You may or may not be aware, but I’ve been trying to find that feeling of gratitude that we all strive for, for a long time. And failing miserably. But this week I had no real excuse.
With a less crazy workload and the House Bitch showing signs of improvement in all areas of his domestic chores – even though he STILL can’t wipe down a fucking bench top – ie. getting a better work/life balance – I’m feeling much calmer. Added to which, I’ve found the renewed ability to sleep for longer than two hours at a time, so I’ve dicovered some lucidity about a few things that have been bugging me for a while.
In particular, about the whole grumpy, middle-aged woman stereotype thing.
Because while I agree that there are a lot of over-tired, over-emotional, VERY angry, and (above all), unfulfilled women out there who represent my age group – and whose grouchiness and partner victimisation, society likes to blame on menopause, peri-menopause and middle age…I think we should be given more credit than that.
Agreed, fluctuating hormone levels are the absolute smegma of life, invented by Satan to test the superior strength of our sex, again. But they’re not the sole reason we women aren’t content.
Because, under the right laboratory conditions, there is still a happy person wanting to come out of my body. She pops out occasionally – on holiday, in the shopping mall, in the bottle shop, when the kids are at sleepovers, when the old man is out on a boys night or with the help of a few Chardonnays, close friends and chocolate.
So we can’t blame hormones ALONE for these changes to our personality. There’s a bunch of other shit stuff that sends women over the edge.
People – The better perception about people that we develop with age makes us realise at this time in our life that, frankly, a lot of people really get on our tits. And with this new conviction, comes the courage to stand up for what we believe in and deserve, and we become intolerant, if necessary, about the choices we make about who we want to spend our time with. A few good friends is infinitely better than a room-full of periphery friendships and fuckwits.
Having it all, it being too much and sinking – Of course women still want it all, but the reality is that the dream is not always that straightforward. And we hate to admit to that because we (can be stubborn bitches) fought so hard to get where we are. Which is why an equal partnership, that includes a supportive domestic infrastructure, is so important – to stop us feeling overwhelmed, resentful and sticking pins in voodoo dolls of our partners when they aren’t there.
Because sometimes long-term relationships are hard. Both genders know this. We reach middle age and we don’t necessarily have as much in common anymore with the life partners we chose when we were completely different people in our twenties, and now our responsibility to contribute to the population is over, sometimes, on days when the shit has hit the fan, bounced off the walls several times and then hit us straight in the face, it can be hard to see why we stay together.
By our forties and fifties, many of us are juggling more balls than we can hope to catch, and at a time in our lives when we a) are not as co-ordinated and b) thought life would be easier. Once the kids are in high school, there is an expectation and financial need for many of us to go back to work full-time, if we’re not already there, yet we can’t afford the support required for a true work/life balance, and … TEENAGERS! Did you know that women still do the bulk of the domestic chores, even when they work full time?
On an average day, 19 percent of men did housework–such as cleaning or doing laundry–compared with 49 percent of women. (Time Magazine)
Then there’s the added pressure on women to do everything perfectly – to cook ‘cleanly’, look healthy and gorgeous all the time, to Thermomix, slow cook…AND BE HAIRLESS!
So what happens? We sink further into the quicksand of a horrible, middle-aged lethargy because we’re already more tired than we’ve every felt in our lives. Our body is slowing down, the hormones ARE wreaking havoc on our sleep patterns, anxiety levels and weight/self-esteem, AND we have to work twice as hard to hold down jobs due to brain cells that are self-euthanising at a time when we’re up against younger generations who cost employers less.
And that, admittedly, might make us a tad over-sensitive at times.
Those outbursts over wet towels on the floor, or being too tired for sex, or crying because our cooking wasn’t good enough, are not just about fucking hormones.
They are a plea for help and support.
So, thank you for the compliment of piling everything onto us because you know we are more accomplished multi-taskers and organizers, but …no thanks.