I am beginning to think there’s a tipping point in our lives too, but with a different outcome. One minute we’re fine, juggling all that we have to do and then bang, one extra task/event/problem comes our way, and suddenly we are not doing so well; we’re not coping.
For women it is often the family responsibilities – such as a sick child or parent; a move or a cancelled babysitter, that throws everything off kilter.
It’s when life happens that there is a domino effect and where once you were “just about” managing, that one event, trips you up. Whichever way you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day, and there is only so much we can do in that time.
This week I attended a lecture at Rotman School of Business, about dealing with Overwhelm and the Motherload. The audience was packed with young women who were juggling career and parenthood.
As the panel shared their war stories, of bought muffins for school vs. baking them from scratch, going to the wrong place to pick up a child or having to dash from work to deliver a child to a ballet class because the sitter cancelled, it struck me that not much has changed since I was the young mother with two children, trying to juggle it all.
Except in some ways it has, in that women get fewer breaks for themselves because with technology they can reached 24/7 and the working hours do seem longer. Dads are perhaps a bit more involved, but that isn’t a given, and children seem to be over-programmed, creating even more stress as someone has to get them to the classes, etc.. As for the traditional family dinner where you sit and eat together, it seems like something from the past.
Personally I think we need to cut ourselves some slack and let go this need to do everything perfectly. It isn’t feasible and we end up doing ourselves in trying to achieve perfection.
This fall seems to have been extremely busy, with little time to pause and I don’t think I am alone in this feeling of overwhelm, of having too much to do, and too little time in which to do it.
So something has to give, and before I reach my tipping point, and much as I hate to, I have started to say “no” to requests to meet, participate or volunteer – because if I don’t take charge of my time, no one else will.