Never Enough

I'm outnumbered in my house.  I have a husband and three sons.  I'm the only female aside from our dog. (Sometimes, I wish I had the life of the dog.)

I am the default parent.  The one who knows where everyone and everything is, or is supposed to be, at all times.

I am the checker of backpacks, the signer of permission slips, the taxi driver of children to and from events, and the parent who makes sure her children are wearing clothes every day.

I'm the grocery shopper, the bill payer, the nurse and the maid. I'm the parent volunteer at school, church and Cub Scouts.  

I work 55 hours a week at two jobs.  I get up at the butt crack of dawn to work out.  I'm constantly stressed out. 

I'm the parent who yells, because no one listens the first time.  No one cares what Mom has to say until she turns into a raving lunatic.

Time to myself is a rare luxury and when I take time for me I'm made to feel guilty about it.  It's time I'm not with my husband and children, attending to their needs.  I'm dropping the ball in some way because I'm being selfish. 

I haven't had my hair professionally done in over a year.  I can't tell you the last time I had a day off to myself without having to care for the needs of others.  When I get sick, no one takes care of my needs. 

When think about all the stuff I do in any given day, when the stress is out of control, many thoughts come to mind: 

Being a wife and mom is bullshit. I didn't sign up for this.  I didn't choose to be the one who does it all! Why am I the one who is always stressed out?  Why does everything fall on my shoulders?  Did I do this to myself?  Am I unable to delegate?  Am I unable to ask for help? Are my expectations too high?

The feminists screwed this up for us.  You can have it all, they said.  You can do anything! You are woman! LIARS. Because of you I have to go to work.  I'd have been perfectly happy as a stay-at-home-mom.  I can handle caring for kids and the house and all that other shit, but I can't do it while working full time.  I can't do it all.  I can have it all, just not all at once.  Something has got to give.

But it's really not the feminists' fault, is it?  They wanted equality in the workforce, I respect that. But why didn't we fight for equality at home? Why didn't we protest for husbands to help out with laundry, dishes, cooking, child care?  Yes, there are stay-at-home dads.  But society doesn't expect men to do these things.  Society expects women to do EVERYTHING.

WTF! Why do I feel guilty admitting I'm not Super Woman? Why doesn't my husband feel stressed?  Why doesn't he feel guilty for missing the school concert?  Why doesn't he feel sad he can't chaperone the class field trip?  

This isn't fair! I do everything around here.  If I don't do it, it doesn't get done.  He floats by. He knows I'll just do it.  He doesn't offer to help unless I'm screaming at everyone.  Why do I look like the crazy person?  Why does he look at me like I've lost my mind?

WHAT THE...F???

To be fair, this isn't an attack on my husband.  He helps when he can. He cooks.  He takes care of the lawn and garden. He makes sure the cars have oil changes.  He keeps the children alive when I'm traveling for work.  

But he doesn't feel the same pressure I do.  Why?  Is he better at coping with stress? Is there some secret that men aren't sharing with us?  It can't simply be that their brains are wired differently, can it? 

I know you moms are feeling me.  You're probably nodding your head right now.  You are nagged by feelings of guilt and inadequacy.  Even though you work hard, and despite doing everything that needs to be done, you still feel like you are never enough.


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This is the first post of several that I'll be sharing in the next few weeks on the topic of mommy guilt.  I've been a mom for nearly 15 years and as my career is taking off, my domestic life is flailing a little.  I've been hearing from so many moms who share my feelings on this topic. Stay tuned for the next post on coping with Mom Life! I've got a few ideas and solutions I'd like to share and discuss with you.  I hope you'll come back and tell me your thoughts.

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