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Women Carry the World on Their Shoulders

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For most women, having it all is something to aspire to. We want a career, love, family and children.

If we do have all of these things in our lives, we often end up bearing the weight of job responsibilities, love, child rearing and household chores largely on our own.

For single moms, this is not an option. We are the sole caretakers and sometimes have no family in the area or extra income to pay for childcare.

For those of us in relationships, there can be exceptions to this scenario, or a shared partnership, but often there is an an unspoken expectation that if you are female, you are going to follow through.

In a poignant and cutting edge piece on 20/20 last night, Elizabeth Vargas followed a drinking mom into rehab where she was granted unprecedented permission to film. (Learn more about this outstanding piece of journalism:

To watch the drinking mom in this segment open up about the intense pressure they feel to put their significant others, their children, their households and their jobs before their own physical, mental and emotional well being was truly eye opening.

Like Atlas, the God with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and Venus, the Goddess of love, we so often feel compelled to hold everything aloft, not only well, but kindly, lovingly.

Thoughts around feminist ideology and a sharing of power surface and resurface. How will things change?

For many of us, doing everything "right" by our families is our top priority; we want to see our loved ones well cared for and nurtured.

For others of us, we see there isn't any choice. The dangers of addiction and self-sabotage are ones that lurk in this world of choicelessness, this place where we feel imprisoned by our love and responsibilities. Ask for help! The self-help gurus shout this from the rooftops. After a lifetime of conditioning, this is often easier said than done.

As the culture shifts and shifts again, I say more affordable childcare and increased support for parents would be something to look at seriously. How can we be Atlas/Venus continually without a little support now and again?

Add a Comment1 Comments

I agree with you. Moms carry the entire family around with them all day. You worry about the kids, the mortgage, your husband, and world peace, all the while trying to get everything that needs to get done done. I've found myself with an empty nest this past year but it didn't make many things easier except laundry. I'm also trying to do more things for myself including starting a community forum for women in menopause. It has turned into a great way of connecting with other women who have some of the same issues I do.

May 11, 2010 - 9:20am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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