Thursday, October 22, 2020

Why Women Sacrifice Self Care for Chores

Self-care might be a popular buzzword, but that doesn't mean that it's always embraced. Women, in particular, tend to let self-care fall to the wayside, prioritizing household chores and other commitments. But, by spending their time cooking or picking up pet waste instead of putting themselves first, these women are facing a much greater sacrifice.

Sacrifice & Care-Taking

Why Women Sacrifice Self Care for Chores

One of the most significant societal constructs that keep women from embracing self-care is their expected roles of wife and mother. In the perceived ideal of both of these roles, there is a strong emphasis on self-sacrifice or "mommy martyrdom." From the first trimester through the rest of her life, a mother is expected to put her child's comfort and safety above her own. It's practically a societal obligation that she forgoes her own well-being, much less a self-care regimen, in the name of caring for her child or children.

But it isn't just the responsibilities of motherhood or family life that present this constrain. Women are met with conventional standards and expectations to care for others throughout their lives and in their various roles. The perfect woman cares for her family, stays one step ahead at work, plays therapist to her friends, and maintains a spotless home, ready for guests to drop by at a moment's notice. In every aspect of her life, it's assumed that she'll err on the side of self-sacrifice. With or without children, women are expected to care for those around them before they even consider taking care of themselves.

At its simplest, women are expected to meet a stereotype: there's just no time for self-care. After all, going shopping isn't just an hour at her favorite department store. If she doesn't already shop, she might not even have a favorite store—by the time she searches for "women's clothes near me" and finds a store that meets her budget and needs, she's used up her kids' naptime. And, when dishes need to be done, dinner needs to go in the oven, and dusting's been put off a whole month too long, that time is precious.

The Importance of Self-Care

Chances are, you already know that self-care is important. You might laugh and think, "Gee, I'd love to sit in the bathtub with a glass of wine and a good book every night. But who has the time?" If you care about your well-being—and that of your loved ones—you'll make that time.

As the popular adage explains, you can't pour from an empty cup. If you aren't taking care of yourself—opting for quick foods (or skipping meals) or cutting back on sleep in favor of chores—your health will eventually suffer. Multi-tasking can only get you so far—you might be super mom, but you're still human.

Stopping the Sacrifice Cycle

You want to be around for your children, family, or the other people in your life for as long as possible, right? By making the effort to prioritize self-care, you can help ensure that you're around for many years to come. Research some simple self-care ideas and choose one or two to try when you have even just a few minutes to spare. Communicate with your partner, roommates, or others in your life to make sure tasks are being split fairly, regardless of gender roles or societal norms— if you're cooking dinner, couldn't you let your spouse load the dishwasher? If you live alone or otherwise need an extra hand, ask a friend if they'd be willing to lend a hand with some of the chores you're struggling with.

Hate cleaning up after fluffy? A quick search for "dog poop removal Algonquin IL" will lead you to Scoop Troop, a company that'll keep your lawn feces-free while you take a few extra minutes to take care of yourself. Research that new clothing store while you're at it and enjoy some shopping-centric "me time!"

Realizing that you're sacrificing self-care in favor of chores and other responsibilities is the first step towards breaking that cycle. Whether you talk to your spouse about managing expectations, hire a professional to help with certain chores (and give you more free time), or consciously take advantage of free moments in your day, you can stop sacrificing your own well-being and stick around for a long, happy life.

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