Oh how I laughed when I read “The More Women Earn, the Sicker They Feel.” There I was, sitting on my couch surrounded by cough drops, vitamin C tablets, bottled water, and tissues. Feeling lousy, but still typing away at my laptop so as not to fall behind on personal and professional deadlines.
Despite my efforts in a previous blog to outline tips on how to ward off that winter cold, I succumbed to a sinus nose-dive and have been trying to climb out of what feels like a black hole of sluggish productivity ever since. I sympathize with the researchers’ findings, which correlate higher levels of education and corporate ladder climbing with poorer health. As one researcher so aptly put it: “Ten years ago, no one would have talked about this. ‘Suck it up, shut up, go have your migraine in the bathroom.’ I don’t think they’re calling in sick because quite frankly they can’t. They’re all working second shifts [caring for their families after they come home from work each day].”
Amen, sister! No matter what level of income and education you have, I think women are by and large innate people pleasers, anxious not to let anyone down – ever. Combine this with our superhero-like multitasking capabilities, and the mere thought of letting illness sideline us raises our hackles in defiance. Who among us has said, “I’m not going to let this 102-degree fever get in the way of delivering this slide deck on time. I’ll just work from home.” Or, “I’m sure this migraine will pass. I’ll drive the hour to work and power through,” only to realize halfway there that the super-sized headache is actually impairing your vision, making you a danger to yourself and everyone in your path? But I digress.
At the end of the day, the more responsibility you take on, whether at work or home, leaves you juggling more tasks, which in turn leaves you feeling like the world will fall apart if even one of those balls drops to the ground. Thus, you power on, getting the kids to school, putting in a full work day, and then trying your best to engage in family time afterwards.
There’s no simple fix to this. It’s no secret that women need to cut themselves some slack and say “no” a little more often. Men need to help out more around the house, and all of us probably need to focus a tad less on being successful and more on the wellbeing of our family. As for me, I’ll slap a smile on my face and be grateful for the many opportunities I have, especially those that enable me to maintain the work-life balance I crave. Secretly, I’m kinda glad I have a good excuse to finally get at least eight hours of sleep tonight. Stay well, dear readers!