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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

Why you do not have to do it all yourself!

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to success is in your daily routine.”

Alison Daminger, Harvard University, showed numerous studies showing women still do the bulk of the work at home. The more hidden forms of care generally end up falling to the woman. Understand the hidden work placed on you comes in three overlapping categories: 1) cognitive labour: thinking about all the practical elements of household responsibilities such as shopping, and planning. 2) emotional labour: family emotions like calming things down, and 3) mental labour: anticipate everything (emotional and practical), identify options, decide among the options, and monitor the results all while preparing and organizing what must get done to make your work, life, and family flow. Can you relate? Men help make decisions but with limited leg work to get it done.

This results in a constant low-level worry about whether you are doing enough and your impact on you and your family’s future. Leah Ruppanner, Professor of Sociology says, “Women are always trying to mitigate future risk.” Worry is always nagging our present. When we do not do well, it brings relationship and work challenges that breeds insecurity. Know that you are not better at planning, organizing, and multitasking. You are expected to do more of it and just become better at it than men. I always say that it all begins in the household. Gender expectations at birth and in the household play a significant role in the ideas around responsibilities in the home and work. Progress has been made but there is more work to be done.

You cannot do it all yourself and it is time to stop doing it all and get the support required or do less to have a more fulfilled life! When someone asks, how are you or do you need any help do you say, “I am fine.” but within yourself say, “I can do it all myself, no one has helped me before!” “I do not have time to show anyone!” OR are you saying to yourself that you need or want help but afraid to ask or say, “I need help?” You must understand and manage your fear of what others think as you seek the human need for acceptance to avoid rejection. Would others believe you are:

• Less than capable?

• Too vulnerable and weak because others get it all done?

• A quitter when the going gets tough?

• Superwoman and so capable that you do not need help?

• Egotistical never admitting you need help when everyone else knows you do?

It is scary to be in this place. Yet, women carry their fears internally like a badge of honor even when it gets scarier as you get closer to burnout! You feel you “must” do everything yourself down to the last detail feeling inferior when just thinking to ask for help or doing less. Two important questions are: Is what you are doing desirable or sustainable?

Are you leaving enough room in your life to do what matters to you? If the answer is NO, know that it can be different! Are you choosing a) perfection over progress, b) listening, and agreeing with your inner critic, c) your ego, or d) not to ask or delegate out of fear? If so, ask and answer these questions to make a shift:

• Why do I need to do it all?

• Where do I want to be that would be desirable and sustainable?

• How can I do less and only do what does matters?

• What support do I need and who can I ask for support?

• How would my life and those around me improve? Know that it is ok NOT to be ok! But it is NOT ok to stay there. Make the change you want to see in your life:

• Redefine success that makes sense for you and celebrate small wins!

• Know what self-care means to you, make time for it, and be present during it!

• Prioritize by what is important to you knowing priorities change!

• Eliminate what and who does not matter!

• Use power affirmations that begin with I or I AM!

• Shut yourself off from the noise!

The system is designed for you to feel responsible to do it all alone resulting in paralysis, exhaustion, and overwhelm. Better is available if you decide to ask or do less. Practice self-love by doing what matters allowing yourself to experience better connections and quality relationships, feel more relaxed, confident, energized, clear, and focused. You will be at peace, more engaged, and passionate about life. Give yourself a some room to truly live!

We do not have to do it all alone. We were never meant to.”-Brene Brown

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