Men, women, and their To-Do’s

Why do men opt for sanity over being a superhero?

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Ask virtually any woman anywhere about her to do list and she’ll sit you down and tell you all about the 50 things that are on it. Ask virtually any man anywhere what’s on his to do list and he’ll say…what to do list?

We call it the ‘get a guy’ theory. When life is nuts and the front steps need a touch-up…there’s a guy for that. The garden needs an overhaul but it’s a busy few weeks ahead? There’s a guy for that too. Women will bend themselves in half to try and personally get it all done, causing themselves and (let’s be real) their spouses’ untold stress. Men on the other hand see the path to sanity much clearer. Call in the reserves and let’s get on with it already.

Based on my own personal experiences and what I see quite commonly on a daily basis is that men are more pragmatic about delegating and understanding the value of their time. So why is that?

Feminist or foe?

With all of the amazing advancements feminism has brought forth the last 150 years, it has also created some fairly heavy expectations when it comes to being the perfect business woman, the perfect mother and of course the perfect wife. First of all, who is this woman and does she even exist? And secondly, is it possible that through these unrealistic expectations we’ve become our own worst enemy?

There seems to be this misguided cultural assumption that women are super heroes and that we can do it all, well news flash, we can’t! When we try to do it all, our mental health and well-being are severely affected, and this is when we begin to make poor decisions in all aspects of our life. Our stress levels become unmanageable and overwhelming.

Women for too long have been made to feel guilty for paying others, or asking for help on something they are technically capable of doing. And with men, well… like I said, there’s always a guy!

While I consider myself an egalitarian and teach my girls everyday that they can do anything a boy can do, I have to admit that we could learn a thing or two from the other sex when it comes to saying no, managing time, and delegating the low level stuff.

A time-starved society

Let’s be real here, we all have 24 hours in a day, not a minute more or less. And this applies to both women and men, of course. We sleep for 8 hours (if we’re lucky), we work for another 8 (but let’s be honest, probably more) we commute for another couple of hours, and then in addition to that, according to a study done by Statistics Canada, we are spending almost 30% of our waking time on home-related tasks. The pace of modern life has whittled down our free time and anything we can do to buy some back, can boosts our happiness and restores life balance.

A study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found buying time makes people happier than buying material things. I know that personally I wouldn’t give a second thought to purchasing a new home décor item I’ve been eyeing, or a pair of jeans to add to the pile. My husband on the other hand would happily sacrifice a trendy new shirt to have someone cut the grass or clean the eavestrough. Ultimately, when we think about it, which decision is going to bring us more happiness? I think the latter wins. While someone is cutting our grass, we are enjoying a meal out with our kids, and although I might be rocking my new jeans I doubt my 4 year old would even take notice.

If there’s a life lesson we can all take away is that there are many ways for both men AND women to manage the chaos of life. Instead of looking at the more traditional metrics of success (money, power, and recognition) we need to start focusing on what matters most, our well being and mental health. The trick is to find the path to work-life balance that works best for each of us.

While we don’t have all of the answers as to why men seem keener to outsource their disliked tasks, our best guess is that women feel guilty spending money on things they could do themselves. Our only hope is that with time we will see a shift in this mindset and that women will feel equally as empowered when given a helping hand. 

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