I was sitting at a hotel bar, eating dinner while on a business trip when the text came through.
“Benjamin threw his toothbrush in the toilet while Will was peeing. The Buzz (Lightyear) one has disappeared.”
First thought: I’m 600 miles away. This is my problem why? Leave me alone and let me drink my wine. Ok fine, that wasn’t really my first thought.
Real first thought: I’m 600 miles away. What’s a mom to do?
I got on Amazon immediately, busily ordering not one but four new toothbrushes. Two to replace the now pee-covered ones and then two new “Buzz” ones.
The next morning, before I got started on my professional work meetings, I took care of my mom work. You know it, right? The emails, the texts, the shopping…all the “other duties as assigned” part of being M.O.M.
My husband is a perfectly capable human being. Completely. Given a to-do list, he will do anything I ask him to. On occasion, I don’t even have to ask! But for me, it’s easier to do it myself.
I grocery shop. Meal plan. Make check-up appointments. Register for school. Shop for school. Make vet appointments. Hair appointments (x4). I buy everything from diapers to detergent. I work myself into an absolute frenzy trying to make it all work.
And for what? Did I miss the part where I said my husband is a perfectly capable human being?
He is, but as the mom, I take on all these burdens for better or for worse. It’s all the invisible things that make our world work. The thankless things I do as mom. I’m the keeper of all the appointments, the buyer of all the stuff, the glue that holds the pieces together. Until it doesn’t.
Let me tell you something, ladies. Even the toughest glue eventually loses its stick.
On some level, bearing these “burdens”- keeping all the things going, makes me find value in myself as a mother. I struggle through it all, but I love knowing that I am the one who keeps it all together. At what cost, though?
While I can rationalize being the keeper of the chaos in some ways—it’s easier to do it myself, it takes too much time to teach someone else all the things. It’s my “job.” I recognize that being the keeper to the keys of the kingdom begins to come at a cost.
I’m tired. And cranky. I’m not fun. Did I mention I’m tired? I need to let go and ask for help.
One thing I have learned is that my husband will not do things as I do. I’ve got to be ok with that. In order to get rid of some on my mental load, I have to let go and be ok that it’s not “my way.” There is an exhaustion that comes in the pursuit of perfection that just isn’t worth it anymore.
By letting go of some of my mommy weight, I’m gaining freedom. It’s totally worth the shift in expectations of myself, my husband and our life.
If I’m not working to keep it all moving, I can focus on keeping myself moving, which ultimately does more for my boys than all the task-mastering in the world.