The Second Shift
All working women are well aware of the 2nd shift. Who among us doesn’t end one workday to immediately start another? We come home to a list of to-do’s a mile long. There’s the dishwasher to unload, laundry to flip, dinner to cook, carpools, a soccer game, a dance recital, mail to open, bills to pay the dog needs a walk….and in the midst of all this, we’re getting emails from our boss at 8pm.
Women in the United States spend two hours more each day cleaning, cooking, taking care of children and doing other unpaid work than men, according to a report by Oxfam and the Institute for Women's Policy Research
. Traditional gender roles, societal pressures and a lack of national public policies to support the realities of working families’ needs leave most parents having to find ways to meet all their obligations without access to employment policies that guarantee them common-sense supports such as paid leave, workplace flexibility, scheduling predictability, and affordable child care. Women, low-wage workers, and people of color—who are even less likely to have access to the policies that would help them to address their families’ caregiving responsibilities—disproportionately feel these effects.
It is no surprise that women are tired, cranky, and feeling
unappreciated. Fatigue and resentment prevent us from feeling like we are ever “off the clock," ruin our sleep and strain our relationships.
It's not hopeless.
So what can we do to stay sane? How do we find time for ourselves when we have no time?
Create space at the end.
One tip is to create a workday shut down routine. If you have the type of job that allows it, take 10 minutes at the end of the day while still at the office to take stock of what got done - appreciating any accomplishments. Prioritize tasks for the next day, clean off your desk, and warmly thank your coworkers as you walk out the door. Leaving the office with a sense of accomplishment, a plan for the next day, and expressing gratitude, will help you head home with a positive mindset. If you don’t have an office job, create different routines such as listening to a favorite playlist, podcast or audio book on the ride home, will calm you and be something you will look forward to. Doing the same thing everyday signals to your to your brain that a transition is happening, and will help prevent you from taking work stress and anxiety home.
Start fresh at home.
When you get home, take stock of what needs
to be done and prioritize. Can the laundry pile wait one more day so you can take a bath instead? Can you tackle a chore while doing something positive, for example, taking your child – and dog - for a walk while the two of you brainstorm ideas for their science project? I have found that the carpool line is the perfect time for some slow deep breaths!
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. Reach out to a female relative or friend. Undoubtedly, they are going through the same thing. Sharing struggles and finding a way to laugh about them, is a great way to ease tension and feel supported.
Need more support? Give us a call or send a note
. We'd be happy to not only listen but help you find more tips that help you feel more together. And stay tuned! A four part, Women in Workplace workshop is coming soon! Visit our Events
page to find out more.