Imbalance of roles

Imbalance of roles

Census data shows Australian women spend, on average, 5 to 14 hours per week in unpaid domestic work, whereas men spend less than 5 hours a week. Women also spend an additional hour a day looking after children. At an event I was speaking at last night, a mum asked me this question, “I’m working full time and so is my husband, yet I find I’m organizing everything that needs to happen in the home as well as my day job. My husband is involved in picking up and dropping off children and taking them to activities, but the household operation seems to fall to me. We’ve come so far in equality, why are we still experiencing this situation?” It’s a great question and one I hear often. To resolve some of these challenges, working parents look to getting home help, outsourcing household tasks like ironing, cleaning and perhaps sourcing meal services to relieve some of the pressures. However, there is one area that is frequently overlooked that relieves the underlying pressure and addresses this imbalance and it is our unconscious bias. Unconscious bias happens automatically, is outside of our awareness and is triggered by our brain making quick assessments of situations, based on our past experiences, background and culture we grew up in. Unconscious bias has a big role to play in how we are dividing parenting responsibilities. What happens is we see how our parents have done the role and can unconsciously apply the same rules to our parenting today, unless we challenge the bias. Sharon is a client and when we peeled back the layers on...
Choosing wisely

Choosing wisely

When I was young adult and even going into my thirties, I found myself hanging out with the “in” crowd. They were “in” because I didn’t really know myself, so I hung out with people by default. Don’t get me wrong, everyone I hung out I connected with on some level. What I started to realise though, was I didn’t like who I was becoming and it drained my energy. I would: Complain about my children more Bag out my husband and be overly critical of his actions Talk myself down and make fun of myself All were mostly subtle behaviours. I found there was always something to complain about. Until I realised, time and energy spent complaining, is time and energy that can be spent celebrating. Celebrating what is working and focusing there instead. Jim Rohn famously said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” I had to make some conscious decisions that were very difficult to begin with and incredibly lonely at times. I even felt selfish to make decisions that really were best for me. Today those choices have created space to welcome in relationships that are more aligned with my values and ideals and I feel so much more energised as a result. I want my children to be clear on their values and choose relationships that reflect their ideals and values and I know that starts with me. Who do you choose to spend time with? Are your relationships in line with your values? Understanding your values and living by them is level 4 on the Parent...
Decision Fatigue

Decision Fatigue

What’s for dinner tonight? Can I go to my friends house on Friday?  What do I need to get from the grocery store? Who will take kids to activity on Wednesday evening when I’m working late? Do I want toast for breakfast? The number of decisions working parents make daily is overwhelming.  It’s no wonder we are mentally fatigued. Whilst the majority of focus is often placed on your physical energy, ensuring adequate sleep, food and exercise.  The mental energy you consume plays an equally important role in your daily thriving. There are 6 types of decision-making strategies: Quick – make an impulsive decision to get it done and you don’t need to think about it Easy Street – what decision will create the least amount of resistance from children or others Off load – delegating or passing the decision to a trusted person Head in sand – avoiding or ignoring the decision Weighing up –  balancing the various perspectives before making a decision. First things first – prioritising decisions that have the most impact. When it comes to parenting and working, addressing first things first enables you to create mental availability for children, relationship, work and time for yourself. The more we can focus on the the decisions with the most impact the better our productivity and daily quality of life.  Stephen Covey talks about this concept in his book, First Things First. He says for long term success, organise and execute around your most important priorities. It’s estimated, adults make an average of 35,000 decisions per day and children 3,000. A recent study by Cornell University estimates we...
‘Shoulding’ depletes your energy

‘Shoulding’ depletes your energy

There was a time when making dinner was something I had to do. It wasn’t a choice. I believed it was what a good mother and a good Indian wife ‘should’ do. I also believed I should do the dishes before relaxing in the evening. And some other ‘shoulds’ were, keeping my house tidy at all times and arranging social catch ups every weekend. A ‘should‘ is an unconscious rule we play in our mind of what we can and can’t do and what we should and shouldn’t do. It dominates where we place our focus, time and energy. As a working parent, shoulds can hold you back from spending time with those important to you, like your partner, because the chores need to be done. They can keep you spending precious hours on the weekend, cleaning your home before guests arrived so that it looks ‘presentable’.  They can mean you fill your weekends with social activity leaving little time to be present with children. None of these things are wrong in themselves, however when they are not a conscious choice and being done on autopilot, there is a strong possibility you may not prioritising what’s really, really important to you. As working parents, we are striving to operate in a smarter way. Auditing your list of shoulds can help release mental energy and help you focus your time and energy where it matters most. “You have to decided what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly-smilingly, non-apologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’...
Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure

I’ve just been asked to do a last minute national radio interview in the morning. My first time for live radio. It’s in my area of expertise and a topic I am comfortable with and have a strong opinion on. Even so, when I looked at the line up and the people I would be speaking with, there is an Innovation Expert and a person with multiple PHDs (at least that’s what I’m telling myself!)  and me. My inner voice had a few things to say, “What have I got to offer?” “What value to do I bring?” Then I pictured myself saying something stupid and screwing up. Only this time and for a long time now, I catch the inner voice, smile at those images and then replace them with better ones. ​​​​​​​“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”, Albert Einstein As parents we do the best we can. There is no doubt we will screw up at some time or another. The question is what might you NOT do because you think you might screw up? It can be perceived as bad to have a fear of failure. It’s worse when you fear your fear of failure. By making fear of failure your friend, you get to hang out together and who knows, you may find yourself in new territory. I’ll be hanging out with my fear of failure tomorrow and giving something new a go. Join...