I read an article the other day about the invisible work mothers do. It was a very real excerpt from a woman about why we so often feel overwhelmed and I sat there and ugly cried. Why? Because it’s a reminder that I’m not alone and that motherhood will never be ‘equal.’ I’m constantly running an internal dialog where I complain about how unfairly weighted motherhood is in the parenthood partnership. WHY DOESN’T MY HUSBAND HAVE BOOBS YOU GUYS? WHY CAN’T HE CARRY CHILDREN AND BIRTH THEM? HOW DID I BECOME THE PERSON WHO ORGANIZES ALL THINGS HOUSEHOLD WHILE HOLDING DOWN A CAREER? I want things to be 100% equal. And since I’m two months into round two of motherhood, I’m knee deep in the part of parenthood that isn’t equal even a little bit. So, I run a tally in my head about why I’m superior and roll my eyes at said husband for taking ANY breaks while I plan, pack, coordinate, feed and wrangle children.
Last week, I yelled at my husband for doing what I’ve always wanted him to do … READ MY MIND. I needed help and he offered without prompting or a passive aggressive comment. How did I reward him? By yelling at him. I was so grossed out with myself that I decided it was time to get my shit together.
I started writing down what my husband does around the house to be an equal partner in this parenthood journey. I made a him and her list, if you will. You know … so I had proof that I’m the superior parent who makes the most sacrifices. When I was done, it wasn’t equal but it was really fucking close. He takes the brunt of the gross duties that I forget even need to be done because he does them so well (cleaning dog poop, washing dogs, taking out the trash, home repairs, tending to our garden), has a huge chunk of the toddler responsibilities that begin the second he walks through the door (playing with him, bathing him, bedtime routine, etc) and takes care of time-consuming paperwork without me even remembering it needs to be done (hello insurance claims). Now, it’s not totally equal because I have a newborn and boobs. But this is a phase and once that kid is done breastfeeding, we go back to center again.
Why does this matter? Because I think a lot of us have incredible partners. Sure, they don’t do things when we want them to, how we want them to, but they’re rad dads and good husbands. When we pull the martyr card, we isolate ourselves from the one person who CHOSE to be on this ride with us. And that doesn’t serve anyone well. So, if you’re like me and get into those “Why am I the only parent doing ANYTHING around here?” funks, start making a list. You may be surprised at how much the other partner does and get the reminder we all need: Parenthood is hard for all of us, not just mom.