“Are you the one who saves the day at work? Does your family expect you to do it all when you get home? Perhaps you used to like being thought of as reliable, but you long for a life of your own again—one that doesn’t include having the ability to attract lots of people into your life who need lots of “help.”
It isn’t just you. Lots of women have been socialized this way, and worse, no one has been talking about it—setting us up for isolation and second guessing ourselves all the while.
The Strong Woman Trap takes a hard look at the cultural beliefs that set strong, driven, ambitious women up for a life spent constantly saving others from themselves, filling in gaps on every team with their own efforts, and going it alone like a hybrid of Wonder Woman and Working Girl.
Women are strong. We are called on for our strengths all the time. We are called on fix what is broken. We are called on heal what is hurt. We are called on to pull it all together. Often our role is to be the glue that binds the world.
We can do all those things and more. Yet many women still wonder when their own lives will begin. Women wonder when their merit and effort at work will be recognized. They wonder when it will be their turn.
Women are already working too hard—too hard at a game that is rigged and that we didn’t create. We spend our energies managing demands we didn’t expect and emotions we have been taught to see as irrelevant.
This book is for the women spend their spare moments looking wistfully through magazines telling themselves, “not for me…but I wish it was,” and believing they are almost at the point where they might get to have dreams again, but not yet.
The answer to the dilemma usually is one more personal sacrifice away. One more problem to solve for someone else, and we can focus on ourselves again. One more set of dues to pay, and we can earn the recognition we deserve.
If you read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and wondered just how much farther you had to lean, this book is for you.
Wishes won’t get you there. Neither will doubling down on the strategies that got into this dilemma where you’re good enough to be the fixer but not seen as the leader. What will get you there goes beyond an effort-driven life that seems to call for more control, more sucking it up and more desperately holding things together.
What will get you there is learning the secrets to escaping The Strong Woman Trap.”
A friend tagged me in a Facebook post – along with other people she thought might be interested in the book – and she was most definitely right!
My name is Libby and I’m a control freak. I generally think that it’s better for me to do tasks rather than delegate them to someone else and it not be to the standard I would like. I also like to help people (my husband would say interfere!) but give me a crisis to assist with, and I’m there with my boots blacked.
Most of the time that’s fine – and I muddle through juggling home / kids / work / friends / charity events / random crises absolutely fine – but sometimes I’m just really, really tired. This book really helped me think about how and why I feel the need to put my knickers on over my trousers (metaphorically you’ll be pleased to hear) and be a superhero.
Some of the book is a bit ‘American’ – when there is a list of female role models, I have to confess to not knowing who they all are (I’m blaming that on them being American and not me being dim?!?)- but overall it was really helpful in looking in the mirror and analysing (spelt the British way!) myself.
Definitely a stop and think book.