I read an alarming fact the other day that said the First Lady does not get paid. I was taken back. That can’t be right! I googled it and immediately learned that this is true. I am sure I learned this growing up and I probably just stored it away in my brain as social conditioning without even realizing it. We as a country expect her to show up. We expect her to aide with things alongside her husband. She gives up four years of her life for the country, but it is titled as a “ceremonial” position. Then why does she have duties? She should be able to do yoga all day and whatever the fuck she pleases with her time. Sorry for the language but this is the top rung of systematic profiling of woman.
As woman we are expected to juggle it all. We live in a world where we are supposed to be the caretakers, head of the household, business owners, look a certain way and still get asked the question “are you making sure you are making time for yourself?” WTF are you actually talking about when you ask me that? How many hours are in your day, because mine has no time left 90% of the time.
I have been the woman that has been told to work for free. “Work for free because it is for a common goal.” I can remember breast feeding my son, being asked to meet a deadline for a flyer that had to get out and not seeing a dime for it. I actually worked at the computer with him on my chest feeding! Staring at a computer screen rather than taking time to enjoy that connection with him. I believed I was busting my ass in the background for that common goal of our family. Then there was another layer. Not only did I have to work for free, but I also had to work regular hours where I did get paid. I needed to work because we needed the extra money.
Talk about low self-esteem. I believed this. I believed I didn’t deserve time off. I believed I had to work harder and more hours. I was a damaged little girl, with no self-esteem, that fell into a cultural trap.
Then a few years later, I found myself crying in a lawyer’s office, with no access to the bank accounts I helped build and no say in the company that I supposedly worked so hard for. To add another dagger in the heart, the business partner that said they were family, called in during the divorce to talk down the price of the business so I wouldn’t get as much money for it. So much for that family and that common goal. I was left feeling like an idiot for allowing work to steal so much of my time from my babies when they were small.
My lawyer told me this was so common, and she sees it all the time with her clients. I have spent years healing, growing and researching trauma. Now I realize that not only did it come from my own trauma and thinking I had to work harder than my partner, I mean why did I deserve to have an easy life? It is also systemic! We literally expect our First Lady to work for free beside her husband!
I read a statistic from 2020 that said, full time working woman do an average of two hours of extra work a day compared to men, just doing housework. “All that housework adds up. Women spend 95 more eight-hour workdays per year on unpaid work, which is the equivalent of $1.48 trillion in the United States.” – Today Show
Ladies I am here to say YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL. Trust me, I tried, and it almost killed me. And I have nothing to show for it. The business I helped build while working for free is still paying bills, but not my bills. The house I paid the mortgage for multiple times, working three jobs to do so, is still there but I do not live in it. I did not need to do the things I did back then, but I felt like I had to. It all comes down to the fact that I did not respect myself.
As I have healed and grown, I have found respect for myself along the way. I now know what I deserve, and I won’t accept anything less. My friend posted something that said being a mom is equivalent to working 2.5 full time jobs. We are strong woman that are made to work and handle what life throws at us. We are not meant to do it all and push ourselves over the limits because we have to. An awakened man steps up and helps. They don’t want the mothers of their children to burn themselves out trying to make all the ends meet. They want to help, and we need to allow them to help. To the men that step up, I see you and it is absolutely beautiful.
Being a strong woman means recognizing when your heart can’t carry the load. Respect yourself first. Don’t let people use you. Family tends to do this without realizing it, so speak up and teach them that they need to help too. Our strength comes from our hearts and each and every one of us deserves to be treated as the beautiful powerhouses we are. Let’s teach our daughters to stand in their power so they don’t ever feel like they “should work for free.”
- Amanda (Lux Healing Arts 💕)