Moms! This Friday, just like every March 8, is International Women’s Day—a day designed to celebrate women that rose out of our struggle for equal rights. The first such day—National Woman’s Day—took place over 100 years ago on February 29, 1909; a year later, the holiday gained international traction. This year, the theme of IWD is #BalanceforBetter—a call to action driving gender balance around the world.
That’s a noble goal, but on a micro level, so is taking care of ourselves as moms, women, partners, and employees. According to Gemma Hartley, the author of Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward, women typically bear the primary responsibility for the emotional labor of a relationship and/or family, and other research demonstrates that a mom’s workload increases substantially more than a dad’s after the birth of a child. This imbalance is not a given, and there are families (mine included, I’m grateful to report) that have adeptly negotiated that workload imbalance, but regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, we all work hard! And chances are, like me, you’re tired.
In light of that, how are you going to celebrate and honor IWD and your life on this planet as a woman? Hadn’t given it any thought? Well, in keeping with my belief that women are worthy of self-care and self-celebration, I thought I’d share a few #heartful ideas to get you started!
1. First, it seems to me that a day celebrating women should be spent with, well, women! So gather a one or two besties, or a great big group, and hang out on Friday! Need a reason? It turns out that spending time with our girlfriends is important for our health. We all already knew that (duh!), but it turns out scientists at Stanford and UCLA have the research to back it up. Spending time with the ladies causes our bodies to increase serotonin and oxytocin (the feel-good and bonding hormones), and combat loneliness. This is critical because, according to researchers at Harvard, loneliness correlates with the same hazards to one’s health as smoking nearly a pack-a-day! So gather your gal pals and make some plans!
2. Get a massage, for a walk, get a manicure, go for a hike, or take yourself skiing—it doesn’t really matter what you chose, but I work with all my clients on increasing their self-care routines and International Women’s Day seems like a perfect way to start!
3. Find a charity that supports women whose mission aligns with your values and use Friday as an excuse to give them some extra monetary support. I am personally a big fan of Women for Women International and have been sponsoring sisters around the world for about the last decade, but there are many wonderful charities out there. Find your own, or check out the National Women’s Law Center, The Malala Fund, Dress for Success, Planned Parenthood, and Girls Not Brides, as they are just a few of the many out there doing incredible work on behalf of women and girls around the world.
4. Spend some time talking with your children—girls AND boys—about issues affecting women! Boys can be raised to be feminists, too, and indeed can be wonderful allies in the fight for equality. Here are some wonderful additional tools to help you along the way!
However you choose to spend Friday—whether it’s doing one of these things or all four (!)—I hope you all have a chance to stop and breathe, and appreciate yourselves for all you do every hour, day, and week. You, ladies, deserve to be celebrated! Cheers!