Friday, March 14, 2008

Women and Self caretaking

Generally women are thought of as caretakers. There are innumerable studies and analyses about why we have this general view of women as caretakers, but for brevity we’ll just take it as a general observation and perception.

Being a caretaker and taking care of people and things is not a bad thing. The issue is rather to what lengths does a caretaker go in taking care? There are many subtle slippery slopes that tempt a caretaker to imperceptibly shift from a balance of caring for self and caring for others appropriately.

This is likely to be read by women who are from widely different ages and stages of life and even stages of motherhood. That said; it is still important to take time to assess, with a trusted outsider if needed, your caretaking activities. The most basic piece of information a woman needs at every stage of her life is a check on whether she is taking appropriate care of herself. She also needs to check up on whether she is hindering the growth and responsibility of others through her caretaking activities on their behalf.

Caretaking encompasses a wide array of activities, some are common like meal preparation but some are less so like making the finances work when they really don’t. Some caretaking activities are necessary for specific times or ages, like getting up for work or school, that should at some point become the responsibility of the individual. Another issue with these caretaking activities is that the caretaker too often assumes more and more responsibility for others’ care while shaving time and energy from self-care activities.

It would probably be safe to assume that many of the women reading this have probably not checked up on their caretaking activities and whether they are taking appropriate care of themselves recently, if ever. So this week’s task has two parts.

First, write down what you think would be involved if you were taking adequate care of you in all areas and about how much time each would take over the week: physical (sleep, food, exercise, and health), emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social and financial.

Second, write down all the caretaking activities you do for everyone and everything else – at home and outside the home – and how much time it takes over the week.

A word of warning is offered because no one will have a 50:50 balance between the two lists and that is not the point. The point is; are you taking care of other people and things to the minimization or exclusion of yourself?

To refer back to the previous post on Net worth, if you are not taking appropriate care of your personal financial status it will likely show up as a zero or near-zero personal net worth balance. But there are other evidences as well, such as: how old are your glasses, or your shoes? When did you spend a night away from home and not at a relative’s home? And the list could go on but I think you get the point.

This is your assignment should you choose to accept it. Leave a comment but please keep them in general terms to protect your privacy.

Other posts in the series:

1. Mommy tracking

1a. Exit strategy

2. Dreams

3. Net worth

1 comment:

chelle said...

Ok never good to look too closely at this too soon! Since we have a baby in the house, that really truly is dependent on me for life, I am not taking care of myself enough. However, as time passes I will be taking more time. Sometimes I find it hard to even have the energy to take the time to take the care that would give me more energy ... hehe