In our quest for happiness, some women seem to embrace the suburban life while others turn bitter and bitchy by it. While some women dream about wide open spaces with the perfect yard, the perfect house, and the perfect little family, why do some women seem so suffocated by it? Is it possible to truly have it all?
I grew up with a friend, Lola, who was made for motherhood and marriage while I, on the other hand, was the definition of a wild child – I knew I wasn’t made for marriage and kids.
Since we were little, she was the epitome of family life. Her family had a ranch with horses, pigs, cows, and chickens, where I spent a lot of time as a kid. Her mother was a typical farm wife/mother who held us responsible for all of our actions. We were in charge of picking eggs from the chicken coop, brushing down the horses at least once a day, and cleaning up after dinner once everyone had left the dining room. In short, she was brought up to be the quintessential farm wife and mother, just like her own mother.
Well, it’s been a couple of decades since then and my how things can change in the most unexpected ways. Needless to say, she’s a mother and a wife. She’s got the huge house on the spacious lot with trees and flowerbeds. Her husband buys her everything she wants in terms of household appliances, jewelry, and annual vacations. She has every superficial thing she’s ever wanted and more. But that’s where my expectations of Lola’s future ended. The last thing I had expected was that she would pass off her numerous children to babysitters and family members because her husband works out of town all the time and she travelled the world for work. Well, at least, that’s what she yelled at her husband during a recent family get-together anyway.
We had all convened together to celebrate Christmas, as we used to when we were young and growing up on the ranch. Twenty years and a few kids later, and Lola finally snapped. When her husband mentioned her most recent trip to Peru, Lola snapped, “it was for work, so it wasn’t exactly like I was on vacation or anything!” There was complete silence in the room as her husband and kids silently walked away with their proverbial tails between their legs.
Lola then went on about how hard she worked in Peru, taking bus trip after bus trip around the gorgeous countryside and feeling bad for all the people who had so much less than her, but I noticed that she was getting progressively more excitable about the trip (not a “vacation”) that she took. She talked about the people that she was helping out and then the conversation flipped perspective and she talked about the culture, the food, the resort she stayed at, and the fun she had after her “work” was done each day. What started as a story about her trip to help others quickly turned into a typically vacation-themed romp through a new country.
I scanned the faces of everyone else in the room. Not one person looked impressed with her tales of pretentious gloating. Especially after the many years of claiming how happy she was with her kids, husband, and seemingly perfect life – the life that she rarely spent time being part of.
I guess some of us were meant to be happy while others were destine to feign happiness.