Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday's Word: Measuring a Happy Successful Day

I remember several years ago learning an interesting fact:
Men and Women measure success differently. 

Generally speaking, a woman has a "TO DO" list and the more things she crosses off during the day the more successful she feels.  (Have you ever written something down AFTER you did it just to cross it off simply because that swipe of the pen feels so wonderful?  Or is it just me?)  For a man, he can spend 10 hours doing one thing but feel incredibly successful because of the time he spent doing it.  If I spent 10 straight hours organizing that forgotten closet in the back of the house I would be kind of happy (if I'd finished it) ...but then feel upset I didn't also get the dishes done, Cheerios swept off the floor, letters written to Aunt Sue, Uncle Bob, and a thank you note or gift of cookies delivered to that sweet 17-year old girl who volunteered to babysit my kids...oh yeah, and dinner...I didn't get anything ready to eat and dinner-time was an hour ago! 

As in all things, it's important to remember differences are simply that--differences.  Understanding can bring more peace in relationships.... for example: Honey-Do lists from wives can take on a new light...the list is from the wife and the husband is proud of getting one thing done while the wife is still looking at the rest of the list that hasn't been crossed off.  It can also bring peace to ones self in understanding that success can be measured in multiple ways...and maybe "cleaning" shouldn't be a single item to cross off.  Instead try writing: clean toilet, clean sink, clean out fridge, clean top shelf of fridge, vacuum carpet upstairs, dust family room bookshelves, go through one box in forgotten closet in back of house,  ...yeah, that's more like it! 

I may take some fire for this, but hopefully I won't and you can just understand the basics here without a big gender war occurring, but it also makes sense why we think and feel differently about success.  A man has generally been the provider for his family.  Throughout ages he has worked at the same job long day after long day.  But can come home feeling accomplished since he's provided for his family.  A woman has generally been the one to take care of the home, and children.  There are a million "smaller" tasks to accomplish in a day from making meals, to changing diapers.  So, there are reasons.  I'll even say Divine reasons, why we measure daily success differently.  This also makes more sense as to why a man who is out of work often times feels a bit depressed, even if he's finished the Honey Do list.  And it also brings more understanding why so many working mothers feel so overwhelmed and under-accomplished after a full day of work as her list of things 'to do' seems to grow and multiply each day and she feels that she'll never make it.   And, as in all things, I think we can each learn a little from each other to balance ourselves out a bit. 

As we understand and remember that men and women measure success differently, and that it has purpose, maybe, just maybe, we can be kinder to ourselves, those around us, and can learn to manage our differences in healthy happier ways.   And have a bit more peace....we all need that don't we?


Janelle Day said...

So true!

Katrina said...

I'm the same as you with my lists! This is a great post; thank you. My question is, though, HOW do we balance things out a little better so we don't beat ourselves up over all we didn't get to on our lists...?

Kellie said...

Great post! I need to remember this more often.