A Letter To My Family: Sometimes It’s Just Not Enough

A Letter To My Family: You are amazing, and I love you all so much, but sometimes it's just not enough. Sometimes I need more from you, and you can do it!

Hello Boys,

Your Mom and Wife here.

I hope you know I love you guys more than anything on this planet. And I hope you know I would go to the ends of this earth to help you.

But something’s gotta change.  And it’s gotta change fast.

What do you mean, you ask?

I know you think I can do it all, and most of the time I do. But, I need your help.

Because I can’t continue to do it all.

Let me be fair…you guys are actually amazing. Between all of you, you pick up the dog poop (after a fight), you do the dishes and take out the trash (usually without being asked), you do the laundry (sometimes, and only yours), you watch your brother, you clean up broken Worcestershire bottles (omg – thank you), you smoke salmon (yummy), you clean the floors, you cook, you clean, you make me laugh, you water the flowers, you talk up my blog, you deflect those sibling things, you let me hang with my BFF’s (usually without you), you insert yourself when you think you should and a million other things. Truly, I’m a lucky Momma and lucky Wife.

And I love you all for all of those things you do.

But, sometimes, all of that isn’t enough.

What do you mean, you ask?

I need you all to understand something. I need you to understand that despite all of the amazing things you do, sometimes it’s just not enough. I’m sorry, but it’s not.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the mental load borne by women. It provided me with an ah-ha moment of sorts. You’re all good with helping when asked, but sometimes I just don’t want to have to ask. And I don’t want to do it myself.

I don’t want to have to pick up one more freaking spoon and yogurt container from the end table. 

I don’t want to have to ask you to put your shoes away one more time. 

I don’t want to have to compose and type one more email for you.

I don’t want to remind you to take out the compost. 

I don’t want to have to be the one to call in your prescription.

I don’t want to be the one to remember that we need milk, or put together the Costco list. 

I don’t want to be the one who makes the coffee every single night. 

I don’t want to be the one who notices that the counters need to be wiped down, again or that the recycling or trash needs taking out, or that the toothpaste in the sink needs to be wiped out.  

I don’t want to be the one who is asked for a glass of milk as soon as I sit down at the table.

Arrrrrrrgggg – I know you are all capable of more.

A Letter To My Family: You are amazing, and I love you all so much, but sometimes it's just not enough. Sometimes I need more from you, and you can do it!

More important than all of that? I need you to start seeing me. I need you to look past the Supermom front and recognize that sometimes, despite the fact that I might say I’m fine…I may not be fine.

Well, I am fine, but I’m likely teetering on the edge, especially if you are noticing.

And…you’re likely the ones that have done it to me!

Your Momma has learned to live in a constant state of stress, one which would kill most people. Truth be told, most of the time, I am stressed. But, I’ve also learned to fake it…

Really, really well.

That’s just how your Momma rolls.

And most of the time, it works.

In fact, it works so well you guys can’t recognize when I’m reaching my limit. No matter what’s going on, you know I’ll take care of it, of you, of stuff, because that’s what I do.

But MAN, it’s exhausting!

Not only is it exhausting, most days, behind that Supermom persona, I’m just barely hanging by a thread.

I know, hanging by a thread is the very definition of motherhood. Have you ever seen your momma fall apart?

That’s right…NOPE.

It’s not what moms do. No matter what’s happening around us:  puking dogs, puking kids, puking husbands, 4th grade research projects, college visits, teacher luncheons, new meds, broken dishes, work deadlines, dads with cancer, auction donations, PTO openings, overnight guests, SATs, crazy coworkers, carpools, back-talking kids, the damn succulent and mason jar for the class project, that cough you just can’t get rid of, it’s all just a blip on the radar. All of that stuff (and more that didn’t make the list), don’t worry, Mom’s got it!

And, trust me…I do.

But man, it’s exhausting.

So, I have one request for all of you able-bodied creatures who may or may not inhabit my house who have a Supermom that takes care of you…

Next time you need something, look at your Supermom, and before you ask her to do that thing, that one little thing that you know she’ll do, think twice. Think twice before you ask her. Look at your Momma. Look hard. And for once, think about what’s going on in her life, and remember, behind that Supermom persona, there’s a good chance she’s likely hanging by a thread.

And for the love of God and all things holy, if you can do that one little thing all by your able-bodied self…DO IT!

And give your Supermom a break.

xoxo,
Your Momma

17 COMMENTS

  1. This is wonderful. I know the article about the ‘mental load’ that you mean. It sparked the same sort of OH YES THAT for me too. My family will always help. But I don’t want them to HELP ME. I want them to HELP THEMSELVES. The difference is huge. I see that you get it. xoxo

  2. Beautiful commentary Shannon. I’ve been experiencing the problem from a new perspective of bringing my mother to live with my husband and myself. My mother seems to be wondering where superwoman went. Adding the responsibility of caring for an elder with Lewy Body Dementia has tipped the scale. Super woman is now super tired woman trying to figure out what is needed next. I missed out on some very important family gatherings recently and am struggling with my identity and responsibilities. Elder care is like having children, but seniors have a tendency to be more stubborn. And they ask if you’ve made coffee yet (why not?), did you call in my prescription yet (yes–I would never let my mom go off her meds–I am not CRAZY), and yes, we will get out of the house (because otherwise I would go stark raving mad). I do it because I love and care very much for my family–taking care of children or seniors is not for wussies. And I fight daily to keep my identity and my sanity…I AM a SUPER WOMAN cause I still have my cape in the closet. It is shiny with lots of beads on it and when I pull it out I can still work magic. I just don’t do it every day.

  3. I actually read a comment from a blog post a week or so ago talking about the same thing and–seriously–LIGHTBULB!! It’s the mental load and responsibility. I have this back and forth of guilt and then anger at the husband and kids over this, because I see our friend berating her husband non-stop so that she doesn’t have the full mental load. And their marriage is crumbling. WHY does the mother/wife have to be the bearer of this?? Sigh. No answer, lol! I feel ya, Lady! And I hope you find some sort of answer or peace with this. And if you do–for God sake share it with us all! <3

  4. I truly relate to this. My son tells me that I’m the” strongest woman he knows” and I very well could be. But sometimes I don’t want to be that strong person. I want to be pampered and for them to just listen to my needs and desires. I love my children very much and I’m still trying to learn how to say “no”.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here