I was having coffee and a chat with some girlfriends recently and the topic turned to how women are always the last to leave the house or get into bed at night. We had a good laugh as we realised it was a common problem.
In my house, I am usually the co-ordinator of events involving the extended family. I’ll get the information on dates, times and venues, which I then promptly share with my family.
I tend to be very particular about the time we should leave the house so we’re not late. But what usually happens is that the boys — hubby and our oldest — will be ready by the agreed departure time, usually in a calm, unhurried manner. But the three girls — myself and our two daughters — will be frantically rushing in and out of each other’s rooms looking for the right shoes, jacket, jewellery, handbag or comb.
All this while, the boys are seated in the sitting room, one on his phone and the other catching up with world news on TV. They have learned over the years that it does no good to remind us that we agreed to leave at a certain time because that only makes us more frantic and delays our departure even more. So they sit quietly and wait patiently until I stand at the door and announce that we are finally ready to leave.
Two of the women I was laughing with said their husbands usually wait in the car, perhaps in the hope that this will make them hurry up. But nothing changes. When the young ones were small, I thought this happened because I had to get them ready. I now know that’s not true…
Interestingly, I don’t remember teaching the girls this or, for that matter, my own mother teaching me how to not leave the house on time. Another interesting point — there is really nothing complicated about our getting ready. Neither me nor my girlfriends wear make-up, our hair is usually simply done and our clothes are straightforward. So what could it be?
Then there is the famous “I am going to bed” announcement. When the hubby stands up from his favourite chair and makes this announcement, he usually means exactly that — he is going straight to bed. If I walk into the bedroom five minutes later, I am sure to find him fast asleep. But when I make the same announcement, with the same note of finality, the opposite happens. On my way to the bedroom, I will find 100 things that suddenly need to be done before bed.
I will notice all the tea mugs and water glasses that have been left lying around, as well as the newspapers, shoes and Maasai blankets (which we use on chilly nights). As I take the dirty dishes to the kitchen, I will want to check if there is enough milk for the next day or whether the grains have been taken out of the freezer for tomorrow’s meal…
Then I will want to double-check the already locked doors and on my way there remember that the guest toilet has no toilet paper, and because I may forget to do it in the morning, off I go to get more rolls, and while I am at it then I might as well check the other bathrooms.
t as I am about to reach the linen cupboard, I see all the clothes that have been ironed and not taken by their respective owners, so I start distributing them to the different bedrooms…
By the time I am getting to my room, at least half an hour has passed since my “I’m going to bed” announcement, and I still want to sit quietly and unwind, read my Bible and say my prayers before FINALLY getting inside the bed and shutting my eyes — about an hour and a half later, when everyone else is on their third or fourth dream.
Once in a while, I will make the announcement before the hubby and actually head to the bedroom, where I will somehow find plenty of stuff to do, and the hubby will come to the bedroom an hour later, pop into bed and leave me still pottering around. I wonder, is there a scientific study out there to explain this phenomenon?