When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to get married to the man of my dreams and have a family. I thought a career would never define me. I have worked a variety of jobs that I’ve loved, but by far, being a wife and mother has been all I dreamed that it would be. I think I scored an exceptional husband that I am absolutely CRAZY about and I was blessed with kind, caring, amazing kids. I love my family and I love defining my life by it!
But I am human and I have days when I get tired — exhausted — by being the wife and mother in the family. Sometimes, I just wish my husband’s brain worked like mine does so he could understand how I can get so mentally exhausted over some of this stuff. These are a few of the things I wish he understood:
- Yes, even in 2020, being raised as a woman in our society is not as easy as being raised as a man. A man never has to think twice about walking alone at night or what kind of car is parked next to him. He never has to worry about whether he’s being followed with his kids in Target. Along with everything we do daily to care for our babies, we also have to be super aware of our surroundings because our life and our children’s lives could depend on it. And it’s exhausting.
- After being poked and prodded by medical professionals, family members, and even strangers while pregnant, we go through labor and delivery, a lot more poking and prodding, and then finally get to go home with our new baby. There, we are constantly latched onto by a baby, maybe a second and third child, usually the pets too. We just get touched and touched all day long. And then, when we finally crawl into bed at night, we get asked for sex. It’s not that we don’t find our husbands attractive anymore or don’t love them. It’s that we have been touched and asked for things ALL DAY. We just need a little bit of time to not be “messed with.” And many Dads take it personally. It’s not them; it’s us. And it’s exhausting.
- We love our homes. We love to make them warm and welcoming for our family and friends, but our houses are also a burden that we alone bear. A house is associated with the woman. A well-kept house is remarked upon, while a cluttered or messy home is due to a lazy wife/mother. Society teaches us that the way our house looks and runs depends on women. It doesn’t matter how helpful our husband is; we will get the credit or bear the blame. And it’s exhausting.
- Being the Family Manager takes a toll on us. Always knowing which kid is due for which vaccination, when the pets are due for a vet visit, whose friend’s birthday party is Saturday, and the exact location of every sports jersey in the home is a balancing act. We keep all this information swirling in our heads, ready to be called up when needed. It pops up in the middle of the night to keep us from sleeping. It pokes us in the side while we are watching a movie or reading a book. It’s always there. And it’s exhausting.
- Socializing is wonderful and it makes us feel like we are a part of a group. Being around other people is a gift, but it’s also work for us. From the time we are little girls, we are taught to look pretty and to smile, to keep the peace and to not be too assertive. No one specifically tells us this, but it’s buried in every bit of society: archaic values that we don’t even realize are there, telling us to play nice; that what we look like and the relationships we have define us. So when we join just about any group, we are on high alert to be sure we say and do the right things. We don’t want anyone to dislike us. And it’s exhausting.
- Being a Mom means you just can’t win. Anything you choose to do while raising your kids will be picked apart. The type of birth you choose and the vaccine schedule you choose get judged. If your child gets hurt, you weren’t watching them closely enough. If you watch them closely enough so they NEVER get hurt, you’re a crazy helicopter Mom. If you feed your kids only healthy, organic foods, you are a health nut and if you let them eat red dyes and fried foods, you don’t care about their health at all. And so, on and on it goes. Dads don’t get judged this way. And it’s exhausting.
- I wish sometimes my husband could walk a mile in my shoes and actually understand why I get so exhausted, even if I skipped out on the laundry and dishes today. Being a Mom, it’s exhausting.