Don’t Do It All, Do This Instead

Jodi Detjen | The Shriver Report

Yes, the world needs to change.  Public policy, many men and workplaces all could change to be more supportive of women.  But we are not solely at their mercy, waiting for these external changes.

We, too, can make change to help ourselves.  For starters, we can decide to let go of the striving to be an ideal woman and be us.

What do I mean?  My co-authors and I interviewed 118 women (college-educated, predominantly middle class) about their life and careers.  Most of these women talked about how they do it all  – just like we heard about on Today.   What we saw in their stories were women making daily decisions about their lives and jobs based on living up to an externally defined view of what ideal women do.  The ideal woman?  She does it all, she looks good, and she is very nice (adapted from research by Kathy Oneto).

So instead of being who we want to be, do what we want to do, instead of giving to ourselves (the proverbial oxygen mask), we sacrifice “us.”   We give up “us” in pursuit of an ideal that simply does not exist. Continue Reading…

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