|Tired as a mother. |
To all the mother’s out there, I see you. I feel you. I am you.
As Mother’s Day rolls around, I’m so grateful to be a mother. So grateful to have Zayn as the addition that I never thought I’d have. SO grateful that Mason is the big brother he is and an enormous help to me and Moe. Grateful for a husband who cooks, cleans and takes care of our boys well and doesn’t call it babysitting.
I am also equally exhausted and empathetic to all of the other mothers in the world.
I shared a post in my facebook group a few days ago talking about how we as women cook, clean, do laundry, make sure everyone else is ok, cater to all. But who caters to her? Who does her laundry? Who makes her meals? It blew up with women commenting on how they felt that post deep in their soul. I think my mom said it best when she said that we are natural born caregivers but when someone in turn tries to care for us, we feel weird and uncomfortable. Why? Why is letting someone do something for you (for a change) uncomfortable?
Expectations. Our grandmothers cared for everyone. Our grandmothers made it look so easy. In addition, the men in our lives took that expectation that ladies “should” be the ones to care for everyone with them because that’s what they learned from our dads…the ones who had the mother doing it all. That subconscious belief and expectation was then passed from generation to generation and it became an unspoken norm that stuck. There’s a big factor missing in that expectation and the societal norm. Our grandmothers didn’t work a 40+ hour work week on top of caring for everyone. Our grandmothers weren’t trying to juggle online schooling, a pandemic and unrealistic expectations from our employers and they weren’t trying to navigate a culture obsessed with urgency (more on that next week).
My sister in law still lives in Cairo, Egypt. She’s about 5 months pregnant and the first girl in the family to have a baby. The women family members in the Arab culture come from other countries, other cities, miles and miles around when a woman has a baby just to take care of the new mother and baby. They all stay in the home for about a month after the baby is born. The new mom doesn’t have to do anything. No cooking, cleaning, nothing. Resting and caring for her baby. That’s her only job during this time. She’s cared for. Postpartum depression is a lot less, as are a lot of other complications that come with healing after baby. She doesn’t feel uncomfortable or weird or like she has to be working to entertain others or make a good impression.
So why not our culture? What would happen if we accepted help and caring from others with open arms and hearts? What if we started looking at the ability to care for others as a privilege and an honor knowing that eventually we will be the ones needing help and it will come back around? What if we took care of each other like my in laws and their culture? What if we adjust the expectations to teach our sons and daughters that the societal expectation from 40 years ago no longer applies and is no longer what’s best for our families? What if we taught them the importance of mental health and reducing stress over being all the things to all the people, saying yes when you want to say no, and stretching yourself too thin? What if we modeled that instead of only preaching it?
Let’s start adjusting. Let’s start learning to communicate what we need when we need it instead of sweeping it under the rug. Let’s start praising and appreciating the men in our lives when they step up and take things off of our plates. That’s a societal norm we can push! Teaching our sons that they are fully capable of doing the exact same things women do and of caring for others in the exact same manner. Let’s start normalizing rest and breaks and for the love of God, normalize saying NO. Let’s start changing the narrative so that we aren’t burnt out, exhausted, and merely surviving but instead we are energized, and stepping into our individual purposes. We can be engaged with our children instead of escaping the stress of the day when they’re asking for our attention. Let’s start getting uncomfortable in letting others care for us so that after a while, the uncomfortable becomes comfortable.
Let’s make it a goal that by next year on Mother’s Day, we are thriving and grateful every day for the life we live. A life that we don’t need time alone or an uninterrupted nap as the best gift in the world for Mother’s Day.