Men are from Mars…..

 

Women are from….are you fucking serious? What do you mean “how do I clean the bathroom?”

Yep we are definitely wired differently. Why is it that we (women), and I am generalising here so be patient or chose another page, seem to know stuff about stuff  yet men are just chillin’ and occasionally wanting a  medal for doing some of the stuff? Now before Mr BarryBadger, my dad and the husbands of my friends and colleagues get all upset – I am generalising. I have to say though that I do hear more stories about dudes just doing their own thing while the one that doesn’t get the luxury of man-flu has to soldier on and do the rest. It’s a common theme.

The mental load.

This morning I heard it perfectly referred to as “having all these tabs open”

You hearing me sisters? You know those tabs – organise tomorrows lunches, organise tomorrows dinner, don’t forget the in-laws are coming, shit I have to get milk and bread, sew a costume for Little Boss’ Book Week, fuck I need to iron the school uniform – I hate those pleats, shit I need to iron my work clothes, pay that bill, make that call, change that appointment, get a pap smear – cause you thought you were due in 12 months but turns out you’ve been so fucking busy you are actually a year overdue, buy my kid some undies, do your kids homework, prepare amazing food for your kid, clean the house etc etc etc add your own tabs you get my drift.

Now the mental load is something we don’t share well. To be honest it’s the same as my boss telling me to “hand over” some of the work I am struggling to get to. It makes me anxious. Cause I will have to “train” the person I am handing over to. Now at work that is completely ok – purely because they are not expected to know my job AND theirs. BUT if you live and exist under the same roof as me I am going to go out on a limb and say you should probably know how shit works under that roof. So I think it could be a Mars vs WTF thing…cause for over 7 years I lived with a woman and while we weren`t intimate we are very close and have shared a bond that will not be broken but at no time did either of us have to ask how to clean the toilet, scrub the shower or put the groceries away.

Today one of my colleagues asked if I had though about meditation….ahhhh yeah I have. Usually while meditating I also think about my To Do list for the coming 24 hours while contemplating my fear of death, anxiety over living and what I am going to prepare for dinner tomorrow. Then she told me it’s best done at the start of the day rather than the end cause it actually takes quite a mental load to master….not sure if I am ready for that. To be fair in the morning I can do me getting ready, kids lunch, kids breakfast, kids getting ready for school – some days – my coffee and then off we go to work and school. I will see how I go tomorrow morning and if I can muster it I will attempt to clear my mind of all thought and do it like the Dalai Lama. Stay tuned….and don`t get shitty with me lads, take it on the chin – just like I did this afternoon when I had a bloke say to me `now that`s what I like to see, a woman doing the dishes`

 

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the importance of listening

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity for a massive career change. I had spent a lot of years working a business that was financially very rewarding and allowed me to travel and see new things however it was hard work and very challenging so along came this new venture and I embarked on something I truly knew nothing about. I was to slip into my hi-vis, steel caps and hard hat and learn how to operate a steel slitting line. I am not going to go into what that is here – if you are interested head to google. Anyhoo I had many trainers in my new role however one was a stand out and taught me more on how to work in this new environment that anyone else and he did it with only one word – listen. Yep, that was it. Just listen. This was a noisy bit of gear but his advice could prevent major fuck ups that would take hours to fix. By simply listening to how the machine was working, how the slits were running and how the many different parts of the machine were interacting you could hear how well it was running or not.

I think about that a lot. The power of listening. We spend a lot of our time thinking we are great listeners when we are probably just listening in order to respond. How many times are you responding to the odd “how are you?” when the person who enquired as to your well-being starts telling you about how shit their morning was too. You didn’t even have to ask them….they asked you how you were and here you are listening to them bang on.

So fast forward many years and I am back at work full-time in a great role that challenges me and working with a diverse group of people who I find easy to like. And I love listening to them. They all have a story and each of those is unique and special and I feel truly grateful for every one of those that I get to hear – even the ones that are heartbreaking, confronting and hard to comprehend – so thankful for the sharing.

Some of my best times at work happen at the coffee machine – my boss jokingly calls me Jabber Jaws and to be honest at first it really got to me – because that’s my kryptonite, throw away comments said in jest that my broad shoulders look like they can handle. I see it as a massive compliment now – whether he does or not, jury is still out. I look at the amount of people I know in such a short time, the relationships I have started and the conversations I have had are all invaluable to me. My role requires me to be able to speak to people – if I can’t do that then I am ineffective. So I will continue to take the time for a jib jab and be genuinely interested in what people have to tell me. And if I listen well, like I was taught by the great Ross McDougall, I will also be able to tell if those people are running well or if they are about to unravel. Maybe we all need to carry a big Emergency Stop button just in case.