In today’s world, I can’t help but think of computers when I consider the differences between the male and female brains. One of the criticisms of men in family relationships is that "things aren’t what they were" and that’s largely because the hard drive atop a woman’s shoulders is crunching data and work functions almost continuously to the exclusion of the game processes. But even if men are standing up and doing more, there’s an additional difference and that becomes glaringly obvious at Christmas – we’re running completely completely different operating systems at different speeds. Women are at the higher speeds on a Windows 7 while we’re hammering along with XE on a three year old laptop.
I fully believe that men can do as well at raising kids as women, maternal intuition notwithstanding. But I do believe that women are simply better able to multitask than men and especially in the case of details. In this household, things move along well until late October and then we shift into the seasonal holiday mode in which my wife’s ability to remember the smallest details simply puts me to shame. Youngest is old enough to get a real tie and if we get this, he can wear it with the following outfits…Eldest has a sweater that would go great with this necklace…Let’s face it, I’m the one managing the clothing and laundry and I haven’t the foggiest notion of what they’ve got in terms of colors and style. In case you wonder if I’m just style-impaired, consider the following.
Remember when we got my father that sweater four years ago? Nope.
Would best friend be able to use this purse? Haven’t a clue.
Do you know if Middle needs new dark socks since his feet have grown? Nuh – uh.
The modern Christmas season has become a complex dance with intricate moves along a multi-dimensional dance floor. This is partially due to the influence of the consumer model in which we equate a quality Christmas with the number of gifts given and partially because of the way that the families are now geographically dispersed throughout the country. There’s simply more to do and cover for people to have what is considered a good season. The other influence is probably due to the simple difference between men and women; I believe that women are hard-wired to be more empathethic and concerned with the feelings of others than men, so they place a greater emphasis on these details than their mates.
But the reality is that if you hooked up a wife and mother’s brain to a computer diagnostic, you’d probably find more processes running than that of their mate. I suspect that if the men made more of an effort to upgrade their processes, they’d probably find that their mate would correspondingly let the processes slow down. There’s still be a qualitative difference however, and I don’t think that that leap is going to be easily made.