The women around me have taken on a whole new set of responsibilities lately.
They are preparing for another semester of homeschooling, adjusting to working from home throughout the day (sometimes in spurts and while Zooming from closets), and running to the grocery for elderly family members in the evenings. They’re also navigating divisive conversations about everything from racism to mask wearing. (Pro tip: If you need assistance thinking any of this through, just check the Facebook status of Janet from your high school. SHE KNOWS SHE IS RIGHT. I’m sure she can help.)
The invisible load seems to have gotten a bit heavier in our new normal. I feel it myself.
You’ve likely heard me refer to the invisible load before. It’s the endless to-do list we manage in order to assure the lives of those around us run smoothly, and it’s been shown to disproportionately, and negatively, affect women.
Before the world changed, the invisible load often made us feel underwhelmed with life. After all, these daily tasks, on the surface, appear harmless, but as they occupy more and more time, they become more and more unsatisfying.
Today, however, the sheer volume has moved many of us from underwhelmed to overwhelmed.
So what to do? Here are three strategies to try.
Give up the guilt.
I’ve observed quite a bit of guilt related to the invisible load lately. Because we’re doing so much, we’re not sure we’re doing anything well. We’re not all in on work. But we’re in it enough that our kids are eating screen time like candy. Are we frying their brains? Are we doing enough for our parents? Our community? The world?
But guilt is unhelpful here. It’s another layer of pain you don’t need, and it’s among the only layers you can choose to control and remove. Remind yourself that right now, you don’t have to excel at it all. Getting through each day is good enough.
Lower your expectations.
The house is a mess, it’s cereal for dinner again, and you’ve been unable to find a tutor who can help with your second grader and sixth grader. For many women I coach, these things trigger feelings of failure and anger. We expect more from ourselves and those around us.
If you’re on the hunt for relief, I recommend lowering those expectations. Tell yourself it’s temporary (because it is!). A woman recently messaged me to tell me she’d given up on a clean house in order to complete an important project. And guess what? It was a worthwhile tradeoff.
Let them help.
If we’re honest, we often prefer to simply do it all ourselves, even if it adds more to our plate, because it’s the only way we can assure it will get done right. (I’m looking at you, control freaks.)
But I have a secret: Those who care about you want to help. I recently asked my daughter, Dorothy, to do the dishes. I got her a step stool and a sponge, and I filled up the sink. She went to town! And she loved the responsibility. To me, that’s a win-win.
I hope these strategies lighten your load, but if you should need additional support, email me about getting on the waitlist for my upcoming group coaching program, which kicks off September 12th. We can do this, ladies.
Rooting for you,