How many of us have left the pandemic unscathed? From gained weight to broken marriages – extended lockdowns have piled on the pressure. Mental well-being is one of the major casualties and time away from social connections, gyms and the arts has meant more creativity has been needed when it comes to staying sane.
Louisa Herridge, 41 from Warrington is a women’s mindset and empowerment coach, writer, speaker, survivor and leader of the Mamas Ignited movement. Louisa is on a mission to help women, especially those who have suffered trauma (as she has) to find their spark, so that they can turn up the dial on living lives they actually love.
Here she explores how old stereotypes of gender disparity seem to be coming back round full circle…and offers some tips on how to re-adjust the balance if you’re a mum juggling it all.
Women doing it for themselves….and everyone else
Startling statistics are beginning to emerge about the intense knock-on effect of Covid-19 on the child care and household roles between men and women.
The fight for equality is no-longer about women being accepted in a male dominated work space, but in fact the ability to have roles shared equally in the home, without the expectations that women will ALWAYS bear the brunt of childcare. Lockdown has held up a mirror to family set ups and has highlighted a huge imbalance nationwide.
In an article with The Guardian, Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, told Guardian reporter, Natasha Walter. “There is no pay gap, there is no glass ceiling, until women have children,” – then the glass ceiling is brought in by not just employers but partners…as mums take on the juggle struggle.
A Mumsnet survey of more than 1,500 women found that 79% agreed that “responsibility for home schooling fell largely to me” and 77% agreed that “it was impossible for me to work uninterrupted” when schools closed.*
One ONS survey last year, found that women took on 78% more childcare than men during the first lockdown and that 67% of women compared with 52% of men were taking charge of their children’s education at home.
The juggle is real
More than ever, women are doing it all. The statistics clearly show that women are more likely to be having to accommodate time for homeschooling in the day, meaning that many are working late into the evening. Several publications have highlighted that we are at risk of significantly setting back equality. The Fawcett Society has reported that women were more likely than men to lose work or be burdened with childcare in the crisis. However, it is not just jobs that are at risk, but women’s mental health – and this is what concerns me more.
As reported in Forbes*, CARE have conducted global research and found a massive disparity. 27% of women had reported increase in challenges in relation to mental illness. This compared to 10% of men. So where does this leave us? Children are returning to school but with the truth weighing heavily – roles are still not equal for many men and women.
So what to do about all this?
Set your non-negotiable
The mum juggle will continue and the onus is now more than ever on us as women to set our non-negotiables. It is up to us to bring in some balance. In 2021 equality isn’t just about women doing men’s jobs. The new gender equality is about deciding on roles within the home that are formed by communication and compromise rather than expectation. So, if equality is being compromised then who is to blame?
Generations of expectation and acceptance may need to be challenged with difficult conversations, but in the here and now as we begin to crawl out of the wreckage of 2021, I am passionate about women, now more than ever prioritising their well-being and mental health – as otherwise burn-out will be waiting.
Time to Ignite
Taking time for ‘you’ can be the maker rather than the breaker. Instilling a simple mindfulness routine to your day can give you the space and time to be. As a solo-mum that has re-ignited her life following an abusive relationship, I am well-aware of the need to prioritise ‘you-time’. Following the recovery from my breakdown and living with PTSD, I created a signature system to support other mums like me who may be suffering from anxiety, stress, depression or the impact of traumatic events.
Ignite your Spark
I sparked into action and by creating, using and embodying the Ignite system I have managed the juggle struggle of the pandemic and will be emerging like a butterfly – calm and serene and ready to rediscover the beauty of the world.
When we tap into our five elements, we can ignite the women we desire to be- and from here we take back control. When we feel more in control our lives are more purposeful, and we are more powerful to then re-address any imbalance, that is occurring.
If we want to do it all we are more than capable, if we have to do it all (as a single parent) we are more than capable, BUT if we don’t want to/don’t have to do it all, maybe it’s time to hold the mirror up and make some changes?
Author – Louisa Herridge –Mamas Ignited
She inspires mums by tapping into her own experiences and showing women how they can become ignited in self-belief, confidence and empowered to take control of their own lives with passion and purpose.