Just to be clear… it’s honestly not that late, but it’s mom late. If you know, you know. Also, I’m a working mom, but I know plenty of non-working and working from home moms that can relate. Lastly, I used the roles and genders that I grew up with and have seen most often, but I think this is relevant to all blended and non-traditional families.
It’s very easy as a mom to feel unimportant; even if you’re appreciated. You’re still only relevant in the context of the issue that you solve or manage. Sometimes when I don’t have to struggle with my dishwasher or my deadbolt key and I mentally thank it for working, I wonder… am I this same thing? Am I needed, involved, guarded, and appreciated in THIS way?
I remember the feeling when I upgraded my car to meet my family’s needs for space and I thought, “I love this car, it’s perfect and I’ll never get rid of it”. The sense of relief and security that it gave me; like a good, deep breath. Is that all that keeps me here? The sense of security that comes with the purposes I serve. If I were gone, would it be as simple as finding a better fit for the family to make my absence easier to deal with? If I didn’t perform some of my roles (or didn’t perform them well enough) would it be enough for my family to no longer need/want me? Surely I would be less important because of the amount of responsibility I had would decrease.
Stereotype alert: Why is it when a dad does his “dad things” all the time by himself and for himself with much less general family responsibilities, is he still such a vital person? Like, patriarchy and head of the table imagine in mind… but chances are that man hasn’t set up kids doctors appointments (or even gone), haircuts, attended kid birthday parties (unless his friend is there), teacher conference, or ANY number of things that moms do… and they are still “the man of the house”. Obviously not all men are the “man of the house” IN the house. But he definitely doesn’t feel the pressure and guilt that a mom does when it comes to the family, home, and/or kids. Those are the only things that matter, and they’re all under mom’s responsibility.
Mom’s don’t matter in the big picture of things. Or do only the things that mom’s do for the family matter? For example, having friends, hobbies, work, self-care, etc. If I skip or stop any of those, usually my family will be happy to have my full attention… unless I complain about it or show in any way that I’m anything less than ecstatic. Then I go back to being a problem. But if I skip or stop the right combination of family things, there’s usually very little wiggle room for reasons that it would be acceptable. So the moral is: be a mom, do your responsibilities to the max and be overjoyed about it. If you get overwhelmed or overstimulated, try NOT to let anyone else know… since you may ruin their day and not just yours.
Think maybe you just need a break? Rest assure, their daily lives will come to a complete halt with you. That way, by the time you’ve been guilted enough into getting back in the saddle, everything you’ve been struggling with will be right there waiting on you. Get an hour or two to have the house to yourself? Better use that to get a head start on all of the things you’ve been needing to do, or else you’ll continue to feel guilty about not having them done. But if guilt isn’t your thing, rethink taking time to yourself at all. Because there’s a large window of time until it’s acceptable for you to even suggest that your tired or overwhelmed or overstimulated. The reason: “you just had a break” and the aftertaste of… you guessed it: guilt.
I don’t have any advice for this one. I’m tired.