I'm probably not going to see the new movie, "I Don't Know How She Does It". I'm probably not going to read the novel by Allison Pearson, either. Which is probably just fine with Pearson and whichever Hollywood mega-hack made this film, because I'm almost certainly not their target audience.
But who is? Aliens from a distant galaxy, confused by our ways? People who've spent the past thirty years in a bomb shelter, tucked away far underground? Unrepentant morons and dull-wits? Imbeciles? Honestly, who is actually spending their hard-earned ducats (conceivably) to witness such nincompoopery? If you're one of those people, please identify yourself immediately. I think I have a right to know. It's okay, we'll wait for you.
Nobody willing to admit it, huh? Okay, I can't say that I blame you. I mean, it stands to reason that someone is watching this crap, because crap like this continues to get green-lit. But it's not me. Unlike the "IDKHSDI"'s plucky protagonist, Kate Reddy, I don't have the option of [SPOILER ALERT!!] up and quitting my job when the kitchen gets too hot.
If I feel distant from my partner, we don't get to slam on the brakes of life. I don't get to remove myself from my cube for some extended period of time to work it out. Like most everyone on the planet, we have to fight and make up on evenings and weekends, or through furtive text messaging on my lunch break, if we're lucky. Like most everyone else on the planet, I don't get to quit my job when I blink and my child has suddenly shot up a foot in size the last time I noticed. And, like most everyone on the planet, I don't have the luxury of bailing on my employment if I grow weary of being unavailable to take my child to school and pick her up in the afternoon. Instead, like most everyone else on the planet, I have to gird my loins and pay the nanny to do it.
HAHAHAHA! Just kidding! Like most everyone else on the planet, I don't have a nanny.
So, what happens when I, along with millions of other working moms, feel like I'm not fulfilling my motherly duties according to some random, arbitrary measure of such things? How do I cope? How do I do it? Everyone wants to know, but they don't know! How I do it!
Well, first of all, I like living in a house. Have you ever been to a house, apartment or other type of semi-permanent/permanent enclosed dwelling place? They’re neat, aren’t they? Places to live are the best. You can keep your stuff there! Also, I find that my family and I enjoy consuming food for sustenance. Additionally, we are rather partial to warmth within our semi-permanent/permanent enclosed dwelling place, as well as light so that we may see our needlepointin'.
“But how else do you do it?” You ask, because you are clamoring to know. “There must be more ways that you convince yourself to, you know, do it!” Calm down. You will get your answers right now.
I do it because I am an able-bodied, relatively sane-minded individual who has no reason not to be able to take care of myself, should the need arise. What if your husband/wife/platonic life partner drops dead tomorrow? What would you do? I know what I would do. I would continue to do what I’ve always done, which is go to my job.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking for a better job than the one I have. I would be crazy not to, because nobody’s job is secure anymore. Don’t fool yourselves by laboring under the misguided assumption that you are indispensible. You aren’t. You are infinitely expendable. Somewhere in China, someone is doing the same job you are doing right now, for $12 a day. But what I have learned during these constant job searches is that there are none out there. I don’t mean that there are no better jobs out there. I mean, there are NO jobs out there. PhDs who previously made triple digits are doing battle for low paying jobs with not only less qualified workers, but other PhDs who are just as good at what they do. It’s a nightmare out there. If you don’t have a back-up plan for your back-up plan, you better get one, and then you should probably have a back-up back-up back-up plan, just to be safe.
I find movies like “IDKHSDI” deeply offensive is the glib pigeon-holing and rampant, unabashed stereotyping. Sarah Jessica Parker is going to Have It All in a super quirky and fun way! Until she decides she doesn’t want It All, just the things that Truly Matter. If that’s not enough to get your gag reflex going, there's more! Like a whacky, scattered Single Mom who is barely holding it together…and SURPRISE! She’s failing miserably and even the most basic of tasks! Oh, and a shallow stay-at-home-mother who is insufferable. Grrr! We working moms are supposed to hate her, no questions asked! Grrrr! That bitch! And no sweeping sexist stereotypical female movie would be complete without the ambitious, conniving assistant. Yep. There’s one of those, too.
Newsflash, Hollywood. These lazy character assignments don’t apply anymore. In the real world of the American Dream Circa 2011, that single mom who can’t do anything right (hilariously, of course) has three jobs and an ex who hasn’t paid child support in months because he got laid off and Family Court hasn’t caught up yet. That shallow stay at home mom we all love to hate just refinanced her house for the third time and that ARM mortgage she got ten years ago isn’t working out quite the way she had hoped, and she’s tending bar on the weekend. That conniving assistant got fired and is an unpaid intern working on her second college degree. And Sarah Jessica Parker, the Working Mom Who Wants It All, couldn’t quit her job, hates her asshole husband but can’t afford to divorce him, so they stay in a loveless marriage for the tax breaks and the sake of the children.
Characters like the ones in “IDKHSDI” are becoming more and more absurd as the economy continues to sputter and blow black smoke. Movies like this are beginning to border on a grotesque minstrel show.
Nothing is clear cut anymore. The days of assigned gender roles and the luxury of choice are over for so many. There are people swallowing their pride/ideals of how things should be every single time they deposit their unemployment check. Up is down, black is white, and millions of hard-working Americans are on Plan B, or Plan C, or Z or Z1a.
So, again, I ask, who is watching these travesties? Who are you, mysterious audience member? Are you just a huge fan of escapist, chick-flick dreck that are blissfully devoid of any tether to reality whatsoever? Are you so filthy rich that you don’t care how you spend your money? Are you bored? Because if you are any of these things, you are amazing, and you astound me. Really. I don’t know how you do it.