It was the day to drop off supplies for the new school year when I realized I had forgotten to do about seventy-five different things, including getting supplies, emergency contact forms filled out, and immunization records into school. I started to panic, and then I was angry. Why was I always such a slacker? Is it really so difficult to follow up on emails and actually follow through with these things? We had just gotten home from an extended vacation thanks to Delta Airlines and its computer issues or whatever happened over there. Of course, my husband had to get back to work immediately, so here I am, left to get it all done.
I see so many of you, seemingly so put-together and pulling these things off with such grace. How do you do it all? I can’t seem to get ahead of myself. I can’t be the only one who often feels like she’s running in place, not getting to where she needs to go.
After I managed to show up an hour and a half later than I wanted at my kids’ school to drop off our things, the teachers assured me I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t behind. They looked at me with those kind teacher eyes. Were they just being polite?
That afternoon, during nap time, I sat down to reflect on what I could do to get ahead and what I could have done differently. And it hit me:
I DO SO MANY THINGS.
Who is responsible for making sure the supplies are purchased and organized and labeled and dropped off? Me.
Who is responsible for getting the forms filled out and the tuition paid? Me.
In addition to the kid stuff, who is responsible for remembering to send birthday cards and presents and thank you notes and to make sure grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends get photos of the kids and updates? Me.
Groceries and laundry, schedules and repairs, dog food and cat food, doctors appointments, vacations, visits…. the list hits infinity.
If any of these items are forgotten, even if I asked my husband to help or take care a couple of them, who gets a phone call? Me.
I do. The school calls me first when something is missing or we forgot something or my kids are sick. When I forget about birthday cards and thank you notes, who gets reminded? I do. I have all of the reminder calls, all of the questions, all of the everyday and yearly responsibilities that exist to keep us in the loop and to keep people satisfied. It’s no wonder I am forgetting things on the regular.
Granted, when we become mothers, we are automatically a nurturer and care taker. After all, we grew these things in our bodies for nine months. It makes sense. And, we are the ones who inherently want to be in the loop on everything. It’s true.
I also made the choice to let my career play second fiddle to child-raising after the kids were born so that my husband could be the bread-winner and excel at his own career. I understand that inevitably puts more of that on my shoulders.
But, do I have to carry it all?
Don’t get my wrong, when my husband is home, he is all hands on deck. He helps with so much so I can get my own things accomplished, and he understands that I thrive on that quiet time I covet from the days when there weren’t a two and three year old running amuck and screeching so loudly that I swear I am losing my hearing at an astronomical rate. But, at the end of the day, the burdens of the everyday, seemingly trite, mundane tasks and expectations fall on me, the mom. These things start to add up, and it’s a wonder I even sleep at all or accomplish anything.
I’m the first to admit that being organized, methodical, and particular aren’t strong points of mine. Hey, we all have strengths and weaknesses! However, I am willing to bet that even the most organized and disciplined mothers out there have a hard time with all that seems to be required from us. How do we do it all? Why do we do so much?
I assume that as the kids grow up, that we all just get better accustomed to the everyday requirements. I assume that maybe some things just go by the wayside. I assume that I will one day relax and start saying things like, “OH WELL!” with a giggle while I throw my hands up in the air and move on without another thought. I assume that I won’t go completely crazy in the meantime.
Until then, you’ll find me running around in circles, usually late, usually not listening, and usually with wet hair.