Jan 15th

Reality Check for Women

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Maria Shriver published a report this week called The Shriver’s Annual Report on Women in America.  It’s getting a lot of buzz because it contains many important (and sobering) facts about how women are doing from a career, family, and economic standpoint.

I want to take this opportunity to loudly applaud all of the courageous women I know who work so hard each and every day in the name of making a good life for themselves, their children and their families. You inspire me.

Many women are faced with challenging situations that impact every aspect of their lives.  For single parents, there are even more challenges (generally speaking) due to less resources and support.  I have first-hand experience with being a single parent from the time my children were in elementary school.  I was lucky to have the help of loving friends.

What becomes especially burdensome for women is the ideal of perfection that society often demands we achieve.  The reality is there aren’t an infinite amount of hours in the day, and endless amounts of energy.  Forget perfection – it’s one of the single most overrated concepts!   Instead,  do what is reasonable, with a loving attitude, and know that your efforts are enough.  Isn’t it time to stop carrying around a heavy handbag of guilt over too high expectations?

Some women feel sad or ashamed because they don’t manage to put a gourmet meal on the table every evening. This is true for women who have families and those who are just part of a couple.  This is true for women who work in the home, and women who work out of the home.  Many women feel too much responsibility for  getting breakfast set for their children, or dinner on the table at the end of everyone’s busy day.  The reality is there are a lot of ways that your spouses, partners, and children can help get a meal on the table — working together,  in ways that make sense for your family — is possible.

Ask your partner to shop for the ingredients, assign (age appropriate) tasks for your children, such as setting the table, or putting salad ingredients together in a bowl.  A shared-meal does not ever need to be fancy.  Look for simple ideas.  For single mothers, start a rotating pot luck in your neighborhood with other women so you only cook a meal one time a week.  Consider using crockpots frequently, and get help from markets that offer healthy, pre-made (non-processed) foundations for meals, like a roasted chicken, or a vegetable lasagna.

The Shared-Meal Revolution project I developed is about getting everyone involved to help with one meal, one time a day.  It’s not about asking women to put “one more thing” on their schedules.  When everyone works together, a shared meal can become that one cherished part of the day when you feel fully human again.  And not only just human, but fully alive. 

Isn’t that better than “doing it all”?

Positive family preparing lunch together

If you’d like to join The Shared-Meal Revolution, please visit my website: http://www.shared-meals.com

And, if you are interested in reading more about Maria Shriver’s Report, click here:

http://nation.time.com/2014/01/13/11-surprising-facts-about-women-and-poverty-from-the-shriver-report/

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