Tuesday, September 22, 2009

more on motherhood

Maureen Down wrote a piece the other day in the Times that resonated so strongly I can't stop thinking about it: "Blue is the New Black." http://tinyurl.com/musean. She talked about how women are getting unhappier as they get older, that mothers are less happy than women without children, that the struggle to balance parenting, housework, relationships, work, career . . . all the hats we wear, the balls we juggle, split us off in so many directions, we can never get it together and just have fun. Ok, that last bit was my take on the situation but just thinking about it is bringing tears to my eyes.

I've lost track of the last time I've come first, when a need of mine took precedence over everyone else's. Or how about this, I can't remember the last time someone resolved a conflict that wasn't me. Takes care of sick kids? Me. Makes sure homework is done, paperwork is processed, people get to where they need to be on time? Me.Same old same old. If I don't do it, who will.

I comfort the one in pain. I listen when no one else will. I'm woken up in the middle of the night with bad dreams and runny noses and screams. I'm the one who soothes and nurtures. Who forces medicine down throats. Who makes doctors appointments, talks to teachers, volunteers at school. I'm the one who doesn't eat dinner. Who works at 5 in the morning because there's no time during the day. Who has to listen to football games when I have less than zero interest in what the Giants do this year. Who hosts all holidays. Who has parents sleep on my couch even though we have plenty of other relatives nearby. Who makes plans that everyone complains about. I absorb everyone else's anger angst frustration anxiety fear at themselves school work relationships.

But who is there to take any of the burden off me? I think that's the dilemma and pain Maureen Down was talking about. Or at least that's my take on it. No one has my back. And nothing's going to get easier.


Jeremy said...

A sympathetic ear can sometimes, perhaps, help lighten the load a bit, or at least make it slightly easier to bear.

Catharine said...

I hear you. (Except that both my husband and I despise football, thank god.) I've got all of the above on my back AND I'm the primary breadwinner, while my beloved just blogs away, and I'm just a nurse, so we have plenty of financial problems for *me* to solve as well.

Nobody's got my back, either. But if I lived near you (if I even knew you), I'd have your back sistah-friend.

Women need to do a better job of building supportive communities (in our spare time, right?). We do everything else pretty damn well.