So I stumbled upon this article, I’m not sure when, but it’s been awhile. And it’s had me thinking for a long while to. If I thought it was true. Whether or not I agreed with it. If I would splash waves by suggesting it was true.
Because the article 16 Hours a Week suggests that women are told to be and do everything and that they are pushed harder than their male counterparts and are largely overworked.
Do I agree? I think often times yes. I can not say or speak for every woman. I can only say and speak for myself.
But when I was reading phrases like, “Young women today are increasingly likely to be over-worked, anxious, and beset by fears of failure” and “Of course, some of it is rooted in the contemporary cultural ideal that, as Courtney Martin says, tells girls that they ‘can be anything’ but implies that in order to do so, that they must somehow ‘do everything.'” they really struck a cord with me.
Because that was me. That was the life I used to (and sometimes still do) live. At one point in my sophomore year of college, I was working 3 jobs (4 if you counted being an exec board member for student government), involved in a host of extracurricular activities, and taking the maximum credits that I could.
And I was miserable. I was downright miserable. The stress and anxiety was way more than I could handle. I was crying a lot. But at the same time, I wasn’t showing this to most people. I felt like I couldn’t show this to most people. Because this was what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to work all those jobs to ease the burden of paying for a college education on the my parents. I was supposed to be involved in the extracurricular because that’s kind of how I had a social life and because (at one time) I actually enjoyed all of them. It was my choice to take all the credits, but I knew if I could that I would graduate early and that would have me better off in the long run.
But in the short term? It was killing me. I was trying to do everything and all it got me was burnout city. I was trying to achieve a perfect ideal that Christ has already told me I could never reach. And instead of turning to him to get myself through, I became my own Savior – because I could – and would – do it all.
Somehow, I managed to get out (that probably had a lot to do with my now husband who spent many hours talking to me when I would succumb to anxiety and when I was crying and also of course with our amazing Lord). Okay, I will admit, I am still not perfect, and I still sometimes find myself overworked and trying to do it all. But it has gotten a lot better since I realized that I don’t have to do it all. I can lean on other people to provide sometimes. It doesn’t make me any less good at what I do. It doesn’t make me any less human. It doesn’t make me perfect – but I was never meant to be perfect anyway. And I think, in some ways, I am a stronger person for realizing I don’t have to do it all. There is a strength in humility that is often overlooked.
So are young women overworked? I think that sometimes they are. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I think women need to break out of the lie that they are being feed by other people who I know mean well. Because you don’t have to do it all. I promise you that. The world will not fall apart if you don’t.
So what do you think? Are young women overworked? Are you overworked?