mars, venus

by humanmama on December 10, 2009

Women have it harder. Don’t argue: you know it’s true. Oh, we are cursed with the ability to multitask. It’s not a gift.

To illustrate my point, I will paint you a portrait. Ben and I got in a huge fight the other day about me not being ready to go somewhere. We had a babysitter and when he got home he said hello, went upstairs to shower and shave, got dressed, and came downstairs. “Are you all ready?” he asked me, giving me the raised eyebrow which was either “you’re wearing that??!” or “um, didn’t you HEAR THAT I WAS HOME?!” And I raced upstairs to begin the process of getting ready. In the car we had the conversation we’ve already had countless times before: “why weren’t you ready?” (This could be run with subtitles, which appear under his face in a little balloon. They say “YOU WERE HOME ALL DAY.”) I’m very, very touchy about always being late, especially because in college all my friends would literally just leave me behind to catch up. Ben does it too, goes to bed without me, etc., and it’s just something I never can get over. I’m never late for work, but ask me to be ready for a movie at 7pm and it had better start at 8:30, just in case. It’s a family problem, I notice now: everyone in my family is consistently late, I suppose because somewhere deep down we all believe that the party doesn’t really begin until we get there. I used to be cool with this, but being married to someone who would rather be 1 hour early than 1 minute late has totally messed with my system

I digress. Back to the issue. So I of course began to cry in the car, and explain what I needed to do to get ready. Let me explain what happened to get us to the car, and then, judge as you may.

Ben’s night: arrive home. Run upstairs. Go to the bathroom. Shower (4 minutes). Decide not to shave. Look in mirror and decide that you’re getting better with age. Walk to closet. Put on only suit and any random shirt and tie. Grab fancy “once a year” shoes. Make a face when you remember that they pinch your feet after a couple of hours. Tie up. Grab jacket. Go to car to “warm it up.” Annoyed, wait as patiently as possible for wife.

My night: get kids dressed in appropriate clothes. Get kids fed. Welcome sitter. Brief sitter as to what happened today and what to expect at night. Show sitter where everything is, including emergency phone numbers and Mr. Yuk magnet in case kids get poisoned. Give kids time to aquaint with sitter. Go upstairs while sitter is hanging out with kids. Turn on night fans. Turn on nightlights. Turn off main lights. Turn on little lights. Lay out 3T pajamas for Helena. And Pull-up. And washcloth (Nemo). And soap. And toothbrush. And special young-child toothpaste. Lay out 9-mo. pajamas for Lilly. And washcloth. And hairbrush. And diaper. And diaper cream. Remember she’s been peeing through her diapers at night. Climb into closet for bigger size diaper. Find 4 different Nuks. Strategically place them around room. Lay out second set of clothes for each child “just in case” but make sure they’re not too close to first set so as not to confuse sitter. Remember Lilly’s medicine. And she’s been teething. Go downstairs. Tell sitter how to make a bottle. Realize how complicated this sounds. Just make one myself. Put in Fridge. Show her how to warm up newly-made bottle. Tell her what time kids go to bed and all steps in reverse up to this very minute. Get out Lilly’s acid-reflux medicine. Tell sitter how to give it to her. Realize it’s not too early and give it to Lilly herself. Give it to her myself. Wipe girls down from dinner. Get appropriate DVD or movie or game or toy out to play with sitter. Remember after giving Lilly her meds that it is time for her next appointment with the GI specialist. Call them, leave a message being careful to spell her name, my name, (all in army “ALPHA BRAVO CHARLIE” phonetics so we don’t get a call for Hilly Billings), her birthdate, our phone number. Twice. See that we are low on her prescription meds so call pharmacy. Leave same information along with Rx number. Try to remember how much they cost last month and realize I don’t know how much is in our joint account because we haven’t done the bills in a week or so, so sit down on the computer and check our balances online, and look through the checkbook quickly. Realize we haven’t paid Helena’s tuition for the upcoming month and so write a check for it, thinking we can drop it off in the mail on the way out. Visualize outfit that fits me upstairs while making smalltalk with babysitter. Ben arrives home, is downstairs in 10 minutes. Go upstairs. Try on the 3 outfits I pictured. Realize I am still 15 lbs. too big to wear them. Weep silently to myself while slipping on stretchy black pants and “hide it” sweater. And nylons to pull it all in. Run nylons with split nail I forgot to file. File nail. Paint hole in nylons with nail polish. Throw on shoes. Realize there’s no way I’m walking for more than 5 minutes in these heels. Find another more “sensible” pair. Lament that when I was younger I was sexy and didn’t have to worry about “how high” my heels were. Realize my other shoe is in Helena’s room because I didn’t check on her for 5 minutes when she was upstairs. Make many mental notes. Throw hair up in barette, grab makeup bag for car (!), Run downstairs, realize appropriate coat is in attic, throw on too-light jacket, wish it fit better like it did last year before I was pregnant again, run out the door.

It’s a good thing we’re so much more beautiful than men. Because it ain’t easy being a woman.

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Jessica January 6, 2010 at 8:21 am

Wow, I had a very similar experience while trying to get ready for my husband's holiday party last month. At least he is wise enough not to give me a look or comment on how late I am anymore, because there is NO WAY he could get out the door on time either if he had to do everything I did to get ready. And I, too, wept silently as I tried on three outfits that didn't fit. I'm with ya!

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