By Kim Evans
for The Herald-Times,
October 22, 2009
The Oct. 26 issue of Time Magazine features a poll that reveals the staggering but not surprising result that while women now comprise 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, they report feeling less happy than they did in 1972.
From my perspective, the root of the unhappiness is this: in our climb to prominence in the working world, most women have not given up their role as homemaker; they’ve merely added professional work on top of it.
By my calculation, that’s two full-time jobs.
Men try to help with housework. I know they do. But I’m convinced their brains are not wired to multi-task like ours are. Allow me to introduce the Never-Ending Mental Checklist. Mine looks something like this:
Don’t forget to make sure the gecko’s water dish is full; you don’t want it to die of dehydration and make your daughter sad; help the 13-year old dog down the stairs, encourage her to go outside to do her business WHILE fixing breakfast and packing lunch for your daughter AND making sure she has all her homework, permission slips, and school materials packed and ready to go, KEEPING IN MIND the bills that need to be paid and the bank run that MUST BE DONE before the automated mortgage payment overdraws the checking account WHILE confirming with your mother that yes, it would be WONDERFUL if she could visit with your daughter after school, but FIRST let me check the calendar to make sure there aren’t scheduling conflicts because there MIGHT be a soccer make-up game tonight, or there might be horseback riding, or a school event, and there’s ALWAYS the required amount of time each evening for homework with extra help on math because no one in our family truly GETS this Everyday Math stuff, so not only do I need to help my daughter, I need to teach it to MYSELF first lest I show her the wrong way, causing her to do poorly on her ISTEP test and – HELLO – the cat just knocked the brownies on the floor and OH YEAH I wanted to print out a piece of writing for class today AND will I have time to take a shower before I go; I want to be fresh because I’d better drum up more freelance work, so gear up to sell, sell, sell, THEN later that evening, Dear Husband agrees to cook dinner while you write your newspaper column but you feel compelled to remind him to butter BOTH sides of the bread before he grills the sandwiches AND you are fully aware that soup and sandwiches are the last meal in the fridge before another grocery run is needed and WOW that new Kroger is humongous and where did I put those coupons THEN consider one more time HOW you can fit some exercise into your schedule and think SERIOUSLY are you really going to have time to MAKE all those Christmas gifts and WOW what a beautiful Fall evening it finally is, when are we going to find time to take a family hike, much less get our pumpkins and where DID the days go when we rode a hay wagon to the pumpkin patch and took photos of our little girl like your friend just posted on her Facebook page, which reminds you to update your status so your friends don’t think you’ve withered away, but haven’t you done just that?
Calgon, take me back to 1972. (Did I just say that?)