You know the movie. Maybe you’ve even read the book: “I Don’t Know How She Does It!” And there she is, perky Sara Jessica Parker bouncing across the screen with her kids in tow, making cookies and going to work in sassy high heels. She can whip up a kiddie birthday party that would make Martha Stewart green with envy; all the while doing it with lovely long locks, six-pack abs, and a super cute husband.
Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth a bit.
But these women do exist. You see them soccer game bringing Capris Suns and the “good” snacks. They’re lurking around the school’s holiday cake walk with their famous apple crisp that is “just to die for.” They throw killer Fourth of July parties, their kids are in twenty-some-odd sports and on the honor roll, and their house always gives out the best candy at Halloween.
But who are these women? Were they born this way? Did they attend some type of Superwoman training program (and did that program come with a stylish wardrobe?)? Did they fall into a hole in the ground and land in a nuclear pool which made them stronger, faster, better?
I do not have the answer to this life question.
So I asked one of them. How do you do it?
The response: “I like to stay busy.”
This is not only complete B.S., it is also not very helpful information.
I have a friend who is a-freakin-mazing. She makes SJP’s character look like Jabba the Hut on muscle relaxants. She works, has kids (who have a bazillion activities themselves), she heads up not one, not two, but three major organizations, her house is always perfectly decorated for every holiday, and still volunteers at the school. Also, she is s kick ass correspondent. Oh, and did I mention she is running a marathon.
I am just happy that at school drop off in the morning I am not wearing my pjs. Yet, there she is looking fantabulous, showered and ready for work. And oddly, I don’t want to punch her.
I want to make a trophy and have an awards ceremony in her honor, or at least send her an Edible Arrangement for all she does.
Now, I am not a lazy person, I am active and definitely help out at the school and contribute to society, but man, am I really not doing enough? Just thinking about what other women do makes my heart constrict and scream for an angioplasty – stressful!
So where does the need, the drive really to do so much come from? Does society demand it? Are there more things to do? Did everyone take the phrase “carpe diem” to the extreme?
My mom always like to weigh in on this busy bee syndrome. It goes something like this:
“You girls just do too much. Jezem Crow! We never did as much as you girls do nowadays.”
That is also a lie.
My mother cleaned the house, took care of three kids and carted us to all of our activities, was in a book club, did stuff at school, worked as a nurse, hosted Tupperware parties and those ridiculous candle parties, and did it all without her frosted hair losing its gleam.
Aha, women have been doing this crap since the beginning of time. It just takes on different forms. Back in “the day” there was less variation. You worked on a farm. All farms needed to be tilled, etc. All rugs needed to be beaten and hens fed and, well you get the idea. Now, we have different jobs, different activities, more social clubs, more volunteer opportunities.
I can guarantee in the 1600s nobody volunteered. It was called, “If you want to eat you had better get your fanny outside and shear the wheat.”
So here is a theory of why we feel we need to do more and more:
1) We were born this way – There are few women I have seen that lay around like college stoners. And the lazy women I do know are complete bitches who hate themselves.
2) We compare ourselves to others – The “Keeping up with the Jones’s” effect still applies here.
3) We’ve been tricked – Committees guilt us into doing things (“We need to sell 100 more rolls of wrapping paper, or the band will not be able to compete in Tuscaloosa.”) or no one else will do the damn job (“We just need one more volunteer to head up the committee to de-trash out city’s ravines so our girls can get their badges”).
I say enough already. It is good to get involved in our communities and in our children’s lives, but let’s all take a breath and sit DOWN for once. That Abe Lincoln costume will be there tomorrow for you to sew. Have a glass of wine and raise a toast for all you do.
Then go fold some laundry, bake those cookies, and organize your coupons; because that is a light day for you.