Since the first time I heard it from my friend, Yavi, a couple of months ago, the term ‘Executive Motherhood’ has stuck in my memory.
My journey as a corporate executive, executive council member on the board of a foremost NGO aimed at empowering women, a mentor, certified coach, and business owner has given me tremendous insights into the plight and journey of working women climbing their ladders of career and success.
As a working woman – whether you work from or outside your home; full-time or part-time, for someone else or for yourself – you are juggling multiple balls in your life and are often plagued with the thoughts of how to balance it all.
If we think about all these roles which women juggle and still keep it all together, how then can a woman not believe that she is enough? How can she not beat her chest and declare that she actually has superpowers?
In addition to the positions and roles mentioned above, I’m also a wife, mum to two teens, the only daughter of my parents, someone’s niece, cousin, a good friend, the list goes on. So, I know that juggling the responsibilities and burdens of these various roles is a miracle which we often overlook.
Most women begin to look down on themselves the moment they drop a ball. We play so many roles but we forget about ourselves in the process. We forget about our purpose, about living our own lives, about being happy. We forget how to walk around with peace and joy. We worry so much about everything and everyone:
“Oh! I should have been more patient there”
“I should have swept the entire house!”
“Oh! I was unable to make that party”
“I’m so behind on helping my daughter with her homework!”
“Oh! My son is the only one left in school”
“Why is my house this messy?”
“Oh! I should have been more accommodating of my parents”
..and the list goes on about what we should and shouldn’t have done.
We are often too hard on and critical of ourselves but you need to really look at yourself and see who you are.
Look at all these roles, responsibilities and obligations you have and give yourself a break. You work so hard already. Now, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. You are doing a good job.
You are enough!
Most women find that last sentence hard to believe because they fall short in all their responsibilities and commitments, especially commitments to other people.
One of the things I hear from my female coaching clients is that they are doing so much, all the time, for everyone. They tell me they don’t have time to workout, to relax, or to recharge.
And I get it.
As women, we are conditioned to take care of others. We constantly feel the need to be on stage, to act kind, be dutiful, and be 100% balanced.
While that is the reality of some of the situations we find ourselves in, when do you get the time to be your true self? When do you reconnect to be in charge? When do you take the time to find yourself, draw strength and be the real you?
This is not just about going on holiday, because even holidays can be busy and stretch you in various directions. I have just returned from summer vacation and I can tell you that in that time, I was busy hopping from place to place, chaperoning my teenage daughters, being a wife to my husband and a respectable house guest to our hosts. So yes, the holiday was beautiful, but as you can imagine, alone time was scarce, save for some fifty minutes somewhere on a spa table and even then I was making mental lists of what to do next and who to check on. So, going on holiday doesn’t automatically solve your problems.
I remember the story of Susanna Wesley, the power woman who bore two of the greatest evangelists in history and mother of ten children who were quite close in age. The story is told that when she wanted time alone, she would pull her apron over her head and everyone in the house knew they had to be quiet or leave her alone because it was Mama’s alone time. She needed the quietness around her so that she could recharge and reboot. Even though it’s been 3 centuries since that time, there’s definitely something to learn from her.
If you’re burnt out or bored-out, it’s not good for anyone. You, your team, your household or your partner. Taking “You Time” for yourself is essential. You need to find your therapy and create time for it – whether it is in the car, in the shower or the time that you pull a cloth over your head.
Stop beating yourself up and begin to make yourself the priority, even if it’s only for a small amount of time every day. Just five minutes can make a massive difference.