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Posts Tagged ‘English’

I’m beginning to feel my age. Texting has changed our language, no longer can we write a complete sentence, we can barely complete a word. That baby isn’t adorable, he’s “adorb!” But what trips me up from time to time is the abundance of new acronyms! OTOH = on the other hand; IDK = I don’t know; YOLO = you only live once; WTF = what the ….heck?” It’s almost as if young people are creating their own cryptograms as a get-around for our generation.

Recently, I had to look up one of these – WFH! Short for Working from home,” a very popular post these days! It is usually accompanied by a smiley face emoji with a wink. I immediately laughed at this particular acronym because as a woman of a certain age, I’ve always worked from home. Even when I was driving to a job as a pre-school teacher, I would come home to cooking, cleaning and the usual things it takes to run a household.

When I settled into writing for a newspaper, I always wrote in a corner of my dining room. When I was done, I’d email my copy in and walk into the kitchen and start dinner. Even Great Grandma Ada had her counseling office right next to her kitchen!

But today, our generation has raised some strong, post-feminist women who believe in an EQUAL partnership with their spouse. They make flow charts about who changes the sheets and does the laundry, who cooks and who cleans up the kitchen, who makes the list and shops. And all the quiet work of scheduling doctor’s appointments for the kids, or tracking their currently non-existent playdates and sports events.

In Nashville today, we have nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of Covid19,  – “IOW” – in other words, lots and lots of people are WFH.

Working from home means we see cats crawling across keyboards, dogs still bark at the mailman, one guy accidentally picks up his knee and we get to see his boxer shorts, we hear babies crying! During our virtual will planning session with our lawyer, her baby was inconsolable and I wondered, “Where’s your husband?”

So if you were wondering how the division of home labor stacks up, gender-wise, during our Corona Crisis, I’ve got just the podcast for you! NPR’s Terri Gross interviewed the author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” Brigid Schulte. She tells us that even today, women, enlightened, smart, woke women are bearing the brunt of the housework. https://www.npr.org/2020/05/21/860091230/pandemic-makes-evident-grotesque-gender-inequality-in-household-work

“We’ve got this grand mythology (breadwinner vs homemaker model) that that’s really what a family should be,” she says. “We still think that one person should go out to work and be responsible for all of the work and earning and supporting the family. … And there should be … somebody always available at home to do the care and carework.”

But Schulte says that families aren’t monolithic and shouldn’t be treated as such. She says the pandemic has created an opportunity to start a dialogue about the distribution of household tasks.”

Schulte says that she had been carrying alot of radioactive anger around, feeling overwhelmed in her marriage. But she brought up the Notorious RBG, who once had a call from school to pick up her child, and she told the school secretary to call her husband, it was his turn! She said to treat your marriage and family almost like a business, you wouldn’t want your business to fail, right?

I saw a funny YouTube of a woman pleading to God NOT to make her teach math. I remember when the Bride first started homeschooling, I told her her husband is a natural teacher. In higher education it’s called being an “academic.” In fact, he gets awards for his research and teaching skills. Harmony prevailed when they figured out he could do some home-schooling when he wasn’t in the hospital, and she continues to enjoy cooking and baking bread. Sourdough bread.

When she’s not saving lives in her ER. Or teaching a Yoga Zoom class.

I have a feeling since our pandemic quarantine, lots of men around the world are waking up to the tireless domestic work it takes to run a household. The patience it takes to teach and nurture a child. Our L’il Pumpkin learned how to ride a two-wheeler during our lockdown. The Love Bug built a diorama of a fox for her last day of Zoom class.

Now’s the time to have that critical conversation with your loved one. Don’t keep picking up their socks and putting them in the hamper. Don’t hold grudges. If you’re both WFH, pick a day to do housework – Bob always vacuums, I always cook. He weeds the garden and has started doing the laundry, I do the bathrooms. We both sew masks. Don’t let underlying resentment eat away at your marriage.

OTOH we’ve started doing Pilates together, two mats on the floor and a Zoom class every Tuesday and Saturday. And it’s a wonderful thing.

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There was a time in my life in NJ, when I had to renew myself. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a Mom, but ripping me out of the beautiful Berkshires, where my babies were born, left me adrift in suburbia. I didn’t fit in.

People in the North ask you, “Where did you move from?” People in the South ask you, “What church do you belong to?” Neither move had an acceptable answer, since I don’t go to church, and when I told my NJ acquaintances that we had lived in Pittsfield, MA, the resounding reaction was why the hell did I move to Central NJ?

For my husband’s job? To be closer to our family? Partially true.

Up until that point I’d been coasting along. Marry your high school sweetheart – check. Maybe not at the age of 30 after many years of Woodstock and Westchester, but hey, I was a late bloomer. I felt connected to the Berkshires, I started writing there and made friends that would last a lifetime. There was something about the New England character that spoke to me, something deep.

I kept a saying on my Jersey refrigerator, “Bloom where you’re planted,” and i tried to grow roots.

So I got a job writing at a weekly newspaper, I joined a beach club and ran for the school board. I started working on a Master’s Degree at Monmouth College (now “University”). I ran around trying to get my new suburban life started. And then one day my professor asked me to attend an educational symposium and my editor asked me to write about it too. Some dots were connecting.

That’s where I met and interviewed Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard. They were fresh off the buzz of Dead Poets Society and I wish I could link you to my article but we weren’t online in the early 90s. I do remember one thing that Hawke said to those teenagers, “Don’t wait around for your life to start, it’s happening right now.”

In light of Robin Williams’ death, I’ve been thinking about that movie. He played the English teacher we all wish we had in high school – and in fact, I did have Miss Flanagan who was phenomenal. I wish you had waited Robin, just a little, to see that your life still has so much meaning, that you brought such beauty and laughter to us all.

“Poetry beauty romance life, these are what we stay alive for…you may contribute a verse…the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse…”

“What will your verse be?”         

 

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