Thanks to all who are reading and I hope that you are finding some bit of enjoyment and some bit of solace in my rantings. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any topics you's like me to address at firstname.lastname@example.org
now on to my next question.....
Is Happiness is Over Rated?
So have you come up with an answer? Can you manage this life with out the occasional Valium or Prozac prescription? I haven’t had much sleep since last we talked but my mind is racing and I have a few more bits of info for you. A social scientist named Dan Buettner made the pursuit of happiness his life work and in the year 2000. He did a study to find the happiest places and people in the world. Do you know that among some of least happy people in the entire world he found us? Who is us? Why the American Housewife of course. And do you know what reasons most of us cited for this unhappiness? Not poverty, not loneliness, not abuse, but the simple fact that we are set up to fail. We have all of these things that we are expected to be and to do and not one of us can be and do all of them and do and be all of them well. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. It is impossible to succeed at our lives without sacrificing our happiness. Who is to blame? I don’t know. I am NOT a social scientist. I can only speculate that sometime around women's suffrage and the fight for equal rights we began to take on all these additional roles and sort of forgot about the ones we already had. We just sort of kept pushing and thinking that if the men can do it we can do it! Before we knew what had happened we were here in the middle of this mess and tired as heck wondering what went wrong. We’ve been sold (or probably more accurately went out and willingly bought) the idea that we can be everything to everyone and still look good doing it. You know who I blame...I BLAME ENJOLI!!!
HA! I remember that commercial from when I was just a girl. “I can bring home the bacon! Fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man cause I’m a woman with Enjoli!” It’s TRUE! Sometime in the 1970’s women decided we needed to become superhuman bionic. Maybe it’s Lindsay Wagner’s fault! I don’t know! All I do know is that now I’m left holding the bag and it’s breaking my back!
So is happiness overrated? Are we just supposed to go on dong it all and smiling while falling apart? How do we go back? How do we undo what has been done? Are we so afraid that if we take a minute to go get a massage and a pedicure that our kids might miss band practice or have to have take-out instead of a healthy well prepared home cooked organic meal? So filled with guilt at the idea of putting ourselves first for just one hour? Why? Men do it all the time! They do, they really do. Let’s take for example “the 20 minute POOP”. You are laughing because you know EXACTLY what it is I’m talking about. He needs his privacy (mine even wants in our dream house, his very own bathroom.). He needs to meander and languish on the toilet for at very least 20 minutes while he reads Golf Digest and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue (it would probably be porn if you had no kids.) Here he also clips his fingernails, examines the nose hairs he needs to trim, and stares into the hand mirror wondering if Heidi Klum comes into the office today by chance would she find him attractive. Can I even remember when I pooped last? I find myself spending an entire day holding it in because it is just so inconvenient and I just do not have the time. Let’s examine for a moment what it actually takes to go poop as a mommy. I really think it is important to cover this because NO ONE explains it to you before you have kids. No one ever even mentions this at all. Let’s say you are in the mall with your little darlings. Let’s say one is an infant and one a toddler. You are alone with them and you really have to go. So here are all the possibilities. You will need to use the handicapped stall even though it is totally politically incorrect. But the fact of the matter is that not all of you will fit into one of those other tiny little stalls. You must next, threaten your toddler within inches of his or her life, “...do not touch anything. Not the trashcan, not toilet, not anything!” You better hope you have a stroller for the infant or a car seat carrier; otherwise you must now attempt to hold your infant child while you pull down your pants, urinate or defecate, and wipe. You can not set them on the floor. God only knows what is on that floor. Although some one did invent a baby holding shelf they are not in most bathrooms because no one really cares about our plight. By now your toddler is on the floor examining the drain. YUCK AND DISGUST. She is most likely also peeking under the stall at the person next to you who thinks this is so incredibly rude. So all this time you are quietly mumbling to her through gritted teeth, “Get up! Get up right now, mommy is trying to pee. Get up for Christ sakes. Get up and stop that. Stop it. Stop it right now! Please stop.” Does she? Nope! Sorry. And what if you were fortunate enough to have a stroller? It is probably too big to fit in the handicapped stall? Do you leave the kids just outside the stall door? No way. The toddler will make a run for it and what are you going to do mid-stream? You pretty much just have to go with the door open! Forget having “privacy.” You get the exact opposite you have a public pee or worse poop in front of complete strangers no less. Even if I am actually able to bring both kids in the stall, manage to keep them from touching anything and keep them off the floor, my daughter usually announces to all parties in the ladies room exactly which number it is I am performing and just how “yucky” it smells. She sometimes even tops it off with real gagging sounds. But not hubby, he defiantly needs the full 20 minutes of privacy. What a joke! So next, after he determines that Heidi Klum most definitely would fall madly in love, because Seal has nothing on him, and he can finish up his luxurious 20 minute “business.” He can then jump into the shower and take a 20 minute long steam sauna while he washes his hair. This as a side note infuriates me because really what do they have to do while they are in there that takes 20 minutes? Men do not condition their hair. Men do not have to shave their arm pits, and men absolutely do not have to shave their legs which could take forever because now that I haven’t showered in three days I am beginning to resemble a Yeti! And not to get too private but we are being REAL so the fact is that it is 2000 something and most of us are expected to shave our “Va-J-J’s.” That in and of itself could take 20 minutes! There are a lot of folds and creases in that area. Special care must be taken. What do they have to wash? All of their equipment in right there out in the open. they take all this time to wash their hair and why their hair is short or in some cases no existent! My husband likes my hair long but come on! The upkeep on this is a lot on top of all the other things I am carrying. Again like with the poop, when would I shower at all let alone for 20 minutes? Do I do it during the day while the hubby is at work and the kids are home with me? If you have no kids you might say, “Sure why not?” If you have kids you are probably snickering because you know the ramifications of a decision like this. You might get away with it sure but you might not. My friend Tracy just e-mailed me a photo of what happened during her 3 1/2 minute completely frantic shower during which she barricaded her kids into her bedroom that adjoins to her bathroom. She set them up with cartoons on TV and a snack in her bed while she attempted to shower. The second her shower was turned on her son jumped off the bed and found a very large, and very full bottle of baby powder and proceeded to sprinkle it all over the bathroom, carpet in the bedroom, bed, sister, and dog, before finally turning it on himself and emptying every last poof into his hair. He did this all in silence. He did this all while the bathroom door was open, and his mother was speed showering. This is totally true and while moderately funny, it did take her the better half of the day to clean everything up and give both kids and the dog a bath. All in 3 ½ minutes he did this! Oh did I mention she did manage to shave at least her arm pits. Kudos to you Tracy! Oh but your poor hubby works so hard everyday that he really needs that steamy shower to relax a little bit. Does yours have you believing that crap too? Any hard day at the office can not even remotely compare to what two little children can throw your way. He thinks negotiating with his middle aged boss is tough. He should try going toe to toe with a three year old who wanted the pink sippy cup with the yellow lid and not the blue sippy cup with the purple lid. She would have him wondering which way is up! At least you can ration with the middle aged boss. My daughter cried for a full hour yesterday because Yo gabba gabba was not "coming up next" and I can not control the time at which a certain cartoon comes on. You could also try to take this fabled shower in the evening when the hubby is home. Which is when? Does yours get home at like 6-6:30 depending on traffic? At which time you are expected to have prepared a gourmet meal no tuna helper, and have cleaned up the house. So after finishing the clean up from the gourmet meal, teaching little Suzy a foreign language, because even though she is only 3 it is 2009 and we are supposed to be grooming our children for success at as early an age as possible. Reading the kids a book and putting them to bed comes next and now what time is it? 8:45-9:00? You are expected to do all the things you couldn’t do during the day with the kids like, laundry or bake cup cakes for pre-school tomorrow. You must also spend time with the ever needful hubby. To raise happy children you must have a happy marriage. So quality time must be devoted to your relationship. Even though his idea of quality time usually only last 5 minutes if you know what I mean. Can you shower now? When will you sleep? What if in addition to taking care of the kids you also have a job? I haven’t even mentioned that yet. What if you also have some sort of a job that you bring home with you and need to get caught up on as do many of my female friends? We will definitely discuss this in a later blog. The same friend I referred to earlier, Tracy. She makes me laugh. She said that if she told her husband that she got a new job and that the hours were from 11:00pm to 6:00am, he’d say, “Great honey good for you.” And be totally relieved that at no point in time would he be left alone with the children while they were awake and may need something. It would never occur to him that she would never have time to sleep.
After our pampered little poodle husbands get out of their relaxing steamy showers, they want another 20 minutes to do various other grooming rituals. They shave their “beards”, put on lotion and aftershave, and admire themselves in the full length mirror, pluck hairs from their ears and noses, pop zits, and pull out grays. ALL UN INTERRUPTED!!! WHAT??? I know I sound angry but I promise that by the end of the blog I will calm down (I think). All in all 1 full hour of UN INTERRUPTED bliss and total focus on only yourself! Can you imagine this ladies? Well you will have to because until your kids are at least in high school you will not be getting this!
Not only are we supposed to be able to "do it all" but we are supposed to look good doing it? When? How? I see some women out there who manage to do this and I actually find myself staring at them in a daze. Magical harp like music starts playing in my head while I envision them putting on their makeup and brushing their long lovely hair. Pan camera to the children’s rooms where the two kids are duct taped to the wall, gagged, and trying to scream. Is that how they do it? Do they have nannies? Even if I could find the time to do it, would I have the energy? It is really all I can muster to keep my eyebrows at a minimum of two and to keep plucking those annoying black hairs that keep popping up on my chin and making me look and feel like the Wicked Witch of the West. To put on fresh make-up, to style hair, to tweeze, and pluck, and scrub and shave, and polish and manicure and groom is dizzying! All of this with two little angles at your feet.
What about my happiness? What about my Bliss? Why is my happiness suddenly at the very end of the priority list? Any expert will tell you that it shouldn’t be and that it is so important that we make time for it in our busy schedules, but really practically how is that possible? Should we draft a bill to congress that along with daylight savings time can’t we just add two more hours to each day? Why does it have to be 24 can’t it be 26? Those two hours would greatly enhance my life, I think? Truthfully though I’d probably just find them absorbed by the activities of the two children and the desperate needs of the giant child I call husband. So what is the answer? The answer is that it is only your happiness that is over-rated. Everyone else in the house better still have theirs right? Or is it that you should be happy just to serve these people you call family? Think on this tonight and we will meet again tomorrow, same time same place.