There’s been a renewed media buzz on the age-old topic of women having it all. Career plus family equals success. Cameron Diaz fueled the discussion with an announcement about not wanting kids because, in her words, “It’s so much more work to have children.” In another publicized conversation, Indra Nooyi, the chief executive officer of PepsiCo and mother of two (not necessarily in that order) admitted she doesn’t think women can have it all. “We pretend we can have it all,” she said during an interview for The Atlantic.
At our house, my husband browns the hamburger. I don’t have the patience for it. I go in with the best of intentions. I place the ground beef in the pan, turn on the heat and grab my spatula. Then I get sidetracked — with the potatoes or maybe the corn, sorting through the mail, answering the phone, twiddling my thumbs, Googling the area code for Paris. I like to consider myself the ultimate multi-tasker.
It’s become an integral part of my family’s everyday life: Charging. And I’m not talking about the kind you do at a store with a plastic rectangle — although I am proud to announce we are pre-approved at least once a week. Plugging in has become a part of our daily routine, and at my house, we’re suffering from a new-millennium malady — charger envy. It all stems from cell phones. You’ve got to keep them powered up if you want to stay connected.
I am tired. My back is sore. My arms ache. My husband put me through the ropes this weekend. He had me completely tied up with yard work. Our little project involved considerable moving of earth and sod as well as lifting and placement of 4,524 pounds of patio blocks, but that’s just an estimate. We’ve always been do-it-yourselfers. We enjoy projecting together. Some couples are good at recreating. If they found an extra pile of cash, they’d go out for a night on the town. We’d purchase a bunch of lumber or maybe resurface the driveway.
We’ve all partaken in the occasional survey — whether it be for business (customer feedback), pleasure (what’s your personality type), political purposes (donkey or elephant) or just to get a head count of your household (U.S. Census). Back in the day, I used to peruse my Seventeen Magazine in search of a survey about boyfriend types or what my nail polish color said about me. In college, I took the Myers & Briggs Personality Inventory to find out if I was an INFP, or maybe it was an ESTJ.
He bounded into the yard Saturday morning around 10 — unannounced and uninvited — with an enthusiasm usually reserved for squirrels. He was off-putting at first, in part because of his exuberance and in part because of his mouth. It had teeth and a tongue and when it comes to unknown dogs, you’re never sure which is going to take precedence. Thankfully, this 80-pound transient was all tail wags and slobbery kisses. But I didn’t know that during the first moments of our meeting. He was a strange dog.
Fledgling birds know instinctively when it is time to leave the nest. Thing is, for them there is no going back. Bird nests are high up in trees, making it impossible for baby birds to hop back up. Once they jump out, they are on the ground and must learn to find food, fly, get up early and otherwise survive on their own. Baby birds do not have any time for hokey pokey or fooling around. Move it or lose it never took on such meaning. Empty nester is the term used to describe a parent whose children grew up and flew the coop, leaving the nest empty.
As drivers, we all possess certain pieces of equipment related to the operation of our vehicles. A license is a good start. Keys are a necessary second. GPS comes in handy for new and distant destinations. We all understand the importance of plenty of window washer fluid and regular oil changes. Car air fresheners work as fragrant reminders of a tropical island while on the interstate. All these items help make life on the road safer and easier. But something’s missing.
My husband and I have been married for 20-something years. I thought I knew the exact number by heart; however, during a recent conversation, he corrected my math. I’d been adding an extra 365 days to the duration of our wedded bliss. That’s a whole year. This made me feel a little guilty, like I take our time together for granted, which I try not to. But I do, I guess, on occasion. Twenty-something is a long time, by anyone’s standards. Together we’ve weathered one baby’s colic and three teens’ behind-the-wheel instructions.
I grew up in an era where cool jeans came outfitted with a tiny red rectangular tag and a number somewhere in the 500s. The choices were straightforward — boot-cut or straight leg, stonewashed or regular. Mom jeans hadn’t been invented, because those of us wearing them weren’t moms yet. It was a simpler time — when jeans were jeans. They covered what they needed to cover and served as a practical staple in one’s wardrobe. Times have changed. Hip, fashion-forward folks make statements with their derrieres by way of fancy stitching, rhinestones and other gaudy adornments.