In Bossypants, Tina Fey writes that after she turned 40, she had to take her pants off as soon as she got home from work, but before 40, she didn’t have to do that. It’s a fun anecdote that represents her humor well.
And it’s so true! I’m older than 40, by a decade, but I relate to this absolutely. I can’t get out of my work slacks and into my cozy yoga pants fast enough. I never do yoga, but what’s your point? Add to it the four Advil I have to take for my aching back, and the Starburst Reds I have to eat just to keep my energy up until dinner time, and I feel fully middle aged.
Our division of labor in the Odie household is simple: As “Mom,” I do the typical mom stuff. The kids’ social calendars, doctor and dentist appointments, and clothes shopping. The last one is my personal albatross. I hate shopping and have never been into fashion. But I do know what sizes girls and young women wear, and hubby wouldn’t have a clue. He probably thinks I’m a size 8, God bless him.
I manage the clothes, he washes them. We share the folding with the kids. I meal plan and cook dinner, he grocery shops and washes dishes. He drives the kids to school, I pick them up. I have therapy on Mondays, he has it on Tuesdays. The cats make sure we both feed them. He kills the ants that invade the house, I track them down outside and set traps. During distance learning, I grew a vegetable garden, but it’s been too hot and dry this summer to try to grow anything.
I joke with my students at the end of the day that I have to get home to my OTHER full-time job. But it isn’t really a joke. I think that parenting gets easier once the kids are in the lower elementary school grades, then gets harder again when they’re in middle school. Babies and toddlers need constant supervision and care, but they get independent around second grade: dress themselves, brush their teeth, bathe, put themselves to bed. Middle school comes along and suddenly they need showers far more often and they seem to be the only ones who can’t smell the adolescence. So I’m back to harassing them into the shower, even though I no longer have to wash hair or wipe butts.
And the second I get home, I take off my pants.