Somebody reading my weekend Journal made the following comment on Twitter that resonated with me:
“Many of us lack the time needed to reflect on what stress management strategies would be truly helpful – particularly those of us who are juggling care responsibilities along with everything else.”
This resonates with me because I consider myself an expert at picking up responsibilities that I will have to juggle, leaving less and less time as the commitments grow for reflection. Also, as this speaker suggests, whenever I am juggling too many responsibilities, the first ball I will drop is the “Time for Personal Reflection Ball”.
No one will be surprised that the speaker is, like me, female. COVID-19 has not changed the world that much. If a worker is juggling care responsibilities with other tasks, it is highly likely that the worker is female. For women the world over, pandemic or no pandemic, juggling responsibilities and abandoning our concerns at the bottom of the pile is what we all do when we’re exhausted.
The speaker is a feminist. I am a feminist. It doesn’t matter. We are the best jugglers in many ways because we know how important it is that children have powerful women role models. We both understand that, unless women are involved in all important decisions, there is no hope for equality for our children. This means that, when we cannot convince another woman to take on a role, we will damned well do it ourselves so that women are represented. Not that we think we’re the only ones who can do these tasks. It’s that most women I know are fed up with hearing that “we couldn’t find a woman”.
The Patriarchy lives on.
I really admire this speaker’s advocacy on behalf of women and the disadvantaged – and I am worried that she has the same juggling problem that I do. I cannot be helpful to her, but I can be helpful to my colleagues like her by doing two things.
First, I will put time in my own calendar for reflection – at a good time of day, when I won’t be exhausted or need to leave for my work at home. I will act as though I deserve this time – just the way I say this to others about their reflection time. Second, I will cover for my own colleagues once weekly so that they have this time.
We deserve this time and we owe it to each other and the future to take the time to reflect and make our own plans!
(I love this representation of a woman juggling many tasks by Leon Zernitsky.)