What women don’t talk about: Worrying too much

Women have a lot on our plate, and a lot to navigate as we grow older. From climbing the career ladder to facing menopause, NEXT hosts a lively chat about the topics women should be talking about, but aren’t.

Whether it’s a family issue, a health concern or a career crisis, women are experts at brushing off all manner of worries with two little words: ‘I’m fine’.

So NEXT deputy editor Emma Clifton invited a group of women to gather for lunch, laughter and candid chatter on the sort of topics we all think about but often sweep aside.

Over rose and platters at a central Auckland restaurant, NEXT writers Nicky Pellegrino, Kylie Bailey, Deborah Hill Cone and lifestyle coach Sarah Laurie covered everything from social media and parenting pressures, to navigating menopause and negotiating a pay rise.

While the opinions sometimes differed, the consensus was the same: these are issues all modern women face, and usually keep to ourselves – but we shouldn’t be afraid of starting a conversation.

Today we talk about…Rising above it

Emma: What do you think women worry too much about?

Nicky: I used to spend an enormous amount of mental energy worrying about my weight. I think about the amount of time my head was filled with ‘If I just ate this’ or ‘If I just did this and got a bit thinner’, and if I’d used all that time for something better I could probably have run the world! If I could change one thing I thought about a lot as a young woman, it would be weight. Nothing ever changed; I didn’t get thin from all that worrying!

Kylie: It’s that comparison experience. You know you shouldn’t compare yourself, but it’s so hard not to do that. Especially with social media, and all these pictures of amazing looking people in bikinis, looking really hot with all these filters.

Deborah: The thing I wish I had known earlier was to stop thinking about stuff all the time, and to feel things more; we’re not just a brain on a stick. I would rather be in my body a bit more, even if it’s a wobbly old thing!

Emma: Is social media adding pressure to our lives?

Kylie: Think about all the information we are bombarded with, that amount of imagery has to impact on the way we approach things. We’re losing that ability to connect, we’ve got our faces in our phones and we’re comparing notes about our cushions and our holidays and our kale. I love kale in my social media feed and I’m not going to lie, I probably do style my kale before it goes on social media! That’s the reality of it.

Nicky: ‘I’m Kylie, and I style my kale!’ I can see a T-shirt!

Kylie: I have styled my kale before and I will style it again!

Nicky: I posted a picture of my kitchen after we had people over for dinner and my husband was like “You can’t put that up on Instagram!” And I said “But this is what it looks like!”

Sarah: I want to start an Instagram that’s called ‘real’. I would post photos of my chaotic wardrobe in the morning, and my laundry full of dust and fluff. I should do it.

Kylie: Everyone edits and curates. Just how we would with a magazine, we are now able to do to it with our lives.

Deborah: Everyone’s able to do it, but I think if you put something up on social media that’s more like how it actually is, that’s when people respond to you.

Nicky: We all do it – whenever I have people to my house I run around in a frenzy with the Spray n’ Wipe.

Sarah: When people pop in, I want to stop myself from going ‘oh sorry it’s such a mess’, but I can’t! I’ve never been able to not say anything! It’s ridiculous, all these things we worry about.

Deborah: We have to be real, someone has to come out and say, ‘I yell at my children sometimes’.

Nicky: Mummy blogs do that don’t they? The problem is you get trolled quite badly if you say anything people disapprove of; we’re all so judgemental.

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