What will we see in this post
Up to a few decades ago, it was common for women to be solely responsible for domestic chores and raising the children.
But women’s achievements over time have led to the pursuit of something more. They began to strive for successful careers. This inevitably resulted in the so-called triple-shift.
Entrepreneurial mothers or those who wish to hold high positions are even more affected.
Although many women can rely on their partners to help raise the children and in domestic chores, the division of responsibilities is often far from fair, because these tasks are still culturally attached to women.
As a consequence, they suffer physical and emotional overload. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), women are more affected than men and more likely to experience mental disorders – depression, anxiety, and somatic complaints.
It’s a serious problem that requires attention. So, read on and find out how working parents can deal with triple-shift challenges.
First things first, what is triple-shift?
We usually refer to the hours we work at our job as a shift, right?
Just like our tasks at the company, domestic tasks require effort; therefore, we can call the time dedicated to these tasks as a domestic shift.
We can add taking care of the children to this: bathing them, playing with them, preparing nutritious meals, helping with their homework, taking them to the doctor, to get haircuts, etc. Quite a shift, wouldn’t you agree?
So we can say that many people have three major work shifts that require a lot of energy:
- 1st shift: job;
- 2nd shift: housework;
- 3rd shift: children.
This situation is faced by most working parents and it’s even more recurrent with women. Some even venture into another major challenge: reconcile all of this with also going to school. After all, the market is increasingly demanding when it comes to continuous professional improvement.
Modern society demands a lot from working parents, especially woman, but how can you deal with this overload of responsibilities?
How can I deal with a triple work shift?
Unless you ask a woman to give up on her dreams, she will hardly give up on her triple-shift. As exhausting as it might be, “spreading themselves too thin” is the solution that many women find in order to achieve happiness in the different parts of their lives.
The good news is that at least, there are ways of relieving this overload. The keywords here are: recognition and organization. Keep reading!
Recognize that you’re overloaded
Society can be so cruel that it teaches little girls that they have to be some type of superhero.
You have probably heard someone say that women can do a thousand things at the same time, right?
Although this seems like a compliment, this statement hides a deep-rooted social and cultural problem.
You can notice that even if your spouse is a model in doing domestic chores, it is women who usually delegate the tasks, which in itself demands energy.
Of course, we can’t generalize. But what usually occurs is that the feminine figure is responsible for maintaining the home and for raising the children, while men assume a position of “helpers”, at best.
So, how about assuming that this is exhausting?
To yourself and to other people around you. Freeing yourself from the stigma that you, as a woman, need to have superpowers is the first step towards balancing the tasks.
Define your priorities
Secondly, define your priorities in a broad perspective. Think about what you want the most for yourself at this moment: is it having a successful career? Being more present during your children’s childhood? Getting your postgraduate degree? Starting a new hobby?
Then, don’t be afraid of giving something up. It seems like a huge sacrifice but your well-being and emotional balance are worth more than any ambition. We’re not telling you to give up on any dreams, but merely telling you to rearrange your plans and deadlines so you can complete everything more calmly.
Organize yourself so that each shift has its own moment
After you define your priorities and understand better what requires more attention in your current life, organize your daily activities so that everything has its own timeframe.
Stress with triple shifts usually arises from excessive worrying. When you think that you can’t do it all, you might get everything mixed up and live on the verge of a collapse.
Have you ever heard that work should stay at work? Well then, when it’s time to be a successful professional, be one. But when you get home, forget all pending issues from the company or extra work and enjoy the company of your children.
Is it hard? Yes, very! But focusing on the present is very useful in the pursuit of balance.
Find the means to adjust one or more shifts
Now, the golden tip: don’t try to do everything by yourself.
Remember what we said about recognizing your overload?
There’s no use in saying “I’m tired” out loud if you don’t have a practical attitude to solving the problem. First, you need to try to relieve the workload, especially the work that doesn’t depend exclusively on you.
We’re mainly talking about your home and children. Have an honest conversation with your partner and mobilize a fair division of responsibilities:
- Take turns taking the children to school;
- Make a balanced list of domestic chores;
- Establish who will take care of the different monthly bills.
Do you live alone or are you a single parent?
Well, check out what can be outsourced by hiring services: house cleaning, washing and ironing, and school transportation or carpooling. All of a sudden, what seems like an expense — after all, why pay for something you can do yourself? —, ends up being an investment in your quality of life.
How can working parents deal with work overload?
Now, if you’re already intensely overloaded, and even if you follow the aforementioned tips and still feel overwhelmed, we also have a few tips to help you relax:
- Have a hobby: Have ever considered watercolor painting, playing an instrument or a drama course? Learning something new and unpretentious is a good idea;
- Practice a physical activity: It’s good for your body as well as for your mind. How about practicing a sport, doing yoga or learning a martial art? But don’t turn this into another shift in your life. Only do it if you can really take the time for these other activities;
- Forget everything and everyone for a moment: Have you ever felt like getting away from it all? Sometimes, this feeling is welcome! Gift yourself an unexpected trip or a worry-free day off with your friends.
You might think to yourself, “How can I do any of these things if I already have no time for anything else?
We all know that this seems really hard, but the effects are very positive and they’re worth the try. Suddenly, a few hours devoted to your well-being will optimize your routine, since you might end up feeling more productive and focused.
So, is it possible to handle a triple-shift well?
Working parents don’t have to give up on their ambitions. As you’ve seen above, there are ways of dealing with the triple-shift, especially if you can count on your partner, friends or family members.
This isn’t a sign of weakness, but the awareness that you also need to take care of yourself and not only of others. Taking time to take care of oneself can only improve your quality of life and consequently, your family’s too.
Did you enjoy these tips? How do you juggle your busy day? Let us know in the comments!