It occurred to me a week ago. When I was sitting in Mia’s classroom, participating in her Star Day, and I looked at the clock. The teacher asked, “Do you have to go soon?” And I smiled politely, “Oh, no, I’m good.” But I really wasn’t. I absolutely needed to go. I had a ton of things to accomplish that day, and it had been “a week”. But I also wanted to be there for Mia and enthusiastically participate. But I’m only one person.
Do you remember the television show “Mad About You”? There’s this great moment after Helen Hunt gets pregnant that she’s rationalizing to herself that Paul Reiser’s character will be able to do so much of the work, too. And they will be in this together, and he looks at her and says something like, “I can help, but you’re the mommy.” And she gets this stunned look on her face and says, “I’m the mommy. Oh my god. I’m the MOMMY.”
I don’t think I realized how poignant that scene was until I became a mom. I’m the MOMMY.
And bam. There it is. Mental load. I know you’ve all heard the term, but it’s completely true. And mental load is rough.
Being a single mom only exacerbates the problem. And no matter how involved and engaged your co-parent is, odds are Mommy is buying the Valentine’s for the kids’ parties and keeping track of the calendar. Mommy knows what “Expert Day at school” is because Mommy is reading every email from school and taking mental notes about where she needs to be. Mommy is figuring out summer daycare and birthday parties. Mommy is figuring out after school activities and swim lessons.
And then add on a child with a disability. Just this week I felt I had neglected my 2nd job. When I realized that her teachers didn’t know that Mia knew her letters. And I sat there looking at her report card in disbelief. “Mia doesn’t know her letters? What?” And I realized that Mommy hadn’t been keeping as close an eye on her as she should have. Of course, Mia does know a vast majority of her letters very well. But that sick feeling in my stomach of failure is still very much there. Mommy wasn’t paying enough attention.
And I could delegate. I could send a list to their dad. But for a number of reasons, I have the kids the majority of the time. So, really I’d have to schedule the doctor appointments and school things myself anyways.
So I guess the question is “How do I unload?” I have two weekends a month when I don’t have the kids. I know people tell me to enjoy the break. But it’s not really a break. It’s more a “recovery” process. Cleaning the house, grocery shopping, etc. And sure, I do some fun things, but it’s usually punctuated with a mountain of laundry.
It’s a challenge you guys. And I know every mom understands.
And then add on to that the guilt that you’re house isn’t as clean as it should be. The social media comparison to that other mom that just seems to have her shit together.
I don’t have a solution. Because I’m the MOMMY.
I guess this is why us Mommies have to stick together. Encourage each other. Admit that we don’t have our shit together. Give each other an emotional high five.
Because we’re the Mommy. And it’s a badass gig.