Wednesday, 26 March 2014

On Conscious Uncoupling as a Lifestyle Opportunity

Is it mean to write about this?

I’m sure you saw the news today that long married (by Paleolithic standards anyway) Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were going their separate ways. I was struck by the frame of their announcement which simultaneously signaled the demise of their lifetime commitment to each other and the continuing fortitude of Paltrow’s commitment to being a lifestyle brand. You see they aren’t getting divorced. They are becoming consciously uncoupled.

For those of you who didn’t help to crash Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop today to read the joint announcement on their divorce (f*&ck, I mean conscious uncoupling) I urge you to head to Goop to read it. When you’ve finished reading and you’re suitably mystified, scroll down further and read the informative article posted there by Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami which explains the science and the history of divorce (I mean conscious uncoupling, conscious uncoupling).

You see, according to Sadeghi and Sami, monogamy is totally Paleolithic. They argue that in modern life it is essential that we rebrand (f*&ck, I mean re-examine) divorce. If as Paltrow via Goop suggests, we call it ‘conscious uncoupling’ the event formerly known by outdated mortals as divorce, could become a far more powerful, even positive force for good in our society.

You see if you think about it … divorce (conscious uncoupling, conscious uncoupling) is a superb lifestyle opportunity if you just give it a chance and a more uplifting name. Maybe that’s why so many rich and famous people get divorced – I imagine many consciously coupled people out there see divorce as a luxury item from time to time.

You see folks; it seems the goal of matrimonial longevity is passé. Goop presents us with a new goal for intimate relationships. If you see your ex-partner as your teacher, conscious uncoupling can make us whole. Brand Paltrow suggests that marriage can turn great relationships into an unhappy trap – because the expectations are unrealistic. The expectations go back to Paleolithic times; we live 48 years longer than our Paleolithic ancestor’s thanks in part to websites like Goop and modern medicine that have helped us avert early death.

Don’t you think it is about time that people grew a psycho-spiritual spine and treated the end of marriage as if it were an exciting new cleanse?
Somewhere in the midst of the befuddling post-Paleolithic messages from Paltrow and Martin and their friends Sadeghi and Sami there might be some valuable lessons for unhappy couples to unpack.

But the notion of rebranding divorce (conscious uncoupling) as a positive force might be taking the argument to post-Paleolithic extremes.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Maybe it’s an ENFP thing?

I’m standing outside my 2.5 year old daughter’s bedroom last night after FAILING to get her to sleep at a decent hour … again. She is bouncing on her bed giggling. It is nearly 10pm.

I am weak, she is strong.

I stand at the top of my stairs and I holler for my Brit. He trudges up the stairs and asks as usual “need water? Does she need more milk?” “No more MILK” I kind of pretend yell. “We shouldn’t still be giving her milk at bedtime (to pacify her) we should have cracked that ages ago.
Do we suck at parenting? How come we never do anything right”!!

I’m constantly aware that the list of things I’m not doing that I am supposed to be doing is long.

The list of things that I want to be doing is even longer.

Normal people have financial advisors” I say. “What?” says my Brit.

“Normal people, clever people, they have financial advisors”.

“Oh” says the Brit.

“When am I going to figure out what I’m supposed to do with my life?” I say.

“You’ve got a great job” says my Brit.

“Yeah but it’s a job” I say. “I never wanted to be normal; I told you that from the beginning”. What am I going to do that proves I’m abnormal?”

“Umm” says my Brit.

“How about just be happy with your life, he says”. “You have a great life”.

“I am happy with my life”, I say. “I say thank you in my head like a million times a day, like it’s a compulsion”. “Somehow gratitude doesn’t trump relentless and restless ambition and a never ending stream of creative possibilities”, I say. “This isn’t about happy vs. not happy. This is about achieving what I’m supposed to achieve – about not evening knowing what I’m supposed to achieve. When am I going to figure that out?”
“I think you need some sleep baby” says my Brit.

“That won’t help” I say, “I’ll just dream about the problem”.

“Oh” says the Brit. “Night night baby, we’ll figure it out tomorrow”

“Yeah…but then I’ll have to figure it out again on Thursday”.

“Maybe it’s an ENFP thing”, I say.

“A what?” Says my Brit…

“Never mind”, I say. “It’s just a stupid box someone put me in. I don’t even like boxes.

Then why do you keep trying to find the right one? Says my Brit.

“That’s definitely an ENFP thing”, I say.

“A what?” says my Brit…

“Never mind, night night baby”. I say.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Veteran Working Mother Explains How She Makes It Work

Doreen is a 20 year veteran of working motherhood. Her youngest is now 13. In the beginning, her work as an accountant was less about fulfilling serious career ambitions and more about affording her family nice groceries. When her kids were younger, her husband’s career came first.

She was the only woman in her family to go out to work and she admits that early on she was conscious that she was missing out on weekday playdates and parties – but she says managed to attend most of the important school functions and events for her kids.

These days Doreen says she spends 5-10 hours a week on herself. To deal with stress, she tries hard not to talk about work at home and to focus on her kids’ days instead. In the car en route home she is mindful to draw a fence around her day and leave all the work stress behind her. An exercise class or an evening spent with girlfriends once a week helps her unwind.

Doreen admits to feeling resentful only very occasionally … as an accountant her career prevents her from escaping to sunny destinations during the cold and dreary winter months, the worst time of year for her at work -- she refers to it as “the season”. She’s not resentful of anyone in particular; she blames herself, because she decided to be an accountant.

Doreen considers her husband her village. He is a rock and a steady reliable partner. He gets home before her and warms up dinner. They cook together for the week on Sunday evenings which makes things easier to manage during the week. Now that the kids are older, they help too. They do dishes and even their own laundry.

Regarding childcare, Doreen understands the anxieties of new mothers. When her kids were young, the kids were in daycare, as they got older she put them in afterschool care, and now she relies on her oldest to look after her youngest. She well remembers the stress of dropping off the kids at daycare and coping with their emotions and her own, the pull on you when they cling to your legs and don’t want you to leave. But now, 20 years into working motherhood, peers of her husband whose wives didn’t work are envious of their financial stability and the opportunities that her salary affords them, and her children look up to her and respect her for all her hard work.

For young working mothers, Doreen thinks there is a bright future ahead of them. For her the early guilt is long gone and she is proud of how she balanced her working and mothering lives.

For Doreen, the key to staying sane is having a routine, staying organized, and getting her family members including her husband and kids to pitch in and be part of making it all work.

If you have any weekly organizing rituals help you manage your week work, please drop me a line and I’ll post your ideas.