There are so many phrases we grow up with that help us realize why mom is really the one in charge of the house. I’m sure you were told once to behave because moms have eyes on the backs of their heads and can see it all. Or the ever famous, “if mom’s not happy, no one is happy.” I never realized that my mom literally knew where everything was in the house – until I became a mother myself. I truly did not understand just how much a mom has to learn, know and keep track of. This role, and the duties associated, are what make motherhood in America an often underappreciated but incredibly prideful experience.
Moms Just Know
Somehow, moms *just know*. They know what is in (or missing from) the pantry and fridge at all times. Moms monitor who needs paperwork signed for school and what time everyone in the family needs to be everywhere they are going. Moms keep up to date with each child’s health and remember who is due for their vaccinations. We are responsible for every birthday and every holiday and every gift that is associated. We keep track of the names, phone numbers and emails of all of the people that come in contact with our children (and which houses have pets when they have an allergic kid). We squeeze in that one last trip before our zoo or aquarium pass expires. We try to beat the due dates for returning our kids’ library materials that are checked out. And moms seem to be the only humans that remember the schedule for when it’s time to flip a mattress. We *just know* because if we don’t – who will?
Knowing is Exhausting
Many of us moms experience burnout no different than a professional in a corporate setting working a 90 hour work week – because we consistently do that and more. We are always “on” – all 168 hours of the week. We are at the ready for the moment one of our tiny humans shout “mom” from down the hall. And we are ready to answer when our husbands call us at work to ask us where you put the [fill in the blank here with anything that is in clear sight]. We don’t get to go to bed early or sleep in, and even best laid plans end with puke in a crib or a make-up swim lesson to attend to. We burn our candles from all sides until there is literally nothing but the wick left.
Psychology Today recognizes that “burnout can occur when you’re not in control of how you carry out your job, when you’re working toward goals that don’t resonate with you, and when you lack social support”. And from that, I recognize a word that my type-A self needs and understands well: control. I love to be in control and to have things under control. And there-in lies my biggest struggle with this, ever evolving, ever changing, never getting any easier as “they” promised, life.
If only I could find the most perfect bullet journal to color code and label each accomplishment and scheduled activity. If only I could have some magical assistant to help me with the chores and the tasks I tolerate less than my annual OB/GYN exam. If only I could find a way to get my sweet little children to listen to what I ask of them the first time, so I don’t sound like a tired, frustrated, and about to lose it version of myself. Or maybe just find a way to keep them all in their own beds throughout the night (at this point, that may be my first pick).
Let’s be honest though. Even if I had the help or some other way to lessen the load of motherhood – would I take it? No. I was born for this. The looks in the eyes of my children as they see I have planned the most perfect day or prepared their favorite meal. Or the smug smile from my husband when I can describe exactly where on the shelf his extra tube of toothpaste is, including what color the box is and the super clearance sticker on it along with the date I purchased it. Or the sense of pride when the pediatrician’s office calls and I can provide detailed explanations of the progression of my son’s stomach sensitivity down to color and consistency of vomit (#SorryNotSorry). I love the successful feeling I get when I know that I’ve done what no one else in my family can do, as it shows me that I am doing exactly what I should be doing. That’s why I’m a #MomagerForLife. And knowing that you clicked on this post means you probably are too.