My long-suffering husband pointed out last night that 21st Century women are caught in this terrible paradox of roles.
He spent an hour listening to a very privileged woman (in my estimation) with a wealthy husband, a mansion in Kyalami Estate (or similar), a high end European sedan and a Platinum Mastercard complain about how useless she is and how she nothing but an au pair for her husband (not really, she has 2 maids and a driver).
My advice – It’s not his fault she has no self-esteem, after all he’s paid for the surgery, the gym membership and the Jimmy Choos all in an effort to keep her happy. We should all be so lucky.
However, the crux here is that she resents and envies women like me who, and I quote, “Have it all.” Do we? I think this is another case of the Invisible Mummy who doesn’t exist. We don’t have it all. We miss the funny gems that fall like pearls before swine from the lips of our beloved offspring onto the ears of uncaring nannies and after-care providers. We probably missed the first step, first word, first ballet performance, first cricket match and all the PTA dinners.
She believes we don’t come to the PTA stuff, because we think we’re too good for that. It’s not the case, we don’t come because we’re exhausted and refuse to relinquish even the 2 hours of chaos and trauma, which add up to the only time we ever send with our children, to stand around make small talk about the gym and nibble on chicken wings. The PTA Mummies are our lifeline, they are the ones we love to hate and rely on desperately to tell us when we need to do something, when the school holidays start and what our child’s teacher’s name is.
The thing is women like me define ourselves by what we do and have a deep seeded insecurity that without a career we could not afford to send our children to over-priced snob schools and that we would fade away into nothingness, our brains atrophied due to lack of use. Of course, that isn’t true – the brain atrophy part.
Women who don’t work seem to fall into either the Mother Teresa category or the other extreme, which is defining themselves by their roles as wife and mother and not as individuals in their own right. Also, just as wrong.
The sad fact is that the grass on the other side of the fence may be greener, but that’s because it’s probably astroturf.