The Feminine Solution to Stress Management
Georgie Weston encourages Solo Moms to seek connection and collaboration
When Georgie Weston became a Solo Mom to her two toddlers in 1988, she felt woefully inadequate to the task, so she set out to learn the skills and tools she would need to raise her son and daughter. Weston has used her education and experience to develop a philosophy to guide women through their personal journeys, teaching what she calls the Feminine Solution to stress management. Weston recently spoke to ESME’s Pregnancy Resource Guide, Jaimie Seaton.
Q: How did you become a Solo Mom?
A: I’m a 66-year-old grandmother, and I became a Solo Mom in 1988 through divorce when my daughter was one and my son was four. The best decision for everybody was for us to divorce, and because my ex and I had each weathered difficult childhoods with divorce, it was important to both of us that we divorce with some sanity and kindness.
Q: Were you and your ex-husband able to successfully coparent?
A: To a degree. I did 95% of the parenting, but he helped financially. I’m in San Francisco, and he was in Los Angeles. He came up once a month, and I would turn the house over to him and go off and stay somewhere inexpensive and just be by myself. For the first few years, he did a really good job staying in touch. After that, he remarried and that made things a little bumpier; and then further down the road he divorced and remarried a third time. That one ended in divorce, too, and left him with two young children. Our daughter, who is in her 30s, is helping him learn how to parent. He lives part time with our son, and we all hang out together. It’s come full circle, but we went through some rough challenges.
Q: What did that experience teach you about mothering and about life?
A: What helped is I set two core values that guided everything: keep my children’s hearts and souls intact, and honor their hearts and souls above all else. It was more important than fighting with my ex or making him wrong. There was always cooperation—not always from his side, but from my side. I honestly think men are more in trouble these days, and women have to be the leaders in the world.
Q: How are men more in trouble?
A: We tend to focus on how women are in trouble because of the patriarchy, but the patriarchy doesn’t mean the masculine. It’s unkind to everyone: men, women, and children. If a man is even slightly inclined to want to be awake in his heart and his soul, he’s going to suffer in the system as much as we do. He’ll suffer in different ways, but he’ll suffer.
Q: What is the biggest challenge women face with stress?
A: A woman is programmed to react immediately rather than taking a moment to respond. We’re trained to just suck it up and keep going, and that’s to our detriment. It takes courage and determination to practice a different way of engaging with life. It’s not easy, but it does have huge benefits. Women process things more holistically, and men’s brains are built for single focus. Women’s brains are built to be a unifying collective, take the big picture, but that takes time. It takes processing time. We can walk down the hall and say “dirty socks,” “out of orange juice,” “need to run the dishwasher.” Biologically, we have not been upgraded in thousands of years. We were built to multitask, and men were built to do one thing at a time. They are not being stupid or evil or selfish when they walk past dirty laundry; they are simply being single focused.
Q: How does this affect how men and women handle stress?
A: Men have more testosterone and have two stress responses: they either have to fight and make something happen or they have to retreat to their cave. Women need to connect, that’s why we talk to our girlfriends. When we connect and talk to another woman, we are releasing oxytocin, a stress-relieving hormone. We need to connect and share and communicate. That’s our favorite way of managing stress.
Q: In your life coaching you talk about the Feminine Solution. What is that?
A: The Feminine Solution (FS) is inviting women to relearn what their bodies, hearts, and souls already know: how to manage life from the feminine. If a woman tries to manage from the masculine, it drains her adrenals and throws her whole endocrine system off, and a whole cascade of mental and physical events come from that. The feminine comes from a place of cooperation and collaboration and inclusion. When women undermine other women, they are not in the healthy feminine; they have adopted the unhealthy masculine management style.
Q: And how does one live the Healthy Feminine?
A: Add things to everyday experiences that add pleasure to your life. We all have to prepare meals for our family, but we can stop and enjoy it. Take your shoes off, and be barefoot in the kitchen. Light a scented candle. Put music on. I keep a very simple, inexpensive bouquet of fresh flowers by my bed all the time. I make a point of celebrating myself as a woman and doing little things that delight me. Here’s the key: the world right now is not organized to celebrate us and organize us in the feminine. It’s up to us to bring that in ourselves. The other equally important piece is to celebrate other women when you can. There’s a huge deficit of celebrating the feminine in the world right now.
Q: What challenges are unique to Solo Moms?
A: This is literally how I got into stress management. The biggest challenge was that I had to be in my masculine a whole lot more than I wanted to be, and I could never be the kind of masculine that my son needed. He needed a male influence in his life, and I could not make it happen. In my work I see women fighting to maintain some kind of balance, and I think it’s close to impossible: the balance of getting everything done and being in charge of everything, but mostly doing the masculine and feminine roles. We were designed to be tribal village people, and we function well that way. We do not function well being single units in households trying to do everything. We’re asked to do the impossible every day, and we do it. It’s a testament to how amazing women are.
Q: What is the one thing women can do to redirect their lives to a better place?
A: Every day ask this question: If I were going to value myself a little bit more as a woman today, what would that look like? All the feedback we get from the world is that we’re not enough, and, as single moms, we know we’re not enough! Much of the world tells me that my hair’s not shiny enough, my lip gloss isn’t the right shade, and there isn’t enough bounce in my step. We’re not trained as women to love and appreciate ourselves. The work starts at home. How can I see myself better? How can I appreciate myself better? Then listen to the response, and, if possible, take action on it. That’s the basic remedy right there.
Jaimie Seaton has been a freelance journalist for more than 20 years. She is the divorced mother of two awesome teenagers and often writes about parenting, dating, and relationships. Her work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including the Guardian, the Establishment, Glamour, and the Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @JaimieSeaton.
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