Monday, 3 May 2010

Something's gotta give...

So Allison Pearson is the latest well known woman who seemed to have it all, to admit to clinical depression.  The pressure of work, children, partnership, housekeeping and maintaining a groomed, well toned appearance has taken its toll.  Although not unsympathetic, Bermondsey Mum's response would be:- "Well yeah, and what did you expect ?"   There are only so many hours in the day, at least 7 of which should be spent sleeping, which doesn't leave much to divide between work including travel to and from, children and their diverse needs, housekeeping (including shopping, cleaning, paying the bills and dealing with mail), keeping up meaningful friendships and extended family relationships as well as 'couple' time...In choosing what's gotta give in all this, there is an opportunity cost ie the benefit that is given up when a choice must be made because resources are scarce in relation to wants.  

In Bermondsey Mum's experience, women are their own worst enemies when it comes to making that choice.  They would rather hurtle towards mental ill-health than admit that they cannot possibly keep everything going to the same high standard.  Let's not forget either that often the harshest critics when a woman slips up, are other women.   A friend of BM who shall remain nameless, keeps a file of Daily Mail headlines because she is waiting for the one to cap it all - that working mothers caused global warming ! Not as fanciful as you might think, if you are familiar with the Mail.

In the article linked to above, Minette Marrin suggests letting standards drop or more radically, giving up something completely in order to gain the benefit of time for other activities.  Bermondsey Mum did just that 5 years ago...for a saner if less financially secure and intellectually challenging lifestyle.   Nevertheless, the Opportunity Cost is of course, lapsed career.  If BM is aware of this, so it seems are many other people, with pointed enquiries about the childrens' age now, such a pity to 'waste' all those years of study etc.  BM finds herself increasingly unmoved by these not-so-subtle hints and has discovered that an unexpected bonus of stepping off the competitive merry go round has been the ability to care a little less about what other people think.  

In the modern male parlance then, the advice would be to 'grow some'.  Actually maybe that's Bermondsey Mum's prescription  - make a choice, stick to it and almost magically you'll find that you care less and less what other people think.  Now that would be real girl power !

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