Friday, August 7, 2020

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women And Emotional Labor

Marla Ahlgrimm
There are obvious differences between men and women, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Some, such as breasts and facial hair, you can see. Others, including a nurturing nature in different hormones, are not as apparent from the outside. All of these differences contribute to gender stereotypes and the current roles we serve, even in an enlightened society.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, one place where a gender disparity remains is in the weight of emotional labor in relationships. She explains that emotional labor is the mental burden that one person takes over another or within a family/friendship. It might be anything from reminding a spouse or partner about doctors appointments to managing all of the household chores and paying all of the bills.

Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm notes that, although these are absolutely loving gestures, women overwhelmingly take on more emotional labor – and unpaid physical labor – than their male counterparts. A few examples of physical labor include childcare, housecleaning, and cooking. When two people become parents, the woman traditionally takes on the role as caretaker. She is solely responsible for getting children back and forth to doctors appointments, play dates, school, and any extracurricular activities the family chooses. She will pack lunches, plan birthday parties, do all of the grocery shopping, and be the listening ear when her son or daughter needs to have a heart-to-heart.

There is nothing inherently wrong with taking on a caregiver role. However, Marla Ahlgrimm explains that when a woman is also equally responsible for going to work and bringing in a paycheck could, her additional roles can become overwhelming. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout.

One of the best ways to avoid emotional-labor burnout is to open up a healthy dialogue with your partner. Marla Ahlgrimm says that if you are one of the many women who feels that she is carrying the emotional weight of your family on your shoulders, talk to your spouse, partner, and older children. Let them know that sometimes you need support as well.