Life sometimes moves fast, but this fall has been… just, WHOA.
I asked my husband this week, “In our entire 18 plus years together, have you ever felt this busy before? I mean, can you really remember a time in our lives when we had this many demands on us – had this much crammed into our schedules and our daily lives?” He glanced over nonchalantly and said….”I don’t feel that busy, really.” And he meant it. And my jaw dropped.
The more I thought about it, I decided not to be incredulous and instead take this as a major compliment. You see, Dave does a lot for us each day. He works a full day, takes care of the kids while I work, does bath time, fixes the wifi, cleans the garage, gets the oil changes, and does many other various errands here and there. But as I have said before, he is not the brains of the operation. He does much of the grunt work and I am forever grateful.
I, on the other hand, handle the rest. It really never stops. I do… the planning, the worrying, the volunteering, the socializing, the homework (most of it), the big talks about bullying, the coordinating sports practices, the writing, the paying of the bills, the visiting of Papa in the nursing home weekly, the teacher communication, the the packing of lunches, the buying of household supplies (hello – can we PLEASE be done with diapers, Ben?!), the birthday presents, the fall decorating, the party planning, the Christmas planning (sorry, gotta start early here or things get cray in December), the texting, the checking on Grandma, the making of doctor appointments, the flu shot scheduling, the buying of classroom snacks, the reading of bedtime stories, the getting the kids on the bus each morning, the dealing with depression, the overanalyzing, the care-giving of sick children, the Halloween costumes, the… I could seriously keep going forever.
The invisible mental workload that most of the women in my life deal with is astounding. Men can certainly deal with this as well, especially single fathers, but from my own personal experience, women tend to haul most of this freight. And yet, we are so quick to judge each other and ourselves harshly for not doing enough. That is insanity. I am guilty of this all the time! How can I just sit on the couch and relax when there are loads of laundry to be swapped out, teeth to brush, cats to feed, to-do lists to be checked off? Sometimes it is impossible to turn off my mind and tune out the world. I find that my husband has a much easier time of this than I do. It’s not that he doesn’t care, but he just doesn’t have to worry about much of these things, he has me to do that for him. Most of the time I am content with the responsibilities; I quite enjoy steering the family ship. I’m also usually pretty good at it. But wow can it get overwhelming! And you know what, ladies? I see all of you along side me doing the same thing. Every single day, over and over again. And we all are way too damn hard on ourselves when we actually let something slip, when we screw up and forget to do one of the eighteen trillion items on our to-do lists. Pssh! Failures! Pinterest moms everywhere seethe, “Shame! Shame!”
Screw that. We are all so darn amazing, y’all. I want to pause and give each of you a pat on the back. Life is moving faster and faster every day. More is demanded of us in each moment than ever before. Technology rules our lives 24/7. And while being efficient and productive is wonderful, there is also such a thing as overload. Odds are we are bound to miss something at some point. How about we give ourselves some compassion and acknowledge that we are doing the best we can instead of honing in on our weaknesses and the inevitable truth that we will not always get shit done? Just a thought.
All of these jumbled feelings rushed through my head in an instant this week as I thought about living life in a society that places a high value on stress, overworking, and production – and not enough focus on mental health, pursuing passions, and embracing our humanity.
So when Dave said he was not feeling all that busy, I simultaneously felt insanely jealous and yet incredibly proud. I may not always feel it, but I do such a damn good job at running this family that even though this is the most busy and stressed I have probably ever been in my life, EVER – they don’t always feel it, and ISN’T THAT SUCH A HUGE THING IN AND OF ITSELF?! Yes, yes it is. And if you are a busy momma out there reading this tonight, I hope you also know how amazing of a job you must be doing. Even if you don’t see it, even if you feel less than, even if you are doubting every decision you make today. You. Are. Incredible.
Life gets busy, busy. We moms make it run smoother, more efficiently, and with more love and compassion throughout even the most mundane, exhausting of days. Together we get through the muck, and together we lift each other up. What you do matters, and what you do is more than enough. Cheers to you and all that you have done by the end of this busy, busy day.