Posted by / Category London, Looking Good /

canape

Have you noticed that we women have a much tougher deal than men? Seriously, why do we have so much pressure on our shoulders? How are we supposed to ‘have it all’? Seriously, just try to list all we have to do all the time:

1. We have to look good

2. We have to be great cooks BUT..

3. We mustn’t put on weight -of course we mustn’t (see point 1)

4. We have to take care of the children, the household, and sometimes a job on top of everything else (don’t talk to me about sharing the workload, we women always end up with more than our fair share. Always. Sorry, guys.)

5. We have to pretend that we are not tired (no, Darling, not at all) when hubby is in need of some affection

6. We must always be a good daughter/wife/sister/friend/person…(doesn’t it upset you that men can get away with murder when we get slammed just because we forgot a birthday card or, even worse, we got a bit angry at someone or something? Seriously, why the double standard? )

7. We have to justify our every move when men NEVER get a single comment about their choices (Yes, I want to run a marathon. But what about the time it will take to train? Now give me a break, this is a question you wouldn’t ask if I were a guy. See what I mean?)

And so on, and so forth. It just never stops.

Chocolate tart

 

I totally baked this. It wasn’t from our chef that evening, Cesar Fernandez.

Let’s be realistic here: if you manage to do everything, you are heading for a severe burnout faster than you might think. I wish they had told us this at school, I would have stopped trying to excel at everything from the very start. As I happen to be a French woman, I call a spade a spade. So here it is: we can’t have it all. Or at least not at the same time. This basically leaves us women with two solutions:

SOLUTION ONE:

Leave everything and move to a desert island with nobody to talk to. Don’t laugh, I have seriously considered it. I confess that I sometimes long to take care of myself. As in, just of myself. Wouldn’t it be much easier, for once, to put my needs before everybody else’s? Pure bliss. This means that if, one day, you don’t hear about me, I might have gone as far away as possible to live in a hut near the beach. Don’t worry, I will be just fine. Just leave me alone.

SECOND SOLUTION:

Fake it. How do you do this?

Halibut

 

Yummy! (halibut with salt baked shallots and broccoli tabbouleh)

Delegate. Delegate, Delegate. At my age, I know my limitations. And I am not going to apologise for them. For instance, I might be French, but I don’t really enjoy cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I will do a decent job if I have to (ahem…the toasts won’t be burnt, I promise), but it’s not my thing. I really like baking, but that’s as far as it goes (ah, cakes!). So imagine my surprise when I found out that you can hire a chef just for the evening, in the confort of your own place. This service was proposed by La Belle Assiette. The chef will prepare everything, cook, and clean for you. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy your guests instead of slaving away in the kitchen. Why hadn’t anyone told me? Fiona of London Unattached invited me to such a party at her place last week and it was simply great. On top of having great food (just look at the pictures if you don’t believe me), Fiona treated us with lovely wines from California (and as I badly miss the sun I loved them despite being French). I especially liked the Grand reserve Chardonnay 2011 (and of course it happened to be the most expensive one. Obviously. That’s just me). The wines were Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2011 (both available at TheDrinkShop), Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 (available at wine direct), and Carmel Road Monterey, available at CorneyAndBarrow.

Prioritise. Delegate the cleaning if you can. Come to think of it, nobody will die if you don’t do it right away. So take it easy. Get your grocery deliver at your doorstep. Why do we always want to do everything at once? We need to try to stop multitasking at every possible opportunity, because we are bound to forget something in the end.

Obviously you can’t delegate everything (point 5 can of course be delegated, but at your own risk I am afraid). Obviously. But that’s not an excuse not to delegate anything.

Stop apologising. No, seriously, why do we always have to be perfect? Isn’t it time for others to accept us just the way we are?

And if you don’t look good, pretend that you do. Fake it. After all, it is all about confidence. We usually look better than we think anyway. Wear fake fur, and pretend that your fake pearls are real ones. Nobody knows the difference anyway.

And if all of this doesn’t work, I can always go back to my island.

  • James Casserly

    There are far too many double standards in what is expected of women vs men. The media, the government and society at large keep reinforcing and promulgating these ideas about what women “should be” and it’s especially difficult for mothers. If you are a mother who works, you’re the cause of feral children and the breakdown of society. If you are a mother who raises her children, keeps house and all the myriad jobs this entails, for no pay or gratitude, then you are a scrounger, a drain on the economy. No matter what you do, you are never right and always criticised. It’s time society started to examine itself and treat women as true equals. Equal pay, equal chances for education and careers, and not least that lazy partners/husbands/men roll up their sleeves and do their fair share in helping raise the family and maintaining the home. I don’t blame you for wanting to get away from it all. You deserve a break. I hope you get some quality “me time” soon.

    • Thank you for such a nice comment James. I am pleased to see that some of women’s best allies are men. As for having some ‘me-time’, well, I hope it will happen!

  • Curious Emily

    Hmmm. As a (child-free) youngish professional woman, I have to disagree with a lot of this. I think much of what you’ve said is to do with your own (conditioned?) attitude of how women should behave and/or the attitudes of the people around you. The best solution to all this I think is to reassess one’s own priorities and get rid of anyone in your life who, for instance, grills you over doing a marathon because you’re a female. Sure, I make sure I’m presentable 90% of the time, but if I don’t have any major meetings at work nobody cares if I rock up with no makeup and leggings. I haven’t bought a birthday card in years, and anyone who ‘slams’ me for it can take a running jump. If I ever have kids, you can bet your arse it won’t be with someone who thinks it’s my sole responsibility to bring them up. As for cooking, I have friends who can cook well and friends who can’t cook at all, in equal measure male and female. Tbh, it just sounds like you hang out with a bunch of dicks.

    • Curious Emily

      Just read James’ comment below, and in response to the media pressure issue, IMO the solution is to stop giving a shit what the Daily Mail and other sensationalist media publish for their daily eyeballs. ^-^

    • Emily, I love the spirit! I really do. I used to be like you, and then I had kids. Of course my husband helps as much as he can (which isn’t much because he travels all the time), but the truth is that mums are expected to do the bulk of the work. Schools will call you and not the dad when something goes wrong. And because kids are always 1. sick 2. on holidays 3.finishing school early, unless you have a full-time nanny per kid being a mum is a logistical nightmare. It isn’t a cliche, it is just a reality.
      As for the other cliches, they are maybe more subtle, but they are definitively there. Especially when you are a mum, you don’t want to stand out, you have to conform, and if you don’t, you feel guilty because your kids might miss out (i.e not having friends, play dates, being invited to b’day parties…). It’s not only about you, and it changes everything.
      Maybe I hang out with a bunch of dicks. The truth is that, as women, we get judged all the time. I have chosen to ignore it as much a possible, but sometimes it gets to me! That said, I am pleased to see that strong-minded women like you are going strong. And I will run a marathon eventually.

      • Lynn Zubir

        Hear, hear! When children happen that’s when a whole myriad of activities adjust to suit just them. Of course we prioritize, and ultimately you will choose to prioritize children and the home environment.

        All I can say is these are the things that need to be experienced in order to be comprehended. No amount of visits to the bibliotheque and research will take you to the right path. Raising my glass to women like you!

        • Thank you Lynn! Cheers to that!

  • Pingback: No Fuss Entertaining at Home - La Belle Assiette Private Chef()

  • Pingback: Your Personal Private Chef with La Belle Assiette()

  • Pingback: London bloggers give La Belle Assiette the thumbs up | La Belle Assiette - Blog()

  • Pingback: Londoners, I need your help ! | L. T. Sachs()