Oct 18, 2023
Back when she was starting her family, Gifty Enright wished she had in her tool-kit, the language of Emotional Labor. Granted, she may have avoided a lot of grief and despair, but then again, we would have never known her gift for putting to words the feelings she had when she Just. Burned. Out., and as described in her book, The Octopus On A Treadmill. Gifty has spent a good chuck of her professional life in accounting and IT – working hard to be successful as her male counterparts without at first recognizing that her male counterparts were actually doing only half the work, considering it that is was unlikely that successful men were also responsible for the management of the home, or so-called, ‘women’s work.’ Like nearly all women, Gifty was raised to believe that if she wanted it ‘all’ she had to be willing to do it all. And then she burned out.
And now, Gifty Enright is a speaker, author, communicator, and coach – working specifically with mothers in their roles as professionals in the paid workplace, and moms in the unpaid workplace (home). She has so much to say about the importance of making visible the work of the household, instructing her clients and their spouses to list all the jobs they perform at home, and then compare and share the lists with each other. Her clients come to her feeling like failures, that they are stagnating professionally, losing ground to their male counterparts and losing confidence along the way. For Gifty – mothers are the center of gravity – they hold the world together and need a hell of a lot more support – and boundaries – to go out and contribute to the world on their terms. At home, this means establishing a baseline for “good enough,” partnering with the other adult in the household, and giving the children opportunities to contribute to the management of the home – because “even a 2-year-old can drag her pajamas to the laundry room.”