I’ve been trying to find something to write about all day and then it hit me after I watched “I don’t know how she does it”, the movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, and Pierce Brosnan. (Yes, it’s trite and the ending is unrealistically perfectly neat and tidy, but stay with me here.) My whole life is about juggling, making myself crazy while trying to keep every single detail of everything I do absolutely perfect.
It’s not enough that I learn to sew, my hand-crafted tote bag was missing some stitching around the applique, so I never carry it now. I just signed up for more sewing classes and also Learn to Crochet classes because I want to be able to earn some extra pocket money for Christmas presents so I’m hoping to learn to crochet pet stockings and sell them on Etsy before Christmas. You know, because I have nothing else to do.
It’s not enough that I belong to the Junior League, I have to lead a committee. In my eighth year in the League. At the age of (almost) 45.
I can’t just join the American Legion Auxiliary to support my husband, I have to take on three separate leadership roles. On top of the Junior League. And the sewing classes. And the cooking classes. And I guess the crochet classes now, too.
Becoming a mom (of an adult child) at my age isn’t enough, I have to be the perfect mom: supportive but not smothering, remembering her schedule so that we don’t leave her waiting somewhere in the middle of the night, gently reminding my beloved husband that she’s still growing and learning and that she isn’t actually trying to drive him insane.
And my husband. Dear God, I love him so much and yet we never seem to spend any time together that we’re not running off somewhere, either together or on our own. Guilt and I are good friends, I promise you.
Then there’s work. I love my job, I really do. I work with wonderful, passionate, smart people and I have an amazing new manager who teaches me something new every day. But it takes a lot out of me to be so organized and (supposedly) in control all the time and that doesn’t leave much of that stuff for the rest of my (chaotic) life.
All of these plates spinning above me and I just keep whirling and twirling underneath so that I can keep everything going, perfectly. And there’s the rub: No one expects a man to be effortlessly perfect. Oh sure, they have lots of pressure to perform but they get to grunt and groan and sweat while they’re doing it – that’s “manly”. But for the female of the species? Well, do you remember what they used to say about Ginger Rogers? “She did everything Fred did, but she did it while walking backwards in high heels.” More pressure, more to remember, but always calm, serene, and beautiful.
Ginger, dear, I love you to pieces and watching you dance is like magic, but what the heck were you thinking when you made it all look so darned easy???