The Invisible Load of Motherhood

I forgot my daughter’s ballet slippers for class this weekend and she was absolutely devastated. I, in turn, felt terrible. As all the little tutu clad girls ran to their moms to put their dance shoes on, all I was able to give mine was an apology that she just didn’t understand. Tears started streaming down her face, and she was so confused. I could just see her brain processing – “But it’s dance class. Why wouldn’t Mommy have my shoes?” The most annoying part was that I had gotten them out, was distracted by something else, and then managed to leave them on the kitchen counter.

Who can blame me though? Any day of the week there’s a million things that I have to remember as a parent and as the unofficial manager of our household. I’ve never been great at remembering things in general, but the addition of a screaming kid in the background most of the time has been a recipe for disaster. It’s literally impossible for me to ever get my thoughts straight, and I have more of them to manage now than ever before.

Most people just see me going through life as if it’s another normal day, but there’s always another unseen layer running in the background. When is Thea’s next dental appointment? Did I even schedule it? What extracurricular activities do we have this weekend? Did I tell someone we’d get together on a playdate? Whose birthday is it, and did we get them a gift? I’m trying to remember the last time I got together with certain friends and if I owe them a lunch to keep our friendship afloat. Has the dog had his heart medicine? What emails have I not responded to and what was it that I told someone I’d take care of in that meeting last week that I now can’t remember for the life of me? Is the daycare payment due? How much is it now that there was that rate increase? What are we planning on eating the entire week? How many diapers are left? I have a newfound respect for parents that lived in a time where our phones didn’t remind us of things to do, and we couldn’t order our groceries on an app while at a stoplight. Even with all of these things I still mess up, and when I do I feel like a failure. It’s exhausting never having a break from your own brain. It’s draining having so many things relying on you and having no failsafe.

You’re thinking “why doesn’t your husband help out with all of that?” Well, if I’m going to be honest with myself, the thought of that stresses me out even more so I don’t really view it as an option. I’ve gotten better at asking him to share certain responsibilities, and he for sure has plenty of his own around the house (which I appreciate more than this article probably makes it sound). But at the end of the day it’s up to me to remember what’s happening, even if I put it on the google family calendar. That’s the role that comes with being a mom, the manager of the household and the one with a job in a position that’s more flexible around appointments and what not. And honestly, how do you split those things between two people? I don’t see how it can be done without things falling through the cracks. Even if I delegate or ask for help, it’s up to ME to remember it needs to happen.

I know I need to be more gentle with myself. With so much going on, things are bound to be forgotten, and Amazon Prime has saved me more than I’d like to admit. But I’m also hoping that the next thing I inevitably let slip through the cracks is something small, like forgetting a water bottle, and not something like realizing I forgot my jacket on a camping trip where it was supposed to rain all weekend. Yep. I did that to myself last year and it sucked.

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