Do you find yourself struggling to juggle your career, household and family? You’re not alone.
According to a new study, the average Australian woman is so busy she can spend only 5% of her time each week catching up with friends.
On a mission to help women find balance in their lives, The Baileys Make The Time Report surveyed 671 women across Australia to uncover why we have so little time for ourselves.
• Australian women are incredibly busy, juggling 5 to 6 different roles daily
• 78% of women with young children (under 11) say they do not have enough time to do what they want
• 68% of all women say they do not have enough time to do what they want
• 81% of Australian women would like to make a change to their life
Chores Top the List
On average, Aussie women spend only 8% of their week doing the things they enjoy. In particular, women with children under 12 have numerous household, family and work commitments and put these responsibilities first, making it difficult to find time for themselves
• 39% of respondents claim being a mother is the most challenging role, followed by managing the household (16%)
Stress Levels High
Alarmingly, the survey found that stress of varying causes is worrying women on a constant basis, and affecting the happiness of 1 in 2 them. Not surprisingly, the study found that 59% of respondents turn to their female friends first and foremost for support, so why are they investing so little of their time in these important relationships?
Social commentator Dr Rebecca Huntley says: “If you currently feel that you don't have enough close friends in your life, one reason might be that you aren’t making your friendships a priority. Nurturing and sustaining friendships demands thought, time and effort. Many of us let our lives become so busy with work and other commitments that our friendships are often pushed to the side. However, friends are one of the most important support networks that women have. Keeping up with our friends can help us lead a more balanced and fulfilled life.”
Can we really have it all?
Women are burning out trying to live up to their own expectations and excel in multiple roles, but the good news is that the idea of being Superwoman is often self-imposed, and there are ways to take off that superhero cape and regain some balance.
Regardless of the hours they work, women dedicate a high proportion of their spare time to household chores, however spending time this way is often unrewarding with many women feeling that it is a thankless task.
As Rebecca Huntley explains “A clean and tidy house might give you a temporary sense of satisfaction and control but no-one thinks about celebrating their birthday with a night of dusting and ironing. Some of the time that we spend on household chores could be better spent having fun with your friends.”
The research has proven that Australian women want to slow down and make time for what’s really important, and there is a huge desire for change.
The findings suggest that women feel the factors need to facilitate change are within reach; almost 60% of women feel small changes are achievable and 49% have the confidence to make big changes to their life.
Huntley comments, “This is great news as the first step in redressing the balance in our lives is having the right attitude. Women need to understand that making time for their own needs isn’t self indulgent. We need to maintain our own emotional wellbeing. It will make us happier and better able to perform all the different tasks required of us as workers, mothers, partners, daughters and so on.“
Rebecca’s Top Tips
1. Remember that housework isn’t the be all and end all – when we’re old ladies we’ll treasure the time spent with our friends much more than the time spent on chores
2. Learn to say no without feeling guilty - remember you can’t do everything
3. Learn to delegate – many women feel no one can do things as well as they can, but letting your partner / husband help around the house will free up more of your time
4. Book clubs or cooking clubs are a great way to get together with the girls
5. Set up a regular time (weekly/monthly) to meet and catch up over dinner
Are you too busy to make time for yourself and your friends? Do you have any good tips to help balance your responsibilites? Share your thoughts below.