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#4: The Future of Women at Home and at Work

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SUMMARY

Suri discusses the future of women at home and at work, women’s rights and the importance of choice. Leave a comment, write me a mail, or send me a voice message, all of which you can do on my website at suristahel.com/podcast. 

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SHOW NOTES

Post recording note: This is why I prefer life experience observations, rather than surveys or research sometimes, because data gathering limitations and outdated data sets can give a skewed perspective on reality. In any case, the percentage of seniors that prefer to age at home may be from 70-90% depending on where you read. 

But I’m more interested to know your own personal preferences, and those of your aging parents. Here’s some information about aging in place that you might find useful: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/aging-place-growing-older-home

This episode was made using:

TRANSCRIPT

INTRO: Hi. Welcome back to Doing Things On Purpose, a podcast that empowers women to take charge of their time, health, relationships, and money by doing things on purpose. I’m your host Suri, and I’m so thrilled that you could join me again today. Let’s dive right in. 

SURI: Hi. Welcome back to Doing Things On Purpose, a podcast that empowers women to take charge of their time, health, relationships, and money by doing things on purpose. I’m your host Suri, and I’m so thrilled that you could join me again today. Let’s dive right in. 

Today I’d like to talk about the big and very challenging topic of the future of women at home and in the workplace.

What do women today really want? Last week in episode three, I spoke about how the stories that we tell ourselves can be gently questioned and perhaps shifted to support our goal of creating. More meaningful, intimate relationships with ourselves and those around us so that we can live happier, more meaningful lives.

However, I realize that my views might sound a little old-fashioned or come off as a form of servitude for some of you listening – not that being of service as an individual or even as a business could ever be an undesirable thing to be. 

In any case, I felt that I should mention that I am definitely not against equal rights for women, and all the discussion that stems from that movement. I support women. I just also believe in choice. 

This podcast is for people who want to find happiness in “enough”. The point is, I believe in women’s rights, but I also believe. In choice because that’s the point we’re fighting to have the freedom of choice.

We should have the option of equal treatment, but also the choice to or not to require it in certain parts of our lives, if that’s what best serves us.

I definitely think it’s a worthwhile goal if you feel called to change a situation in your personal life or in your community or your workplace when you see yourself or other people being taken advantage of. 

Do it if it’s something that makes you feel expansive, connected, and energized, that joyful inexhaustible force can move mountains. But be mindful when you are feeling contracted and unconsciously approaching an issue from a defensive or combative stance, because that would be a disservice to both yourself and your cause.

You matter – and I don’t want you to get sick or burnt out like so many people nowadays, from all your effort of trying to “save the world” and worrying. You can be of most use and service when you take care of your own well being first. So get quiet and trust the direction that your gut and your joy is leading you towards. 

I really believe that the world needs all of our collective voices as women to be heard. Let’s paint a picture together of how the future of women in the world could look like in all its variations alongside our fellow men. Let’s not forget about those guys. 

To be honest, I’m not convinced there is one right way. It’s more helpful to aim for our right way. I support the idea that the opportunity should be there for both men and women to thrive in the workplace and at home. But I’m not a believer that everything has to be equal by default or “just because”. That work, parenting and household chores have to be split 50-50 as most articles and newspapers tell us today.

For me, that makes relationships actually feel highly transactional instead of something fluid and collaborative. 

  • Do you really feel that your child, your spouse, or your friends, owe you as much respect, patience, and love as you chose to show them in the past? 
  • Do they owe you all the money and the time that you’ve spent on them? 
  • Do you keep a mental tally of your good deeds expecting something in return?

And what if other people don’t return the favor? Is it then your job to point it out to them to convince them or coerce them into returning the favor? 

If so, it also then begs the question:

  • Who are all the people in your life that you might still owe from the past? 
  • And how many more people might think that you owe them something, but you beg to differ. 

Now we can see how this argument becomes an endless cycle of who’s right and who’s wrong. Who owes who, what. 

I know that it’s tempting to always want things to be fair and square, but it’s the root of so many arguments with our spouse and our children. 

Ask yourself, does thinking about your relationships in this transactional way make you feel happier, or does it make you feel controlling and stressed? 

And what if you chose to let go of this story? How would it feel like if you could find joy simply in the pleasure of giving? We mustn’t forget that we own the choices that we make. We choose to give love, to spend time to trust. 

But if you are running on empty and you’ve been hurt and you’re not joyfully giving at the moment, I would consider taking a break from giving for a while. Just until you can find yourself again, and find that wanting in you again, to give, with no strings attached.

I think if women and men can start to make peace with what we need to do to support ourselves and each other in the different stages of our lives together, we can start to find more purpose and feel more whole and less fragmented. We can then focus our energy and attention on just one or two parts of our lives at a time instead of on so many.

And remember, it’s not forever. Kids grow. We change. Technology and opportunity evolve. 

I think a much more productive and interesting conversation could be around how we personally want work and society to evolve to support both women and men symbiotically. 

Because yes, some moms are driven by their work. They thrive in that environment. But then they might be balanced by a spouse who prefers to be more at home. Is that the family dynamic that also speaks to you? 

And on the opposite side of the spectrum, I know many women who enjoy a close bond with their children and they treasure the time spent slowing down, when their kids are between ages of zero to 8 or 12 – like me.

Even some moms I know who’ve tried dabbling with 20 to 40% part-time work struggle. They suddenly found themselves unable to spend time being involved in their kids’ school activities, which they thought they’d still have time for. But in addition to mushy “mommy brain”, Their attention and energy were just too fragmented in all these different directions.

And there’s also the question of the shifting roles between husband and wife or between spouses. If one spouse had spent 10 years taking care of the home and the other one was in the office… After that point, somehow the roles tend to shift because, you know, the one who stayed at home wants something more, something different. And the one who’s been working wants to stay home more. 

So what does that look like? What could that look like? 

I think overwhelmed women and men today are just looking for a solution that works. But instead of pointing fingers and expecting politicians or researchers, or psychologists to find the answer for us, I think we can also be part of the solution and test things out in our own lives.

Because it’s one thing to create systems and make theories about how things should work, and it’s another thing to actually do it, execute it. And find out if it actually works. 

I was speaking to a mom recently who worked in a hospital. The hospital wanted to make part-time work possible for the nurses, but in her case, there were just not enough women nurses signing up to fill the long roster needed to allow for uninterrupted workflow, powered by part-time workers. So why the lack of interest? 

Maybe many women actually prefer to stay at home with their young children and be independently flexible. So what kinds of jobs would be conducive to that? Help me fill in the blank. 

Then there’s also the suggestion that women should be paid while they stay at home to care for their family or aging parents.

And by the way, nearly 90% of seniors say they wish to stay in their own homes as they age – and eventually we’ll be one of those seniors.

How do we accommodate that? 

  • Does it mean that big business or our working spouses would need to pay higher taxes so the state can then afford to compensate, stay-at-home caregivers?
  • How can the state and big business profit from having happier citizens with better health, lower divorce rates, less youth delinquency, less burnout, and less mental health issues in general?

I think if we can put these two pieces together, then maybe we can propose a system that’s a win-win. So what are your thoughts?

Please let me know. I’m super interested. Leave a comment, write me a mail, or send me a voice message, all of which you can do on my website at suristahel.com/podcast.

OUTRO: That’s all I have for you today. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is Suri on Doing Things on Purpose. If you enjoyed this episode, please remember to do three things:

  1. Share your thoughts on how you want the future of women to look like by sending me a voice message or writing in at suristahel.com/podcast. 
  2. Subscribe, share with a friend and rate this show five stars if you find it helpful. 
  3. Check out the Resources section on my website for my cheat sheets to life. 

You can also consider joining my newsletter for personal updates that I don’t share anywhere else. Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you next time.

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