Women in earlier days had only household chores. Now after pursuing a career, they are doubly burdened. Even though they are achieving great success in career, they are finding it difficult to balance their family and work. This puts them under a lot of stress leading to more physical and psychological issues nowadays.
What do we mean by balance for better? The three key strategies for a better tomorrow for women are to plan, to take help from family and finally press for progress. The responsibility of looking after the house and children has been imposed on women by society. Most of the work in the houses are considered gender stereotypes and are done only by women. This should change, and we should be moving to a gender-balanced society both at home and workplace.
Women are very committed to whatever they do. So, they tend to overburden themselves both at home and work. This leads to both physical and mental exhaustion and aging very early in life. We should not become a victim of “Super Mom” or “Superwomen” syndrome. We must learn to delegate the work, encourage and enforce family members and children to share household work and outside chores from the beginning. Women should learn to say “NO” and “I can’t” when overburdened and should not feel guilty if we are unable to meet others realistic or unrealistic expectations.
The expectation bar we keep for ourselves should be lowered for a more relaxed life. Women should have time to themselves each day for relaxation of their mind and body. This time is not for self-reflection, planning or improvement but just to relax. Women should avoid making themselves the center of the family. Children should be brought up in a way to love and respect mothers and not entirely dependent on them.
Women should be diligent in choosing the right profession, appropriate workplace and timing so that they can spend quality time with their family and at the same time progress in their career. Discrimination in providing jobs or higher positions to women should not be practiced because of their family constraints. Employers should be more accommodative and considerate and provide support to women employees to cope better.
In the race of achieving success in career and balancing family, women have neglected their health. More and more health problems are emerging, and women tend to suffer in silence. In India, medical care for women is increasing to a large extent. Although many well-woman checkups are widely available, we are facing two important issues. Firstly, women are hesitant to seek health care despite availability.
Secondly, many women in rural areas are unaware and don’t have access to health facilities. The need of the hour is being open to discuss the health concerns and seek help at the appropriate time. The family should be caring and proactive to encourage women to seek health care. The society should remember that if a woman falls sick, it affects not just her but the whole family.
The main reasons for rising health concerns in women are due to inappropriate diet, lack of exercise, stress and environmental factors. Women should concentrate on eating a healthy balanced diet, avoiding junk food not just to help themselves but be a role model for their kids. Many women use the excuse of lack of time to exercise but this can be avoided by planning our work in such a way that exercise becomes a daily routine. Maintaining an ideal body weight will help to tackle most of their medical problems.
Doing regular yoga and meditation will help to de-stress and recharge their energy for the rest of the day’s work. Eating right, moderate exercise and sleeping well are the key for a peaceful and happy life. Thus, it is not just about praising the achievements of a woman but to appreciate the daily routine done by her tirelessly in addition to her career and lend her a helping hand so that she can have some time for herself, look after her health and enjoy her life.
(Mathangi Rajagopalan is the Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Birthright By Rainbow Children’s Hospitals, Guindy, Chennai)