Why do we have to do a) b) and c) before we can have a break? Why do women have an internal reward system?!
I just need to load the dishwasher, then I’ll be with you. Oh and I best tidy up the little lady’s toys too, before I get to it.
Still there? I’m coming honest, just one minute!
I just need to quickly run upstairs, hoover up, stick a load of washing in blah, blah, blah.
Why do we do it?
Why DO we do it?
Is it me?
Am I the only bonkers woman around to work to my own internal reward system?
Please say I’m not. Help me feel a little normal I beg of you!
Do you work like this, indeed operate like this, on a daily basis?
Do you say things to yourself like: “I’m gasping for a cuppa and a biscuit, but until the entire ground floor of this house is spotless, I won’t sit down.
“Until I’ve ran my Mum back and answered the five texts I received this morning, I’m not having a break.”
“Yes I know I’m knackered but just 10 or so minutes and then I’ll stop.”
Or, do you recognise any of these:
“If I work hard all week, I’ll treat myself to a glass of wine on Friday night.”
“If I earn more money this month from my freelancing, I might just treat myself to that pair of shoes I’ve lusted after for months.”
“If I loose a couple more pounds this week, then I might go and buy myself a bikini. And if I lose a bit more, hey, I may even wear it!”
The reward system.
A reward system that plays out in our minds, that says we can only do something good or have something good for ourselves, if we earn it.
If we do all the hard work first. And more besides.
Reward systems, personal brownie points or whatever you want to call it, they’re not all bad. We all kinda know this right? In fact, in some ways, they can be really good for us.
If we bought a new pair of heels every week even though our finances are limited, that would be stupid wouldn’t it? Reckless even?
And there’s nothing like splashing out on yourself after you’ve put yourself through the ringer, worked your funky socks off or achieved something marvellous.
Rewards can and should be wonderful things.
But it’s the daily miniscule reward system I have a problem with. The one that operates in my head from the time I get up in the morning to the time I go to bed.
It’s the one that tells me, I’m not allowed to take a break, until I’ve done x, y, z and quite possibly the rest of the alphabet first.
Am I alone in this? Maybe.
Although after chatting to a few pals of mine, it seems I’m not. They too seem to run this internal reward system around their marvellous minds.
They too are hard on themselves.
They too, need to do, do and DO some more, before they will ‘allow’ themselves something as ordinary, as sitting down and putting their feet up with a cup of tea. For five minutes.
Five minutes. That is all.
And yet to ‘earn’ that five minutes, we tell ourselves before we can have it, we have to put in hours of graft first.
So you see I don’t think I am alone unfortunately.
And when I look at my husband and his behaviour, I know for sure that he certainly doesn’t think like me.
He doesn’t have to earn a break. If he wants one, he damn well takes one!
He doesn’t have to earn a cup of tea and slice of cake. If he wants one, he just pops the kettle on, settles down and tucks in!
He doesn’t work himself to the point of exhaustion before he goes to bed. If he’s tired he goes for a nap!
As easy as that. No apologies. No regret. No problem.
He is brilliant at putting his needs first. Sound familiar?
So why can’t women be the same as men in this regard?
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Why oh why are we so appalling at putting our own needs first?
First – before the house work, before the errands, before the fetching and too-ing and throwing after everyone else.
Do we really think we don’t deserve it?
Do we really think we have to do EVERYTHING before we cut ourselves just a little slack?
And if so, where on earth, does this come from?
Because I gotta tell you, personally, I’m sick of it.
Personally, I’m tired of having to carry all this weight on my shoulders.
Personally, I’m beginning to wise up and smell the coffee.
If I, if YOU, continue to operate like this, we will drive ourselves into exhaustion.
We will become bitter towards our loved ones. We’ll become fraught and we’ll become a victim.
And, if we’re not careful, if we don’t start becoming more mindful of our actions, we will look back one day on our crammed, hectic lives and we will be sad. And probably, a little angry.
Because we’ll think of all the times we should have played outside in the garden with our kids, visually feasting on their joy.
We’ll think of all the times we missed out on periods of peace and contemplation.
We’ll think about all the ways we should have treated ourselves better as hot, angry tears spring in our eyes.
I don’t want this to happen.
And I sure as hell, don’t want my daughter to think that this is what women DO. That this is how we ARE.
So today, I’m going to embrace my inner rebel (she’s always there!) and I’m going to ignore the housework.
And when I want a cup of tea, I’m going to make one and actually drink it before it goes cold. That’s going to be such a treat!
No one demands that we do everything. (I hope) Besides ourselves.
No one expects us to do everything. (I hope) Besides ourselves.
No one who loves us wants us to exhaust ourselves or miss the rainbows, because we are too busy battling with our mammoth, no-end-in-sight, to do list. But yet – this is what we are doing.
In fact do you know what? That reward system?
It can go in the ‘no longer’ needed bin.
*Mentally rips up my good girl certificates and points system*
There. That’s better.
Now, just do me a favour will you? Please hide that god damn Sellotape.
Phew. Thank you. Now then, where are those biscuits…
Women of the world! – What do you think? Are you like me? Did you used to be like me? Have you kicked the reward bucket over? Would love to hear all your thoughts on this one x
***Psst – I’m up for a fancy blogging award and would love your vote!
Please vote for ‘Pouting In Heels’ in the BiBs2015 under the WRITER category, if you like my ramblings, rants and words. Thank you! x