Help, The Coffee Is Out!

She wears her high heels,
And her stand up collar,
Her clothes match perfectly,
She looks worth a million dollars.

As she walks out the elevator,
All heads turn to watch her walk tall
So perfectly put together,
Appearing as if there is not one flaw.

As women have moved in droves to the workforce, the need to progress to higher level demanding roles has increased substantially. With that advent has come the ever ending pressure that is imperative to succeed in the business world. The biggest challenge seems to be fitting all the roles into one day, one lifetime. Trying to maintain some sort of balance, often times involves, either cutting back or eliminating some. Many are opting out of the traditional female iconic tasks of women in past years, long gone.

This really hit home with me a few weeks back when I overheard a woman make a comment to a coworker. This woman is a management supervisor at a high level agency that does impressive, recognizable marketing brand work for a leading manufacturer. Every time I have seen her in the office, she is like the woman above, minus the height! I recently learned she is single, thus I doubt she even has the time to date. She is impeccably dressed, well spoken, pleasantly mannered, articulate, and extremely well liked. Oh and not good in the kitchen!

As I was sitting at my desk, she came over to the two coffee pots by my work station. These two pots are exclusive for the coffee club. These are for those employees that pay to be in this “In Coffee Club” and taste outstanding coffee from overseas verses the free watered down version that is provided that poorly represents a good brew. As luck would not have it for her, the pot was empty. Rule of the club is when it is empty, you make the next pot. Apparently, she had never been in this predicament before and was feeling somewhat overwhelmed. She asked the gentleman who runs it if he would kindly show her how to make it, a pot of coffee. He seemed surprised but responded favorably.

Now what really hit my funny bone that morning was her comment to him, said under hushed tones. As he rounded the corner and came near her, she uttered, “Let me preface this with my saying that I am not domesticated.” With that said, a bold admission, and to a man, no less , I was impressed and humored.

Years ago there was a wonderful commercial everyone talked about. It was a woman professing to be able to go to work and then come home with bacon and fry it up in a pan and let her man know she was still a woman and he was a man. In a sense, she could do it all. Years before this commercial, there was a show called Wonder Woman. Now the picture would be a stressed out woman trying to do it all. A healthier picture is this woman at the office, realizing doing it all is not possible. Thus, she carefully picks and chooses what she wants and can do and leave the rest behind. Life is too short to do it all.

Women with careers, large families, etc, are short on time. My sister has three children all in sports and she works part time. She is lucky to find time to get her hair done, let alone bake cookies. My daughter in law has 3 small children, two in therapy. To clean the entire house daily would mean the children would have very little time to just spend playing with their mommy. Why not have someone come in and help around the house and spend the time with the children and doing things more meaningful when they are young? Choices women are making today make good sense. Granted they are different than the generation before but times have changed.

It is hard to wear too many hats. Most of us are not multiple personalities so can’t go from being a business woman, to a room mother, to a cheerleader coach, to chef, to housekeeper, banker, etc… All of these skills are what it takes to be a domestic engineer. Thus, many working women these days do not have those skill sets anymore. And I am not sure they should be expected to either. But it is funny to think they can balance a million dollar budget and yet are confused about how to cook a potato in the microwave!

Let us not forget too that being a stay at home mother is still an admirable job. It is extremely hard work. You try wearing all those hats and living at your place of employment. There is no off the clock, no coffee club, no meeting at the water cooler, 24/7 shifts, plus doing all roles yourself. No stay at home woman should have to justify that they are not out in the workforce either. It is just crazy, everyone I have met is just as busy, just doing different things and oh, has an immaculate home and cooks to beat the band! And they all seem to know how to bargain shop. In contrast, I have met more working women that have attended classes on how to collect and use coupons because they have no idea how to do either!

However, there are many working women that have managed to create a solid balance between exceptional business expertise and performance and domestic skill sets and bliss. For those that have not, just a few tips below:

Betty Crocker does not just make canned Beefaroni. She also makes cake mixes you can use as a base for excellent deserts and has her own brand of cookbooks.

Dinners are not meant to be cooked solely out of microwaves when you don’t feel like eating out or having take out.

Kitchens are made for cooking in regularly, not just for show for company and dinner parties exclusively.

Starbucks is way overpriced, you can make coffee in a coffee pot. Coffee pots come with instructions.

Good exercise is cleaning your house also, not just going to the gym, especially if you do it extra fast and quite rigorous.

Perhaps the lesson, if there is one, to be learned is appreciate the skills you are fostering in yourself. Recognize the beauty of who you are. Aunt Jemima didn’t care what the rest of the world thought about her pancakes or syrup so why should you?
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