At my mother blessing earlier this year, my own mother was pretty pissed off. With so many of my friends (and also myself) expressing our overarching feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm when it came to doing housework and motherhood while also trying to pursue our careers and occasionally enjoy our lives.
Mum was a bit like- what the fuck? This is what we were all worn down by in the 70’s. Why has nothing actually changed??
It was quite gratifying to hear her say that really. Because sometimes I feel like we just accept this as the way things are/ should be as some sort of practical consequence of being women.
I’ve got to tell you- I’ve been smacking into this concept in the last few weeks something fierce. When I woke up this morning I finally felt something snap inside me. As my eyes creaked open after yet another night of boobin’, wet beds, bottle-refilling and snoring husbands- I could feel the too muchness of it rising and shaking in my chest.
I’m writing this in my car while my baby sleeps in the back having dropped my kids at kinder/care and bought myself a coffee. And I DON’T want to go inside at all. Because I know once I do, I will be paralysed by the sheer insurmountable workload in front of me. There is SO MUCH housework. There was already washing and folding and sweeping and dishes sitting there this morning. And soon a Real Estate Agent who is coming to do an inspection. And that was BEFORE my middle child wee’d on the bathroom floor and spilt her breakfast all over the kitchen when we were already half an hour late.
I also have to add that this is on top of the 70 pages of Psychology reading I have to do and the fact that really I just want to write at the moment. I just started my book and I am packing that into every little extra moment I have- including right now in fact, sitting in my car.
I just want to be a good Mum. But this morning I was absolutely losing it in my feelings of overwhelm and frustration.
I have these absolutely wonderful children and I am just not enjoying motherhood as much as I know I can right now because I am utterly burnt out.
I’m not telling you all this to make you feel bad for me. I know I am one of the lucky ones- with choices and a loving, hard-working partner (albeit one who doesn’t always fathom the mental load I’m carrying or that if you leave crap on the bench, it’s not pixies that put it away). This is less a complaint and more a tirade.
Because I’m sat here thinking that I’m going to have to give something up. Either study is going to need to be put off AGAIN or I’m going to have to wait to write my book or work on my business so that I can have more of me to give to my children and not be a shaky, cranky mess all the time.
This knowledge makes me unbelievably angry.
I’m so fucking ticked off that as women, housework takes precedence over the things that we do that stimulate our mind and help us work in our communities. That it is such a never ending, thankless task and yet it comes first and foremost so much of the time, dulling our wit, our brilliance, our intellect and our gifts.
I’m fucking sick of it.
Housework is massive and that responsibility falls almost exclusively to us. If we shirk it- even in favour of those things that would improve our lives or the wider world, the house turns into a dump. I don’t want to live in a house that is a total dump, I don’t know about you. So what can we do?
There’s no tribe anymore. We all live in our little separate boxes, suffering under our own workloads. Unless we somehow run away to live in a commune, each woman is merely crushed under the weight of her own laundry basket. The idea of reaching out to help another woman can seem almost impossible sometimes when we know that our own pile of crap is still waiting for us when we get back. So what can we do?
Personally I’ve put it in the fuck it bucket for today and rang my mum, booked to see my psychologist and a course coach at uni. And of course I have written this down. I just don’t think I can handle a day of crying into my dishes while I think of my dreams gurgling down the drain with the grey water and food gunk. Asking myself- is this life? Is this what I signed up for? Involuntary servitude when I know I could be so much more.
Over the last few years I have watched these incredible women around me achieving their dreams. Taking on and pursuing what they most desire. Finding a way to be it all, have it all. And I REFUSE to accept that all I can be right now is some slave to the washing line. So I have taken on what I wanted and I have worked to align myself with these inspirational women. I want to be one of them.
Who knew it would be so much harder than it looks? With a husband that works super long hours and three kids in tow. Fighting every day to get them to pick up after themselves. Alerting them to the fact that I’m not a servant. Who knew?
And I have been called a superwoman by friends on multiple occasions. But to be honest with you, most of the time I just feel like the maid. Like a maid with some unachievable dream. Like some sort of unfortunate character in a Charles Dickens novel.
Well, I for one have had it ladies. I’m pissed off. I’m tired. I’m panicky and I’m losing it here.
Something has got to fucking change.