Hello, my name is Angela, also known as mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, chauffer, caregiver, chef, employee, resource, housekeeper, volunteer, blogger, soon to be grandmother, author, psychologist, counselor, and entertainer. Oh yes, I am a jack of all trades and ultimate multi-tasker and only get paid for a small fraction of these titles. I bet you have just as many names as I do; maybe more, maybe less.
We are women, right? We are the masters at multi-tasking. We know how to cook dinner, do homework, dishes, burp the baby, and do our make-up all at the same time. Ever wonder why we try to do so much ALL THE TIME. In my internal searching, I have discovered 2 themes: 1) we never ask for help or assume people know we need it or 2) we might as well do it ourselves because they aren’t going to do it right anyways.
Really ladies, we are our own worst enemy. It’s like we are programmed to automatically take on everything and then wonder why we are so frustrated and tired. It’s because we are doing it to ourselves and it is much worse when you have kids.
The day goes something like this… We get up every morning, get lunches together, make breakfast, get kids up, grab coffee somewhere along the line, maybe shower if you have time. Exercise is completely out of the question. Off to school and work. (deep breath) Then you work all day and the afternoon circus begins. Pick up the kids from school, trek all over the county for after school activities in different locations (i.e soccer and tae kwon do), go back and fetch the kids praying you are not late, go home, do homework while making dinner (of which you don’t have time to eat but you make sure the family does), get showers, and finally bedtime. All the while the significant other is sitting on the couch drinking a beer and you have the sudden urge to pull your hair out and wring his neck.
I remember vividly when my kids were little. I would run around like a chicken with my head cut off between chasing a toddler (a girl) and dealing with a hormonal teenage girl while pregnant with yet another girl. Damn, the hormones in my house were flying back then. And my dear husband would be sitting on the couch with beer in hand watching TV after his hard day at work (feel the sarcasm). Boy, was I pissed and frustrated. I would huff around, slamming stuff hoping he would get the hint and I don’t know… get off his ass to help. I mean, I already had 3 kids to take care of, I didn’t have the time or desire to take care of a grown child.
This went on for years and sometimes I was so resentful to the point of madness. Here’s the thing, I created all of this misery myself. I set the stage and allowed it to happen and then continue. The fact of the matter is we are built differently and this is actually a good thing; it creates balance. I have never read Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus but I bet it discusses this very topic.
So you shouldn’t be surprised by me saying, “they can’t read your mind.” They do not have ESP or intuition to think, “Oh, she had a hard day at work; let me get those dishes tonight.” They just don’t.
In an above paragraph, I provided you a scenario. I am going to replay that same scenario from the perspective of being inside our heads. It goes something like this:
(me): “work totally sucked today, my feet hurt, i’m starving because I didn’t have time to get lunch. This kid keeps kicking my bladder, so I have to pee again for the 100th time today.”
(hubby): “oh boy, she looks angry, AGAIN. Should I say something or give her some space?”
(me): “doesn’t he see i’m running around like a crazy person. Why aren’t you asking to help or I don’t know, just do it. I’m not asking for much. Just DO SOMETHING. Make the damn coffee, wash a dish…ANYTHING. I don’t need this shit.”
(hubby): “ok, another pissy day. Let me just stay out of her way so I don’t get in the way and I’m the next head on the chopping block. If I offer to help, she is just going to say I’m in the way and not doing it right anyway.”
Keep in mind, all of this dialog was happening in our heads and not a single word of it ever came out of our mouths. So there in lies the problem… I expected him to see me running around and just KNOW he needed to help. And he was thinking, better stay out of this bitches way.
For some ungodly reason, it took me YEARS to figure this out. I am going to blame it on being so busy and just thinking “this is my life.” But like I mentioned in This Doesn’t Have to Be Your Life, YOU are the only person who can take care of YOU. Because let’s be brutally honest, nobody else gives a rats ass that you are doing everything. They are dealing with their own lives, they don’t have time to deal with yours too. Just like you aren’t dealing with theirs.
Think about it… If someone was always going around and cleaning the house and doing laundry for you; do you really think you would fight them for the broom. HELL NO! Who in there right mind would do that. Thank them and have a nice day.
So why why do we continue to do this to ourselves, maybe it is some f’ d up punishment thing. Who knows, but it is time to break the cycle. My examples did reference my husband but this applies to all situations. Tell the kids to make their lunches. Ask mom to watch the kids. Ask the neighbor to watch the dog. I don’t care what it is….. ASK FOR HELP!
This is still a work in progress for me because it was ingrained for so long but I am learning and so are the kids and hubby. Now that I ask more, they are queued into when I need them to ask to help. I am not going to say ‘training’ because that is quite demeaning but in essence they are learning the new queues. For example, mommy looks pissy today; let me just clean my room and get those dishes out BEFORE she yells at me.
So now for a challenge… I want every one of you to ask someone, anyone for help so you can get 5 minutes back of your life. Do it once within the next week…then do it twice the next week until it becomes a habit. Then see how you feel.