Maybe I am a delusional creature.
Or maybe at some point in my life – probably when I was 17 years old and an avid reader of Cosmo – I was sold a bill of goods that ended up being a pipe dream.
But I actually thought it was possible to HAVE IT ALL.
The house. The career. The family. The relationship. The body. The looks. The accomplishments.
And the leisure time to enjoy them.
Each one would be a dream come true, of course; there would be no shack, no shitty j.o.b., no bum of a spouse. There would be no frown wrinkles - no wubba (the pet name for my gut - from having children and not doing Pilates.) No, I was expecting the best of everything.
Now, I didn’t expect it would just be handed to me. I knew I’d have to work for it. And work hard I do!
Now don’t get me wrong… I have a really good life. I have a beautiful home. I am the mother of two lovely and talented children. I’m holding up pretty good for my age, despite the lack of Pilates, and I am a pretty exceptional and accomplished woman.
But despite all my hard work - I don’t have EVERYTHING.
And some of what I have sucks major wang.
And on top of that - I am fucking TIRED!
If I am not working, I’m choring. Seriously, I calculated my “enjoyment” time. On a generous week, 6% of my time is spent doing something that I want to do. According to one study, that is 15% less than the average woman and 18% less than the average man.
First, let me say that I think the “study” is a crock o’ crap. It says that men have 5.8 hours of leisure time a day and women 5.1 hours.
SERIOUSLY PEOPLE! Do ANY of you have that many hours a day to do whatever you want to do???
No way. Absolutely – NO WAY.
And if you do, then bite me.
Second, I’d like to point out that according to this study, men scrounge out 42 minutes more leisure time a day than women. THAT I believe. I do think that men somehow manage to get more “me” time than women.
I mean, I see women running completely amok - in a constant state of go go go with a mile long list do do do’s. I am a perfect example of this. If I can, I even try TWO-do things... making appointments, while mopping the floor… folding laundry while dinner is cooking.
Then, when I finally have the elusive “free” moment, I really stress. WHAT AM I TO DO WITH THAT MOMENT???!!!! Do I take a walk? Lounge in the bath? Do I create some art? Do I write? If I am going to watch television, I better multi-task and do a chore along with it or else the guilt will be too great. What about a freakin' nap?
We make ourselves crazy trying to be all things to all people and look good while we do it.
Then I realized, I have never in my life witnessed this behavior in the male of our species. Never, ever ever! Dudes pick their one-a-day and that's it. They don’t have an inner nag, and they have the amazing ability to completely tune out the outer one.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you guys do totally stress the fuck out about whether to do yard work or watch football - whether to help the Ms. with housework or tinker on the car in the garage. Maybe you are just hiding your despair over trying to make these decisions. But I doubt it.
Football? Or mowing the lawn?
Vacuuming? Or getting your fingers greasy changing the oil on the hooptie?
It isn't rocket science.
This brings me to the maxim of my message.
First…. I have to get it through my thick skull and into my crazy, female brain: I cannot have it all. That is a bunch of fairytale hogwash designed to make us insane.
I can have what is IMPORTANT to me. If I want an immaculate house… If I want to be successful in my career… If I want fantastic, well-adjusted children… If I want a kick-ass relationship… If I want to create art or write my novel… If I want to rock a bikini… So be it. I can have them. But I have a finite amount of time in my days and each of these things takes a piece of that time.
It's simple math.
SO - I have to take a lesson from the boys and get more single track minded about my priorities. I have to chose which ones are important enough to allot my time to. I need to say good-bye to the impossible ANDs and ALLs of my life and embrace the ORs instead.
I need to choose the things I really WANT and - ladies, breathe with me - let the other things go.
The mopping may not get done this week if I want to write a chapter of my novel, OR go out with the girls, OR cultivate a relationship OR just sit on the couch and scratch my balls.
If I can operate with this new way of behaving, I may not live as long (sorry guys, I don't know why, but that is still a fact), but I'll be a hella lot happier while I'm kickin'.
C H E Z
Top two photographs copyright of Sherri DuPree Bemis