not even in sequence.
I find it amazing that women are the ones asking that question: Can I do it all? I wonder if a man has ever asked it of himself? I imagine men being stressed, over-worked, missing their families. But do they feel obligated to figure out how to "do it all" (like having orange iced pumpkin muffins for the second grade class and showing up in an impeccable suit for the business lunch, all in the same day... and knowing that weeding and laundry, grocery shopping and homework supervision are waiting for him at home).
I tend to think men get thanked as helping out when they load the dishes. I don't think they feel like failures when they wake to ants crawling on plates of pie crumbs because they collapsed exhausted into bed instead of cleaning up the kitchen at midnight. When men do it all, they are praised as enlightened, good husbands/partners, doing more than their share, helping their wives/girlfriends, setting a good example for the kids. If they don't do it all, but try - they get credit for trying. If they don't even try, we excuse them as male—men aren't required to do it all in truth; they are invited to pitch in once in awhile.
Some women appear to do it all. They manage their weight, get their nails done, pay attention to diet for the whole family, match pillows and wall paint, throw terrific parties, run marathons, earn lots of money, nurture children, self-educate: going to book and garden clubs, volunteer, and are reportedly great in bed, too. (That was exhausting to type—imagine living it!)
I can actually think of a couple women I know who fit the description in that scary intimidating paragraph. (I love them! Wish I could be them! I wonder if they like being themselves...)
I heard on the radio today that kids between 4-15 are getting less allowance than they used to, due to the recession. Current figures say that the average allowance is $9.00/week for boys and $8.00/week for girls. What? Girls get less allowance than boys? Seriously? They also said that boys tend to spend their allowances within days and girls tend to save up for bigger purchases, delaying gratification.
Maybe that's the difference: boys still feel entitled to a life that has more room in it for what they want, when they want it (perhaps they can spend it all and get more from mom and dad, more easily than girls). It appears that girls are trained, even subconsciously, from an early age that they will not get as much, must make it last longer, must make it appear to be enough, and are still required to compete with those boys as though they are equals.
Perhaps the "do it all" mentality ought to come with a price tag. It seems really tough to get it all done on low income or too little free time or not enough partner support. I wonder what would happen if women just stopped and only did what they can afford to do (emotionally, logistically, financially, relationally). I wonder how men would see us. What would our children think? What about our friends? I wonder how we would see ourselves.
I think it's time to stop over-spending on our ideals. I'm going on an "image diet." Wanna join me?