Co-Parenting is Good …
I’m a happily married woman and mom to three beautiful children, ages 5, 8, and 12. Well, the 12-year-old really isn’t so little anymore – insert sad face here; I digress. My husband and I have been married for 17 years and work very hard at raising our children. While he is not perfect (nor am I), he is truly a wonderful husband and father; he is present, active, and engaged. Many nights he cooks dinner. He will load and unload the dishwasher and washes and folds laundry. He takes our son to baseball practice. He helps, like for real. We truly parent together.
But Momma is Lonely
And yet there are so many other tasks left untouched, that he leaves for mom to handle. Who takes the kids to their doctor and dentist appointments? Me! Who stays home with sick kids or leaves work early to pick them up from school? Me! Who makes the late-night run to secure supplies to finish the school project at the last minute and then stays up late with the kid to make sure it gets done? Me! Who attends PTO meetings and parent-teacher conferences? Me! Who arranges childcare for date nights and teacher workdays? Me! Who plans spring break trips and summer vacations? Me! Who keeps up with school field trips, book fairs, and birthday parties? Me! Who makes sure clothes and shoes still fit or rushes to Target when you realize you have grossly misjudged the jean to leg-length ratio? You guessed it! Me, again! And you, too, momma!
Making Mommy Moves
Some call this the invisible workload of motherhood. I like to call it making mommy moves – sounds a lot more fun, right? Cue Cardi B chanting, “I make mommy moves” in the background. All these tasks primarily fall on us. Necessary tasks for sure but so exhausting and never-ending. It gets lonely, too. I’m sure you have worn this expression as often as you have seen it – the look of despair on a mom’s face as she is tussling with her children, … alone.
Is all this really our responsibility? Should we just suck it up, silently accepting it as what we signed up for when we became mommies? Does complaining make us look ungrateful? Women have been mommying since the beginning of time. Times have changed, though. Most women work outside the home compared to the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Plus, our children lead very active lives, especially with all their extracurricular activities. Everybody is so busy.
Combatting Loneliness in Motherhood
Acknowledging the invisible workload of motherhood is not whining or ingratitude. It’s not a lack of strength or the absence of mental fortitude. Parenting is real and it’s hard. I say it all the time because it’s true! While we often see the fruits of labor, make no mistake, we are toiling and laboring And, I believe that owning this reality is vitality important to our mental health and our ability to cultivate a healthy mommy mindset. When we ignore our feelings and the pressures of parenting, we risk developing mommy guilt that creates mommy burnout that can lead to depression and anxiety.
Time’s up, mommas! There is no love, no reward, for suffering in silence. Time to talk and let that mess go! My solution is simple – get connected. Find your mommy tribe and do it together. Share parenting tips. Vent. Vacation together. Eat dinner together. Schedule play dates. Just don’t do it alone. We must unite, mommas. Our sanity and our families depend on it.