It may not look like your standard picket line, but this mom is officially on strike.
Don’t believe me?
Just watch as I pick up all the clothes and toys littered around the house and ceremoniously place them in a garage bag destined for the dark hole of the garage.
Or, better yet, the trashcan.
For some reason, there is an assumption in my household that if they don’t do it, I will. A challenge of sorts…of who will clean it up first. Dinner plates left on the table, clothes and wet towels on the bathroom floor, bedroom floors completely covered in this, that, and the other.
Hands on hips, I stand in the midst of clutter and chaos, wondering when the last time anyone in my house picked up a toilet brush, unloaded the dishwasher, or pushed around a vacuum of their own free will was?
Well, never. That’s when. It’s never happened.
Because I always do it. And everyone expects me to do it. The expectation leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, which coincidentally tastes a lot like resentment. So, I guess on some level, I’ve created this monster.
We all know there’s only so much of that any mom can take before she loses her cool.
And then, all bets are off.
State of the House
About every six months, I pull the troops together for a State of the House address. Similar to the President’s State of the Union address to the nation, this is where I lay out my grand plans to improve the household. We assemble in the living room for our meeting, and I air my list of frustrations and beg to understand why everyone else is perfectly content living like slobs. It usually involves some tears (on my part) and eye-rolling (on their part). In a valiant effort to shut me up, the husband and kids feign a vague interest and vow to pitch in.
With fresh demands for household order and participation in chores, I feel momentarily satisfied that I’ve made my point. I tuck my crazy back in and forge ahead, feeling victorious.
What could be a democracy often leads to a dictatorship because, frankly, I am not the only household member capable of chores. If you’re not volunteering to pitch in, you will be volun-told!
Believe me…I get it. No one wants to do chores. I fall into the “I’d rather do anything but this” category just as well as they do. But it must be done, and we all have to suck it up.
If we are all contributing to the mess, why are so few of us contributing to the clean-up?
In their defense, I do prefer a certain order about my house. Yes, I like things a particular way. But I have to draw the line somewhere and raise their standards of living, even if it means lowering mine.
I think that’s called compromise.
I’m working on it.
No Time Off
The last day off I had was in 2007. Exactly 14 years ago. Once you become a mom, you never get a day off. Ever again.
There is always something to do or plan for. Someone always needs something.
Recently, I was at an important doctor’s appointment, and my husband was home with the kids. Suddenly, my phone starts buzzing in my purse. Repeatedly. Over and over again.
I am convinced something horrible has happened. Someone must be on their way to the ER. The house has surely caught on fire. With an equal look of concern on his face, the doctor suggests I may want to answer the phone. With the worst-case scenario playing in my mind, I do.
My kid can’t find her knee pads for volleyball. Yes, that’s right. Knee pads.
Can’t I get through a short medical appointment without a knee pad crisis needing my attention? Are dads not capable of handling such an emergency? Feeling a little too vindicated, I may have used this moment to remind my kid that if her room didn’t resemble the aftermath of a nuclear bomb, she might have known where her knee pads were. But in her panic, my message fell flat.
This is what I’m talking about. If you know, you know.
I can’t recall the last time I set aside a day that was just for me. These are such distant, yet fond, memories. I hereby proclaim that all mothers deserve to go on strike, demand equal household contributions, and be free of all responsibilities for one day. A day to do whatever we want to do – even if we choose to do nothing. Sit down and put those feet up, momma! Get wrapped up in your favorite show or scroll through your Facebook feed without interruption or guilt. The picket line helps us recharge our batteries so we can start fresh tomorrow!