of Work, Amy cites research that many of us have experienced. “Mommy bias is the greatest trigger for workplace discrimination. And found that mothers are 79% less likely to get hired or promoted when compared to an equally qualified woman without a child.” And in a culture where career progress equals success, it’s not surprising that being diminished at work leads to self-doubt. Worse, most mothers have sole, co or primary breadwinning responsibilities, which elevates the penalties from inconvenience to financial liability. And it’s an economic double-bind that most women don’t escape. She added, “The US has one of the largest Continue reading “Working Parents Get Your Mojo Back! Flaunt Don’t Hide Your Superpowers”

Free Yourself from the Soul Crushing Disputes About Who does What

How Gamification Can Save Your Marriage…And Your Sanity

“I love you and I don’t want to break up our life. I really want to stay married. But you have to start looking at my time as valuable,” said Eve Rodsky, Entrepreneur & New York Times Best Selling-Author, to her husband. That conversation changed her life. Eve, like many Moms, was overwhelmed managing a schedule with no room for error or downtime. She said, “It was the unfairness of watching him every night be able to just get into the bed and watch a documentary, finish a PowerPoint deck and workout, while I worked in service to our household until midnight.”

In the US, Moms partnered with Dads still choreograph and do most of the housework and childcare. In our pandemic study, although men are stepping up, only 30% of respondents cite their partners are helping out more. So, conflict between couples continues to rise. Without onsite school or childcare and the bulk of housework falling onto Moms, like caged tigers, we’re eviscerating anything that limits our sleep, sanity or solvency. But there aren’t many options. Adjusting expectations at work is difficult for most. So, sharing the household and childcare if partnered, is the most promising, albeit Continue reading “Free Yourself from the Soul Crushing Disputes About Who does What”

How to Personalize Your Definition of Self-Care

Okay, it’s that stage of the pandemic where we’re beyond exhausted.

More than 80% of parents (1,500,) mostly Mothers (96%) who have participated in the pandemic study, report doing ‘terribly’ or ‘not as well as usual’ as caregivers to themselves.

The term self-care, coined by Audre Lorde, was meant to free us from believing the story of self-sacrifice. Yet, leaping over obstacles to make the time becomes so draining, that many of us give up.

But caring for your emotional, physical and mental health is vital. The pandemic stress will swallow all of your will and energy without it. And guess what, our families don’t thrive if we wither.

You can make space for wellbeing and joy, even now. It doesn’t have to be complicated to boost your happiness. Let self-care become your state of mind instead of something else ‘to do.’

Enjoy inspiration from extraordinary women, who have put powerful self-care definitions, habits and routines to work in their daily lives.

Personalize Your Self-Care Definition

“Self-care is taking care of my own energy level.” Dr. Leah Ruppanner, from Welcome to The Tyranny of Self-Care

“I don’t go out in large groups. I would rather sit on my daughter’s bed and watch silly videos with her. Or, just have a quiet conversation with my partner.” Dr. Ramani Durvasula, How To Create Healthy Relationships in a Culture of Toxicity

“Self-care is not just going to our local National Park but choosing a place to live where I have nature nearby. Self-care is in my daily choices. It’s not, ‘well now I’m going to Continue reading “How to Personalize Your Definition of Self-Care”

How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted

Over 2 million women have already left the workforce in the pandemic. And without childcare, eldercare or the ability to take a paid leave, many more plan to downshift, resign or switch professions altogether.

Before deciding what to do next, you need clarity about what you need. But pivots require strategy. And strategic thinking, requires mental energy. And Covid’s mental load, Zoom-school and housework, have drained most parents dry.

Peggy Foster, an HR Consultant, Executive Coach and Artist, spent more than 2 decades in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She’s an expert in professional transitions and navigated her own exit from corporate life.

It may feel impossible to make the space. But Peggy’s process highlights how self-care and reflection, even in small doses, can lead to big breakthroughs.

Don’t ‘Empty’ Yourself for Others

Peggy explained, “When we take space for ourselves, it feels like we’ve gone against society and how we’ve been trained as women, to put everybody else first. Feed the kids, clean the house, make sure everybody is happy, get that job done at work and the truth is, you Continue reading “How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted”

Fear, Masks & Alicia Keys. What Has 2020 Taught us?

A few weeks ago, awe-inspiring female leaders like Alicia Keys, Admiral Michelle Howard, Awkwafina and Doris Kearns Goodwin, took the virtual stage for the annual Massachusetts Women’s Conference. They’ve leapt past obstacles in a culture that often mutes our voices.

How? With self-care, self-love and self-confidence. Enjoy their wisdom on how to honor your needs in the days and months ahead. And enter this new chapter with restored faith in your gifts, community and power to change the systems we live, work and play in.

Pause and Reflect

Awkwafina, Award-winning Actress, Writer & Rapper, “Playing those little shows, were the best times of my life, because I was waiting for something to happen. But when things started to pick up, and it was objectively the best time of my life, I found myself losing my sense of identity. So, today, I want to be in a mental place where I can handle this career, in a healthy way, and I’m not worrying all the time.”

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “If you’re not motivated in your life, you’re not playing a big enough game. Get very quiet and tune into what you long for.”

Iyanla Vanzant, Best-selling Author & Producer, “If you’re here, you’re alive. Our scars are being transformed into sacred knowledge.”

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “…What have you learned in 2020? Everything that is happening in your life, is preparing you for what’s next.”

Take Back Your Routines

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “When you wake up what’s the first thing that you see? It had Continue reading “Fear, Masks & Alicia Keys. What Has 2020 Taught us?”

What Parents Enjoy About the Pandemic

Gifts? From Lockdown?

“I would love to continue a career where I worked from home. It simplifies things and I feel much calmer. I’m also so much closer with my children now!! I’m treasuring this time.”

“We have saved money. I found spirituality in meditation. I learned how to take care of my kids without access to entertainment activities.”

“…Spending more time in my local environment (which is beautiful) and we really got to know our neighbors.”

“More time for me and less time in the car taking kids to activities. More time to help kids focus on what they need to be doing. Our family has really benefitted from this situation.”

Over 1,300 parents, mostly Mothers (96%) have shared the pandemic’s impact on their lives anonymously since March. And Covid-living, often without childcare, mental healthcare or self-care, is overwhelming.

So, when they were asked about the pandemic’s surprising rewards, some parents were at a loss to find anything good from this time of grief. One surveyed parent responded, “Absolutely nothing. I liked my old life.” But for most, the crisis has come with some unexpected treasures.

More and better time with family continues to be the most frequently cited benefit of the new situation. As painful as it has been, Covid has forced some positive changes that surveyed parents want Continue reading “What Parents Enjoy About the Pandemic”

What Couples Do to Strengthen Relationships in Lockdown

The pandemic has forced impossible tradeoffs. As fragmented parents search for hidden bandwidth, the strain on couples has grown. Maintaining spark through the happy chaos of life with kids is difficult. But to completely revamp home life and face Covid as a team, often under the watchful gaze of children, is a herculean effort.

Over 1,200 parents shared their pandemic stories since March. The majority are Mothers (95%) who are either married (85%) or live with their partner (7%.) And lockdown continues to challenge relationships.

In the spring (March – June 6th) about a third (36%) felt they were doing ‘terribly’ or ‘not as well as usual’ as a spouse or partner. By the summer, it jumped to almost half (48%) and by the fall (September – November 6) it climbed to 52%. Dr. Yael Schonbrun, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Couples Therapist, shares strategies for the most commonly cited relationship trials of Covid.

Be Generous with Self-Compassion

Yael explained, “Self-compassion offers a raft through the roughest life waters and is available to each of us, even when nothing else is. It involves three Continue reading “What Couples Do to Strengthen Relationships in Lockdown”

Welcome to the Tyranny of Self-Care

“Self-care is taking care of my own energy level.” Said Leah Ruppanner, Author of Motherlands and Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. It’s a powerful definition and rallying cry to disrupt how we think about it. She added, “I’m trying to resist how the wellness industry defines self-care, where I have to do yoga and become thin. I reject that model of self-care but sometimes, find it very seductive, because it’s simple solutions for complex problems.”

Audre Lorde, who coined the term described it as an “act of self-preservation.” So, it’s ironic that self-care has become a source of inner conflict. Because it’s often conflated with pampering, some feel pressured by it.

But what if we measure our downtime by how rested we are instead of how much we get done? We live busy and in the pandemic, it’s unrealistic not to be. But powering through without some form of self-care leads to burnout.

Time Is More Fragmented Than Ever

Sheltered with family 24/7 makes this more challenging. “What I have found in this pandemic, is that my work requires concentrated, uninterrupted time. And my child requires instruction and constant Continue reading “Welcome to the Tyranny of Self-Care”

Loneliness When You’re Not Alone

Over 1,000* parents, primarily Moms (94%) have shared their experiences with the pandemic since late March. Five months in, time spent caring for mental and physical health, continues to erode. And over 2/3 admit spending less time maintaining relationships with other adults that keep them anchored. Parents have increasingly shared loneliness has been the hardest part of social distance.

“Not being able to be with people I care about. Now everyone is just a phone friend.”

“I’m low on incidental socialization (i.e. chatting with parents while kids are at activities, socializing with people at the gym, getting together with friends who don’t live on my street.)”

“Not being able to see friends and family and/or needing to limit the amount of interaction with them.”

Isolation…With Family?

We love our families. Their persistent presence has been the greatest source of conflict and joy in lockdown, for most surveyed parents. But being ‘always on’ whether for work or kids, is wearing. The bonds we have with other adults — friends, family and colleagues – often provide  Continue reading “Loneliness When You’re Not Alone”

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