Supermen and Wonder Women Come in for a Landing

“No more peanut butter and I have to catch the 6:28 train to Grand Central. Oh no, he forgot to put it on the shopping list again, I can’t do everything. Kids, how about a cheese sandwich for lunch today.”

Juli, I’m sorry, I know you love peanut butter. Try the cheese on rye bread. You’ll enjoy it.”

Under her breath, “I wish he cared as much about what the kids eat as he does about his cases. I’ve had it, I ‘m sick and tired of being responsible for everything. This was not what I bargained for.”

“Chuck, I‘m leaving. The cab is outside.”

“Bitch” he mutters, “She does everything. What am I, chopped liver? None of the other guys in the firm have to deal with shopping lists and f..’n peanut butter. We don ‘t even have time for sex anymore.” Sound familiar?

On days like this Heather and Chuck wonder if this two career hype is all it’s cracked up to be. Books lecture: lean in, lean out, have it all, you can’t have it all, work more, work less, be charming, be tough. Getting closer to reality, Debora Spar, President of Barnard College argues that womens lives have – and have not changed over the past 50 years. What about mens lives?

How many guys were buying peanut butter 50 years ago? My father was, but he was the exception. I come from four generations of two career families and as a couples and family counselor, specializing in two career families, I worked with thousands of Supermen and Wonder Women over the past 40 years.

Full disclosure: my husband was the prince in an Italian American family. He had a stay at home mom who, I’m told, rushed home no matter where she was to make Bobby – the prince – his favorite meal. Talk about culture shock. Was it work? Yes. Did we do it? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Sometimes it stretched us close to our limits.

But we now have four highly successful married kids and eight delightful grandkids, ages 3 to 18 – you’ll hear about them later. Both of our daughters and one son are following in our footsteps. Our eldest son and his wife are planning to join our ranks once their youngest begins school.

The president of Barnard is onto something when she talks about sex, power, and the quest for perfection. She’s discussing Wonder Women but Supermen are in the same boat – or is it a plane – when they ride – or fly – the downward journey to perfection and risk the possibility of a crash.

 

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