I’m feeling swamped. Not in a bad way, but swamped all the same.
In fact, I’m up to my eyeballs in the usual and then some – a few things I’ve recently plunged into professionally (all good), but with a learning curve involved, and a new routine. And both require adjustments.
My kids have been gone for much of the summer, and one has just returned with the ensuing onslaught of drop-ins, car requests, Empty Fridge Syndrome, and the added worries (as well as delights) of having him home.
It’s been compromised along with healthy eating and regular exercise, and we know all of the above are essential to feeling our best.
Oh Yeah. Exercise.
And speaking of exercise, the latest word from the research community (as if this wasn’t common sense) – we need to move our butts, and other assorted parts as a recent article claims that lack of exercise is as deadly as smoking.
According to the study referenced in Time Healthland:
About 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008 could be attributed to inactivity, the new report estimates, largely due to four major diseases: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer. The study finds that if physical inactivity could be reduced by just 10%, it could avert some 533,000 deaths a year; if reduced by 25%, 1.3 million deaths could be prevented.
So do we really need to get back to “basics?” You know. Basics! Healthy eating, a good night’s sleep, exercise?
And respect? Pursuing what we love if at all possible? Giving back? We know these ways of being and seeing matter enormously, though occasionally we need a nudge in the right direction.
Good Guys Help (Because They Can’t Imagine Not Helping)
Call it chivalry. Call it good manners. Call it common sense. Call it smart.
Pas moi. But I’m nonetheless particular about certain aspects of my household, and not entirely used to sharing my space even on a part-time basis other than with my kids. That said, after a decade of the juggle on my own, wouldn’t it be silly not to enjoy a Good Guy who can also cook and clean up?
The strange thing is, I’m constantly pinching myself. Among other things, the elements of role reversal feel more like partnership than anything I’ve ever experienced before.
It’s an exchange that seems balanced at times, and more one-sided at others logistically speaking, and in June and July, I’m the one on the receiving end. He has summers off, and I work (and/or write) virtually every day.
I also consider these facts relevant: we both have one marriage behind us, at midlife we know ourselves well, we’ve learned from our mistakes (which doesn’t mean we won’t make new ones), and we share values as well as our approach to relationships.
Post-Divorce Pick-Up Sticks
While his post-divorce life doesn’t resemble mine, his openness to the experience of others sets him apart (from most people I know), and we don’t worry about roles; we focus on what works for us.
As a mother, I also recall the times when my boys seemed more like the parent than I did, at least to me. They were rare moments, but compassionate kids can recognize when a mother or father needs to be treated to laughter, to rest, or to comforting.
As for gender role reversal, I need to toss my guilt and my persistent surprise. I should accept the logic of this arrangement, my Good Guy’s lesser complications and responsibilities in the summer, his good-natured willingness to help as my cup runneth over with professional tasks and temporary tempestuous teenage parenting.
His support boosts my spirits after a frustrating day, and he genuinely shares my good moments after a wonderful one. Isn’t this what women have provided to their partners traditionally? Should we really be stunned to receive the same?
The Ultimate Role Reversal?
After yesterday’s musing on motherhood and work (not to mention the many articles in print and online concerning Anne-Marie Slaughter and Marissa Mayer), I particularly enjoyed this post from Greg Marcus, on the issue of her Mayer’s husband.
What they have had is more options professionally, greater financial security, fewer preconceived notions, and more opportunity in the acquisition of a caring partner (spouse) – even as they age. None of this changes the fact that they, too, have obstacles to overcome in the stereotype (and role) department.
Do read the Marcus post. It’s short and to the point. Shouldn’t the question of who does what concern role fluidity – rather than role assignment?