Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Double Burden and the Second Shift

What is a Second Shift? The definition of a second shift essentially describes what happens after a working day, i.
e.
those endless household chores, child-care and elder care activities.
Delivering the demands of a high paid job whilst managing the home is tough.
Women tend to feel more guilt than men about not doing either well enough - which doesn't help with performance or 'being at our best'.
Last week a client was telling me how she has a long commute (about an hour each way to work).
Her husband works and is 'hopeless around the home'.
When she gets home she has to cook an evening meal.
And then she goes to visit her elderly parents to do a number of household chores.
This can be hugely challenging for women who are keen to progress.
Research has suggested that the marjority of women manage all household tasks including child care and meal preparation.
Whilst more men are starting to do more around the home, women tend to be the decision makers and the social organisers.
For women in full time employment further studies have found that women work an average of 68 hours a week(including commuting, domestic work and child care).
The average working week for a man is55 hours (including commuting and domestic work).
This is not just a dig at men not helping out at home.
There is a wider issue that a man's career still seems to take precedent over a woman's career.
Can Women Have it All? I recently interviewed the inspirational Rachel Clacher.
She founded, with her brother Ed, the award winning telephone answering service: MoneyPenny.
The company was founded in 2000 with what she describes as a 'meagre £15000'.
They built the company organically (without borrowing any further money).
Moneypenny has gone on to win many awards that can be found on their website.
Yet, during the last 13 years, Rachel went onto have 3 children.
So I asked Rachel how she managed running a business (which was at times working at 100 hours a week), with her home duties.
Her response was fascinating.
She said that women have choices.
And that women need to choose.
Because, in her view, women cannot have it all.
This is something she struggled with for a long time.
She believed that she could be superwoman and be able to have her home and work life in equal balance.
But reality was so different.
If she was to grow a successful business then she decided to employ a nanny.
She lived with the guilt of this decision for many years.
Another senior woman I was speaking to was sharing a slightly different perspective.
Her view was that she decided to not push her career forward whilst she had young children.
Her career success came once her children left home and she was able to give her career the hours and dedication needed.
Practical Tips There is no easy solution to dealing with the second shift culture.
Essentially every woman has to choose what she really wants.
One of my biggest decisions this year was to take my children to and from school.
They attend school about 11 miles away from our home.
It takes a large chunk of time out of my day.
But, I love it.
I feel more connected to my kids than I have in years.
And, yes, it does mean earlier starts and working later in the evening.
And that's because when I did my last 'values' activity my family were way ahead of any of my other values.
So, my first suggestion to you is to work through some ideas of what you really want from your work and from your home life.
Work-through the tradeoffs with your partner.
What can give? Where are there sacrifices to make? Who can you bring into help? What additional domestic help can you get? Stop Feeling Guilty about Everything.
You are not superwoman.
No-one is benefiting from your guilt! Make Time For You.
Invest in You.

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