“Your husband is ok with you spending that kind of time out of the house?” Asks Acquaintance known from here on out as Miss-Judgerson.
“What time? At spin class or getting my nails done?” I ask while sipping my iced cofvefe.
“Well, I guess both. That’s two hours you won’t be home, and it’s a weekend, so he will have to take care of her.” Miss-Judgerson says with a side-eye.
“Actually it’s three hours out of the house as I will need a proper dry for my mani-pedi. Besides, he knows where the fire extinguisher is in case he starts an inferno making a cheese quesadilla.” Sip.
I have a 10 year-old
I have a husband of 20 years
He works … a lot
I work … a lot
The 10 year-old, is a very fortunate 10 year-old
She does athletic and art activities after school
She has friends
She does well in school
Her room is in a constant state of organization that looks as if it was done by using a leaf blower
The husband and I divide and conquer
He food shops
He does laundry
I eat in clean clothing
If it appears that he does a lot around the house, it is because he does. There are days and weeks where the roles are reversed, with the one exception of the laundry. He always does the laundry, because he HATES how I do the laundry.
While I do ask my husband if it is OK for me to go to a fitness class, the salon or for a drink with friends, it isn’t permission I am asking for. Rather, it is plans that I am confirming. As partners, we have equal skin in the game, and that includes pick up and drop offs from school, activities and playdates. There is a designated group of parents that have my Husband’s cell phone number and another designated group that has mine. We divide and conquer on most things in our life, because it works.
I’ve been post-puberty for 37 years. During that time, I have had to spend by my best guesstimate $193,067.47 on feminine hygiene products and foundation garments. I have also spent 6,742 billable hours shopping for previously mentioned feminine hygiene products and foundation garments. Factoring in the gender wage gap that women are still subjected to (for a later column), that’s a boat load of cash that I have paid out or wasted on being female. Going to spin class a few times a week and getting a mani-pedi every month is my way of saying to myself that I matter.
Here’s the thing, my husband knows not to expect me to get permission to take care of me. I also know not to expect my husband to get permission from me to manage four different fantasy football teams or watch English Premier League Soccer every Saturday morning for several hours. He has football and futbol and I have spin and salon. It works for us, and it gives us each daily experiences in life that we can share with one another, or not.
Ten years ago, I would have cared way too much about what another woman thought. I would doubt my choices, I would look for flaws in my decision making, I would concede that she must have a point, and I should consider the value in what she had to say. Now, I would prefer to sip on my iced beverage and consider my next move, and show interlopers with epic side-eye that I have made the right decision for me and my family.
I often wonder, why must we value how someone chooses to live higher than how authentically they are living? My life is filled with individuals who live their lives differently than mine. It is also filled with people who are very much like me and have similarities. Inasmuch as we need to surround ourselves with people whose differences positively fuel our energy, we also need those in our life who provide us with a barometer for the pressures we may be feeling.
That’s the beauty of being over 50. I need to prove myself to no one. I don’t have time for side-eyed statements. I barely have enough time to cook dinner and unload the dishwasher. Or eat. So why care about side-eye when I have cuticles that need trimming?