not simple

Years ago when we were all young mothers with too many babies, we had a lunch with alumnae - not sure who was going to profit by it, I mean with advice, not cash.  It wasn't a fund-raiser, I know that. Anyway, one of our mentors exclaimed at our young, naive, hopeful competence. 

"Oh, my, you young women are so busy, I don't know how you do it all!"

One of our cohort uttered a modest disclaimer: "Oh, no," she said, "we have modern appliances to help us with our work - washers and dryers and so on."  (She had four children under 5 at that point, pregnant with her fifth.)

"Oh, my dear" said the older woman, "it was so much simpler for us. We could  just say to someone: Go! and wash the clothes." 

I remember about the same time I found an Angela Thirkell novel and read about a little girl who fell in a mud puddle. Her mother, English, of course, with help, of course, looked at her mud-spattered child and said mildly, "Wicked one, wicked one. Go and see Nanny."  (( I would have said  more than that.)

And now, years later, I have lots of  electronic help,  computerS and e-mail, with research at my fingertips, but I am over-worked and under-staffed and frustrated beyond belief.  I couldn't have done all that I have done in another age, not without amanuenses and assistants and someone to wash the clothes, too.  Now I have it all, with my biddable technical staff, but oh, how I wish I had a magic wand.

Wordsworth, thou shouldst be living at this hour!   (The world is too much with us.)