Issues for women in leadership II - multiple roles

The Virtual Abbess "Abisomeone" has suggested that rather than looking at the whole daunting list of issues for women in leadership, it would be more helpful to explore one issue at a time. That list again:
-Grappling with multiple roles and competing priorities: mother, daughter, wife, friend, Christian leader.
-Finding healthy boundaries.
-Loneliness: there is a need for a supportive peer group outside the local church, having someone who can listen to confidential matters, someone safe to process difficult issues with.
-Finding women mentors and role models can be difficult, especially at more senior levels.
-Some church cultures can be stifling for women… some men have difficulty with women in leadership…. some women "put the brakes" on other women in leadership.
-Recognition, respect, affirmation.
-Internal barriers: "I can't do that", "women can't do that", perfectionist expectations, unrealistic expectations.
-"Invisible woman syndrome" (eg;s women with leadership potential don't get noticed; if a woman says it it's ignored, if a man says it there's a response).
-Access to appropriate training in different life stages.
-Busyness of various life stages: responsibility for young children, responsibility for ageing parents.
-"Double shift" in work /ministry and domestic responsibilities.
-How to pass the baton successfully and to invest in others when already busy.
-Cultural factors that encourage women to be "fluffy"; to be in the background; to not take their leadership seriously.
-Patronising behaviour and jokes.
-Singleness (and divorce) in a church culture where the majority are married can be difficult.
-Christian professional women may get little support or understanding from their local church if not in a recognized "Christian" ministry.
Well, issue number one is a doozy: juggling multiple roles. We all face this.
For myself... I am a wife and mother, a daughter, a sister, friend, and an in-law of a large clan...I am in a paid ministry and multiple volunteer ministries in different contexts. I am a student... (with an overdue essay looming over my head... arggh!!!)... then there's housework, cooking and all the school mumsy stuff...
I can tell I'm feeling under pressure because I started crying yesterday over virtually nothing... no, it's not PMS... but maybe I'm tired because of the change to daylight saving... maybe I'm just disorganised... or am I just plain overloaded?

Well, what about others out there... how do you decide what to do, and what to say "no" to? What matters most to you, so it becomes the highest priority? How do you manage those times when everything seems to concertina upon you at once and you feel your internal stress levels rising?
If you'd like to comment, click on the heading of this post and then type in the box... you can register or be anonymous if you'd rather. I'd love to hear your views on this!


AbiSomeone said…
Nicely done, Janet. I can get my head around one question at a time!

For me, the #1 rule of stress management is always in play: Do I HAVE to do this? If the answer is NO, I don't do it. If the answer is YES, I then ask: Do I have to do it NOW. If the answer is no, I put it aside for something to which I must answer YES.

I have a limited amount of physical strength and there are many things that just don't get done around my house and in my life. I gauge things by whether I have enthusiasm and energy for them. Those are the ones that I feel God is giving my strength to do. And so I do those.

Everything else doesn't even get on the list.

For some, this sounds very harsh...but life is not fair and that's the way it goes with the Abbess!

Thanks, Janet.
Janet Woodlock said…
Harsh, but I like it.

I think I've tended to use the "energy and enthusiasm" paradigm also... that which is life-giving for me is probably in line with my gifts and calling... it's likely to be part of God's invitation to me.

I think I'm not so good on the "pruning" part of a fruitful life though... I can end up with my finger in too many pies, so to speak, by taking new things on and not letting old things go.

Do I have to do it?... Mmmmm... I'll think some more!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for your reflections, Janet, and for inviting us to muse with you. I did not clean my house for friends arriving from Adelaide this evening, but I did work on an article that is not due at the editor's until March and spent some time at the local library -- and that was the right decision! Life is good! Ana Gobledale
Janet Woodlock said…
I think Abisomeone, Ana and I are birds of a feather! I'm not sure everyone is "wired" the same way however.

I'm sure there are women out there whose homes are perpeptually tidy, who function by ticking off their checklists, who use well developed logical strategies to determine their priorities... I want to hear your voice too!

Come to think of it, I'd love you to work on one of my teams!!!! Chaotic souls such as me absolutely love working with organised people.

(I think that confession just about precludes any organised person from putting their hand up).
Janet Woodlock said…
Another thought on the "pruning" note... I'm a bit the same with clothes as I am with activities (queen of the recycle boutique as I am!).

The "organised wardrobe people" will tell you to do a major sort, get rid of everything you haven't worn in the past year, and then never buy anything new without getting rid of an old item.

But alas... my overstuffed wardrobe is a tragic mirror of my overstuffed diary. (Oh, it's not that bad... but you get the idea...)
Janet said…
Janet - can I confess to being a bit of each.

I can be chaotic - very chaotic - for a time. BUT it drains my energy in the long run, and I have to do up the list, and organise my physical surroundings.

However, I didn't discover this about myself until I was in my 30s - and really didn't manage to get it into some form of practice for another 10 years.

I find, when I do organise my physical environment (at the moment, it is my desk and craft area that needs the organisation) I am enervated, and creative, and I immediately pull out new stuff and start on a new round!

I do my best to keep my work desk organised, and unless I am in a frantic rush, try to clean up before leaving at the end of the day. It makes the next day so much easier to start, and know where I have to go.

But it takes discipline - and discipline is something that I find when you put the effort into doing it, the rewards are greater than the effort involved. But sometimes I am lazy... (bummer)

Janet McKinney
Janet Woodlock said…
To be honest, I do like working in a tidy and organised environment too. I just don't like tidying and organising much so I procrastinate it.

Gah... any ideas how I can learn to like tidying and organising? Or do I just have to be disciplined?


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