3 Things that Keep Women Overwhelmed, Stuck, and Feeling Anxious

Think about the last time you felt overwhelmed. Maybe it was last week. Maybe yesterday. Perhaps you feel that way right now.

I know for myself, I’m really good at recognizing the immediate cause of my stress and anxiety. Like, I have to be at an appointment in fifteen minutes, but I have to load the dishwasher, run a kid to practice, and drop off the house payment before the appointment. I recognize that I’m feeling stressed because I have too many things to do in too little time.

What’s more difficult is uncovering the underlying conditioning and expectations that put me on the stressed-out hamster-wheel in the first place. Expectations like:

  • It’s my job to keep the house clean and tidy.
  • My kids need to be involved in sports and activities in order to be happy and healthy.
  • If my kids aren’t happy and healthy, then I’m a bad mother.
  • Not paying bills on time makes me fiscally irresponsible and a bad person.
  • Being late for an appointment makes me irresponsible and not trustworthy.
  • And on, and on, and on.

The truth is that our day to day tasks are not the source of stress in most of our lives. It’s the underlying and overwhelming expectations that go along with those tasks. Those subtle and prevalent expectations keep you stuck, overwhelmed, and feeling bad about yourself.

Doctor Stephen Hinshaw called it “the problem with no name.” He went on to study, explore, and name the pressures at work on teen girls and women in American society. In his book The Triple Bind, Hinshaw shows how three major factors create a societal pressure cooker for women and girls.

Expectation #1: Be good at all the traditionally female stuff.

Used to be if you could bake a decent loaf of bread and keep your floors swept, you were winning at being a woman. In the era of blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram, this is no longer the case. Not only are women expected to be nurturing, kind, understanding, and to place others’ needs above their own, they are expected to throw themed birthday parties, maintain an immaculate home where every room is decorated to perfection, plan a month of freezer meals, take professional-quality photographs, dress like a hipster, and work out every day.

Of course, women are also expected to be good daughters, to take care of aging parents, make those parents proud, and bring honor to their families.

Women are expected to be good wives, to understand, support, and help their husbands. Women are expected to be good mothers, to make sure that their kids are mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. Moms are expected to shuffle kids from one activity to the next, provide cookies for the bake sale, be involved in PTO, and help out at everything from dances to track meets.

I’m not saying that being a good daughter, wife, and mother is a bad thing. I’m saying that the expectation of what it takes to BE a good daughter, wife, and mother has multiplied exponentially, so that no matter how much you give to these roles, you still feel like a failure.

Expectation #2: Be good at all the traditionally male stuff.

So, let’s say you COULD master all of the traditionally females stuff listed above. Well, in today’s society, it’s not enough. Women are not only expected to be good at all the traditionally female stuff, now we are expected to be good at all the guy stuff, too.

Girls are expected to get good grades, win admission to top colleges, be competitive in sports. As women we are expected to get good jobs, work hard for our employers while balancing our roles as wife, mother, and daughter. We are expected to manage money, save, and invest, while travelling the world (and cataloging our vacays on social media).

Women are expected to mentally and emotionally strong, to lead, to manage, and make tough choices. Do you see how this directly contradicts the expectations placed on us to be nurturing, kind, and cooperative?

When women are expected to fulfill to contradictory roles at the same time, it places us in constant turmoil. No matter what you excel at, you’re failing at something. No matter how much you accomplish, you can’t be all things. In the early 90’s Dr. Mary Pipher called this the double bind, and she showed how it was devastating to the mental health of women and girls.

Fast forward twenty years. Things haven’t gotten better. They have gotten worse because now we have the addition of the third and most difficult part of the Triple Bind.

Expectation #3: Conform to an ever-narrowing standard of thin, hot, and sexy, while making it look effortless.

This is the most insidious part of the Triple Bind because it is impossible for nearly everyone. Not only are you supposed to be good at all the traditionally feminine roles AND the traditionally masculine roles, but you must fill those roles while looking like a supermodel, wearing a size 2, and without “trying too hard” because that makes you look desperate.

No, women are supposed to have effortless perfection, and BTW, we are not supposed to KNOW when we are beautiful.

This. Is. Madness.

Knowledge is power, and the more women understand the overwhelming, contradictory, and ridiculous expectations being placed on us, the more able we are to redefine ourselves in authentic ways.

The Triple Bind is what keeps women feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and anxious. It is this way because we have allowed society to define us. We didn’t trade one role for another, we just had more baggage heaped on our backs until we crumbled. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

There is a solution to the Triple Bind. The solution is for women to redefine themselves, to create authentic identities, and to begin living from the inside out.

This is what the Priceless and Feminine Project is all about. It’s about education. It’s about empowerment. It’s about all of us finding authentic and lasting joy in being the women we were meant to be.

Thank you so much for following along on this journey. I know you know other women who are feeling dis-empowered, stuck, and anxious. Please do them a favor, and share this movement with them. We are stronger when we stand together.

If you haven’t done so already, click here to join the movement.

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Do You Know How Amazing You Are?

Hello!

Welcome to the Priceless & Feminine Project. My goal is to inspire, uplift, educate, and empower women of all ages.

I’m tired of seeing brilliant, talented, and amazing women live in a constant state of self-doubt and feeling like they are never enough. There’s been a lot of talk about enoughness. All over the Internet there are memes proclaiming, “You are enough.” Pop stars sing, “You are enough.” You can buy tee shirts and planners and posters that all tell you, “You are enough.”

I don’t think you’re “enough” and here’s why. Enough is inherently devaluing. It implies you were supposed to be something more, and you only got part way there. It’s like saying, “I wanted $1000. I got $600. I guess it’s enough.”

You’re not enough. You’re freaking amazing. You are already everything you are supposed to be.

·         If you’ve ever survived a night with a colicky baby, you’re amazing.

·         If you’ve ever showed up to a job you hated so your kids could eat, you’re amazing.

·         If you are balancing a career, a home, and a family, you’re amazing.

·         If you’ve ever lived in the same house with a teenager and survived, you’re amazing.

·         If you’ve suffered loss, abandonment, divorce, or death, and you’re still here, surviving and breathing, you’re amazing.

·         If you’ve pulled yourself out of bed when you were depressed and anxious and you didn’t think you could face another day, you’re amazing.

Stop telling yourself you are enough. You’re not JUST enough. You are far more than that.

The truth is, you decide how you feel about yourself. You decide if you spend your days focused on faults and feeling let down because you couldn’t do more, or if you focus on all the good you have done and the things you DID accomplish. You decide who you are, and everyone else follows your lead.

So, as we embark on this journey of empowerment together, do me a favor. Decide today that you will choose happiness, no matter what comes your way. Decide to have confidence, even if you don’t know how to change your thought patterns. Decide to have faith in the good in the world. Decide to love and build up the women around you.

Together we can change the world.

Click the icons below to share this message with a friend. Let’s help all women feel amazing!

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Why Are the Teen Years so HARD on Moms?

In this little video I’m talking about why the teen years are so hard for moms and some advice to make these years easier on you.

As moms, we sacrifice so much for our kids. Then they hit their teens, and they begin to pull away. It is common for moms to struggle, and I have some tips on making these years more joyful.

First, you must understand that it’s not your kids’ job to make you happy. Notwithstanding your sacrifices, your kids’ teen years are very self-focused. It’s normal and it is essential to them creating their own identities. So, how do you cope?

You must realized that no one can make you unhappy without your permission. Likewise, no one can make you happy unless you choose to create happiness in your life. This is my challenge to you today.

  1. Decide that you are completely responsible for your own happiness.
  2. Stop and think about what makes you happy. If you don’t know, spend some time finding out.
  3. Inject FUN into your life. Do something just because it brings you joy.

Once you take complete responsibility for your own happiness, you move into an empowered place. When you live from that empowered place, your daughter sees what that looks like and learns from your example that SHE is also in control of her own happiness, not that boy, not that grade, not that school, and certainly not you. You are not responsible to make your teen happy.

Don’t forget to click over to our Facebook group and tell me your thoughts.

Michelle

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Are your problems just beginning?

Today I’m talking about how to begin early preventing risky behaviors in your teens. Click to watch.

Note: The sound and picture are misaligned. My apologies.

A couple of important take-aways:

  1. Teens see themselves as adults, so “what is okay for you is okay for me” in their minds.
  2. Teens will model your behavior–good and bad.
  3. The Law of Magnification- Teens lack the ability to regulate behaviors, so think of them taking your bad habit and 10x it.

Raising a strong, healthy teen starts with you. It’s never too late to set a goal, give up a bad habit or begin a good habit. I know you can do it. You may need support.

If you want 1:1 help dealing with a particular issue with your teen, you can get a complementary coaching session from me. Click here to sign up.

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Wonderful Workshops

open bookLast week was awesome. I held a free workshop on hooks & stakes at our local library, and we had a full house. Not only that, I saw lots of new faces. That means that word is getting out. Our local writing community is reaching more people and bringing them into the writing fold, which makes me very happy.

So now… [drumroll]…

I’m offering an intensive, two-day novel-writing workshop.

Why? Simple.

I spent too much time writing badly.

I cranked out five novels while reading various craft books and attending conferences. I felt like the advice I got was hit and miss. I wanted a more comprehensive, interactive learning environment for writing the novel. I signed up for an MFA program, which was a chunk of cash.

I don’t want you to have to pay $40k to learn the craft of the novel. I’m bringing you all the best lessons I’ve learned over the past decade and boiling them down to 16 hours.

I’m also hard at work writing a workbook to go along with the class. And we’re going to have fun!

So, save yourself thousands of dollars and a decade of bad drafts and sign up for this two-day workshop here.

 

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