11: The Crushing Burden: Managing Work, Guilt and Competing Responsibilities

It’s time to release yourself from the crushing burden of guilt as you juggle work, family and community.


In this episode of the Crina and Kirsten Get to Workpodcast, hosts Crina and Kirsten discuss “the crushing burden” that often weighs on working women as they find themselves navigating work responsibilities along with community and caregiving responsibilities. They discuss the way in which this burden tends to impact women in particular, who often have to balance work life with such things as the needs of children and spouses, volunteering, and caring for aging parents. They also address their own experiences of schedules filled with various obligations and responsibilities.

After explaining what the crushing burden is, Crina and Kirsten talk about emotions associated with the burden. They focus first (and primarily) on guilt, which is a common feeling  experienced in connection with both the challenge of juggling many responsibilities and the choices made as women try to navigate their responsibilities.  Guilt, they note, involves a sense of offense and of failing to meet an expectation. It’s distinct from disappointment, anger, and frustration, and is also a socially acceptable emotion, particularly for women.  Rather than guilt, some women experience depression and/or anxiety because of the crushing burden.  The emotions are not as social acceptable.

Having diagnosed and examined some of the emotional reactions women often have to the challenge, Crina and Kirsten turn to the response they hope to encourage in their listeners. They desire to see women move beyond feelings of guilt, anxiety and depression, and to release themselves from the expectation that they are everything to everybody, and choose to care well for themselves at least as well as they care for others. Crina, who does not struggle with guilt in the same way Kirsten does, provides insight on how to live without guilt. She and Crina discuss the value of personal well being, and consider the concept of obligations. They ultimately conclude that, while a woman should by no means abandon all responsibility, she should recognize that the obligation to self is as important if not more important than other obligations. So, they advise, treat yourself as well as you treat others.

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