Stand back, watch out, and brace yourselves — whatever you need to do. I am tired of playing the humble card and watching all of you all do it too. I am an incredible person. I’m not perfect, I am definitely lacking in a lot of areas, and sometimes I seriously question if I am good enough, but what I do is awesome.
Let me tell you about me!
I am 26. I was married to my love at the ripe age of 21, and together we have one child who is four. My husband works his dream job in ministry; he worked hard for it and we also waited and prayed many years for it. I work full-time for a company I have been with for six years, working hard to build my career. I carry a ton of financial responsibility because in this day and age, it’s so hard to survive on a single income and it’s almost expected that mothers will work. I have to perform my job with excellence and I have to get the next raise or bonus to keep us comfortable.
I have a Bachelor’s degree, which I completed three months after my unexpected baby arrived. I worked night shift while I was pregnant and fought tooth and nail to get a job that allowed me to be home at night with my husband because my marriage is important. I am going back for my Master’s degree within the next year.
Before I continue, don’t read this and think “her husband should help more.” Maybe, maybe not. That isn’t what this is about; my husband is awesome and I could write an article about all he does. Maybe what should happen is that society stop pressuring women to be all things, to wear all hats. Maybe we should stop expecting moms to survive on grace and instead survive on the fumes of her greatness.
I cook dinners, I grocery shop, I pay almost all the bills, I clean and manage the household. If the whole family cleans, I make the lists of what and how to clean. I make the doctor’s appointments, I stay up late or all night when the child is sick. I take our pets to the vet, I make sure their food and water bowls are full, I give them their monthly medications. I make sure our favorite snacks are in the pantry and that everyone is eating balanced meals. I get out each day’s clothes, I make sure our daughter’s teeth are brushed, hair washed, tangles untangled. I make sure that we are setting aside savings, that our 401K is on track, that we have insurance coverage, that our credit scores are stable, and that our budget is sound.
I read bedtime stories, I change the sheets, and I hang up clean clothes. I know where all the hair bows are, I can find any item in any arbitrary place. I know her shoe size, where each toy goes, and which shampoo/conditioner to use without having to ask anyone. I know her love language, I know that she is a gentle spirit who needs gentle parenting, and that all she wants is someone to look her in the eye and listen to her weird story. I am present for all functions, I never miss an important date, plan every birthday party, and I ensure that everyone is aware of all the events coming up. I take her to dance class, even though I am working, and I pick her up. I am a walking, talking family calendar, and I am really good at being flexible and multitasking.
But I am not just a mom; I am a wife too.
I still date my husband every Friday night. I make time for him. I try to keep our bed as our sanctuary because that is what he needs, even if my mommy heart tells me to bed share until college. I get him surprises, I leave him love notes, and I make sure I carve out undivided time for him. I make lists to communicate with him about problems or feelings so that I don’t harbor bitterness, which is very easy for me to do. I am perceptive of his needs, his feelings, and his stresses. I plan our family outings and our vacations to ensure we are making memories together, including nights away with just us.
I keep in touch as best I can with all my friends. I talk to them on a regular basis and I make plans to visit them even when they’re out of state. I host game nights in my home, I cook meals for everyone on a regular basis, and our door is always open as a place to crash or unwind, and it’s used often. We are close to our families and make sure to spend time with them regularly. We make sure to include the grandparents as much as possible and that our daughter gets to see and play with her cousins.
I try to take care of myself. I go to the doctor when I’m sick, I have a keen awareness of my struggling mental health, and I do things that I like. I maintain my outward appearance because it makes me feel better. I volunteer at church. I lock myself in the bathroom and take steaming hot two-hour baths. I don’t cut my hobbies out of the budget to save money because I know that they are important too.
You know what though? This post isn’t about me. It’s about you.
It’s about my mom and my mom’s mom. It’s about my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. It’s about my mom friends, it’s about all the women who do it all and manage it all, without thinking twice about it. This is about the women who often find themselves saying, “I’m struggling, I can’t do it all, I can’t keep up.” Today, I want those women to look at their line items of ALL THE THINGS they do, that no one tells them they have to do, and recognize that moms are amazing forces of nature. And if no one else sees your invisible job requirements, make sure you do. Write them out just like I did and applaud yourself for how incredible you really are.