Leave the heels at home

ShoesFirst of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Atticus Finch, speaking to his daughter, Scout, in To Kill A Mockingbird

Put another way, we are often told to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Once upon a time, the advice may have been to walk in another man’s shoes.

SunflowersBut if you ask me, if you are a guy, try walking in the shoes of the woman in your life. For just a day or two this week, I’ve been put in this position. And I’ve reached two conclusions:

  • Over time, maybe I could learn to do the everyday stuff that Janet does and makes look easy.
  • I hope to never have to really test the preceding statement.

Without going into a lot of details, Janet has been on injured reserve since Monday. Among other things, this has meant that I’ve had to:

  • Pick up Jacob after basketball practice on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Grab dinner for everyone Monday night in the drive-through lane at McDonald’s because by the time I got home, it was too late fix anything by the time the hungry mouths in the house are accustomed to eating.
  • Drop off prescriptions for Janet.
  • Go back two hours later to pick up the prescriptions.
  • Take Jacob to school Tuesday.
  • Fix dinner Tuesday.
  • Clean up the kitchen.
  • Take out the trash.

Many of these are things with which I often try to help. And I’ll keep trying to help, but it seems unlikely that I’ll ever do them with her efficiency. This week, I’ve tried to do them while continuing my normal routine, which includes posting something here and trying to find some time to work out, eat breakfast, catch up on the news and stop in for a few minutes at my favorite coffee shop before getting to work.

I mostly succeeded Tuesday by cutting lots of corners:

  • The workout — at home instead of spending time to get to the gym — was shorter than normal
  • Personal grooming took a backseat. Janet always looks like $1 million when she leaves the house. I’ll never know how she gets everything else done and still gets herself ready and out the door looking that good.
  • Because I spent the day in a training session, I was able to arrive for work a bit later than normal.

And I still felt like I was behind and trying to catch up with every step. On Facebook, I said I’d be a bad working mom because the stress would kill me.

My female friends who responded were kind in passing judgement. One said she feels as if she’s near death at least four times a day most days. Another said women are also a “hot mess” trying to get everything and everyone out the door on time every morning.

I appreciate their support. For sure, I have a greater appreciation for what they do.

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