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Pride and Prejudice March 23, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
Tags: , , ,

TS was unwell yesterday.  So I let her monopolize me all morning… and in between her napping and occasional coughing bouts I watched the film Pride and prejudice with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen that I had been postponing for a number of years!  But I can’t say I enjoyed it.  The Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth BBC version will remain my favorite. Probably the film is closer to how things looked in reality then but somehow I prefer the ‘cleaner’ more romanticized version of the mini series.

How much simpler life was then.  In reality, how much simpler life was not that many years ago.  I’m obviously referring to girls’ life expectations.  In terms of everything else, I believe life then was difficult without the whole plethora of machines and gadgets we have today to make tasks about the house easier.  But girls just had to get married, have babies, bring them up and marry them off.  Along the line they cleaned and cooked and shopped and were wives and of course got older (until they died).

Now it’s different.  Our new freedoms allow us to study and work, start off careers and buy property, travel and generally have more fun. We have choices thanks to the different movements that have fought to give women rights equal to those enjoyed by men.

My trail of thoughts today follows this freedom juxtaposed by the frustrations when circumstances limit it, when it feels that these freedoms and rights were won for others but not for me.

Choices are real when one can actually choose them.  If choices are not real options, they stop being choices and become myths.

Being a stay home mum is admired by some (usually by members of a generation or 2 or 3 older than me) and frowned upon by others (usually by my generation and 1 or 2 younger).  We the younger generations (i’m in may late 30s) seem to now be programmed in a way that makes a stay home mum seem like someone who has opted out, given up, ‘chickened’ out even.  We seem to believe we are superwomen and can do what that, that other women before us have failed to do or understand. So while we want to be proud parents (of 1 or maybe maximum 2, well spaced, also well-timed kids), but we also want/need to:

  • keep climbing the career ladder;
  • keep adding on to our academic achievements;
  • have perfect figures well dressed in the latest colours, trends, labels;
  • travel;
  • sport well-kept stylish hairstyles/hair colours;
  • be well read and up to date both with news that matters and trivia;
  • have healthy relationships with our partners;
  • keep old friendships, make new ones and  entertain  both sets ‘stylishly’ and regularly; 

And on and on I could go. Lest we be seen as not quite, je ne sais quoi. 

Caught in between the prejudices of my family, friends and acquaintances as well as my own preconceived ideas of wife-cum-stay home mom, I often feel not quite here and not quite there.  I know the princesses will soon grow and I will be able to have a full-time job again but in the mean time I feel so caught in a time warp.

Let me explain: Last May, when TS was 4 months old, I left the house quickly to get milk from my corner convenient store, conveniently situated 50m from front door.  I was wearing one of my tracksuits, my hair held in place with my sunglasses. The lady behind me in the queue kept trying to get TS to smile to her.  When I acknowledged her asked me if I was the grandmother or the mother of the baby. I was too taken aback to answer… just mumbled something like “I’m in hurry” and came home and had a good cry. After which I asked my man to take the afternoon off and booked myself an appointment at my favourite hair salon for that same afternoon. 

This incident comes to mind very very often.  I know that technically I can be TS’s grandmother but I most definitely don’t want to look like my kids’ grandmother!

Since then, because the princesses are older (anyway a little more manageable), because I took to listening more to my older Italian friend whom I’d like to look/be/behave like when I’m older and because of something else that for now I’m keeping as my secret, I’m taking more care of what I put on and what I look like when I walk out of the door.  And mainly, I’m doing this because it generally makes me feel so much better.  I don’t go anywhere much. During the day my outings are to the supermarket, to pick up the kids (apart from the occasional coffee with my journalist friend) and sometimes the playing fields but I still take time to dress up.  Somehow I walk taller when I’m not in tracksuits and running shoes. 

Now the other stay home moms at the school gate are starting to ask me if  I’m working again or if I’ve been out during the morning just because I turn up in black pants, a nice top and lipstick!



1. maureen - March 23, 2010

you go girl! about wanting it all…you know my feelings. about being a stay at home mum (for now at least), i honestly wish i could do it too. i feel like i’d at least be living one of the 2 realities to the full. as it is i feel like i’m missing out professionally and also as a mum/wife. oh and you look nothing near your kids’ grandmother!!! what a thing to say!

sunflower71 - March 24, 2010

thanks for taking the time to read and reply. (Only, now don’t start thinking I’d going out dressed like one of the girls in SATC!)

2. maureen - March 25, 2010

why shouldn’t you dress like them? you’re tall, slim and young. i say go for it! 😀

sunflower71 - March 25, 2010

right on tall but not the other adjectives used… We’ll I’d be about the same age as the girls really but can you imagine me at the school gate dressed up like Samantha or Miranda in their power suits… and I’m really not like Charlotte and I don’t have Carrie’s flair……but I have to say Carrie’s style does inspire me to experiment…

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