OF GRAVE CONCERN
A NEW BOOK LOOKS AT VARIOUS ROLES MODERN WOMEN TRY TO JUGGLE AND PONDERS WHETHER OUR DESIRE TO ‘DO IT ALL’ IS SLOWLY KILLING US
WORK deadlines, school pick-ups, homework, dinner, after-school activities, family issues... is it all too much?
Are Australian women working beyond what should be required of them?
Once upon a time, it was considered normal for women to stay at home and care for the children.
Now it’s considered a privilege.
Women now have the opportunity to work in their dream jobs and are empowered to use their skills.
However, this doesn’t mean that their domestic duties have dwindled.
Women simply perform an amazing juggling act: handling work pressures, running the home, and caring for family and friends.
But it does raise the question: are modern women working their way to an early grave?
Stress-managament expert and performance coach Laura Piccardi has released her new book Unfaked – Life Is So Much Easier When You Just Show Up.
The book is based on her own experiences as a working woman.
She said she had experienced first-hand the effects that a driven mindset and lifestyle could have on the body.
“I’d worked my butt off for years to reach my career and business goals, thinking I’d be happy when I achieved them,” she said.
“But in reality, I was exhausted, unhealthy and extremely unhappy.”
It took a catalytic life event to change Laura’s life.
After that, she said she learned to change her mindset and calm her body down from within.
When she started a coaching business, she realised many people were going through the same thing.
Her book is based on a fictional character, ‘Deb’, who struggles with issues such as imposter syndrome (lack of self-belief and confidence), perfectionism, weight-loss struggles, bloating, anxiety, fatigue and relationship challenges.
Research shows that working women often try to maintain an unrealistic image of being a ‘superwoman’ when they are actually exhausted and not really coping.
Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich agrees, but only to a point. She said she thought modern life was demanding on all parts of life – and not just for women.
“It’s more complex for women because they seem to have the primary responsibility of juggling relationships with their career, their health and the home,” she said.
“Whether it’s society or women are choosing to do it – are women able to relinquish some of this role, or is it so ingrained that they still keep doing it?”
Sandy said employees were now more accessible through technology, and it could be that this communication accessibility had taken over our lives.
“It’s important that we let our employers know we are not accessible outside of work times,” she said.
Healthdirect Australia reports workrelated stress not only impacts family life, but also is related to heart disease, obesity and other life-related illnesses.
Studies have found women place family needs and job responsibility first, before their own health.
That leads to a lack of exercise, poor eating habits and consuming alcohol to cope with stress.
University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer in psychology Prudence Millear said people had always been busy and that was not a new phenomenon.
However, Dr Millear said women needed to think about how they balanced all their roles.
“A study a few years ago showed that it comes to about the same amount of time worked for women and men,” she said.
“Both are busy, but they do different things.”
Dr Millear said it was mainly women who had children under the age of 14 who were under the pump with work and home responsibilities.
“You can say this is terrible, but you can streamline things and try to be more organised,” she said.
“Let husbands and children help around the home.”
Dr Millear said women tended to be maternal gatekeepers, because they felt other people could not do the job well enough.
“It’s a real struggle to let go of how we would like things done,” she said.
“Celebrate your partner’s or children’s efforts.
“Through experience, they’ll get much better at it.
“You’re not a bad mother or women if you share the load.”