On a recent weekend, I sat down for a minute on the couch and started browsing social media. That’s when you looked over from watching TV (which you had been doing for at least an hour) and said, “Mom! You are so LAZY! It’s almost dinner time! What are you going to cook for dinner?”
You may have noticed the look I gave you was a mixture of shock and awe, followed by a lot of anger.
This was during a week when I started work no later than 6am most days. Then, after getting done with work around 5pm, I’d go and immediately start making dinner. After dinner, I’d go read to you and your brother and then tuck you into bed before collapsing myself. It was a week that exhausted me to the bone. And on my Saturday, before you had the nerve to say that comment, I had not only done some work for my day job, but I also managed to do 5 loads of laundry, shuttle kids to and from different playdates with friends, and carve out a bit of “me time,” which involved 2 hours of kicking my own rear end at the gym.
It struck me that you called me lazy.
I really felt like in your mind, the emotional labor of being a mother just didn’t register.
I felt like you would NEVER call your father lazy, even though most days he doesn’t even wake up until I have clocked in several hours of work and he doesn’t come home from work until dinner is on the table, so he just has to pull up a chair and pour a glass of wine. He likes to ride his bike to work, so he also doesn’t shuttle kids to any activities.
Yet I’m the lazy one.
You may have thought I overreacted. You may have thought the multiple “conversations” we had later that day about me being “lazy” was me overreacting, but I want to drive it into your head that most days I work myself past the point of exhaustion trying to hold down a full-time job and be a mother to two growing humans. My brain never gets to shut off, and when I sat on the couch to dare to look at social media, I was actually reading posts from the parent Facebook group for your school.
I hope that by the time you become a mother, that you’ll be able to split more of this emotional labor with your partner. But the truth is that so many women in my generation are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to parenthood. It’s me that volunteers at school, does the back to school shopping, talks to the teachers, arranges after-school activities, arranges your activities for the entire summer, takes you to the doctor, drives carpools and cooks all the damn meals. My God, there are so many meals to fix for a family. It’s a job that has to be done multiple times a day.
So when you later said, “No offense, Mom, but your dinners this summer have been a bit lacking,” I may have come a bit unglued. Now that you’re 12, it’s time for you to step up and help more not only around the house, but with the endless cycle of meals. Don’t worry, your brother will be helping just as much. He doesn’t do as much now just because he’s younger, but I’m going to do my best for his future wife to ensure that gender stereotyping of household roles won’t persist.
I love you, dear daughter. But I swear if you EVER call me LAZY again, you will inherit more chores than you know what to do with. I want you to realize that I put all of my efforts into being a good mother, but sometimes I DESERVE DAMN BREAK and I will take that break without any judgment from you.
And no, you can’t shame me for cursing in this letter, either.