Here’s the thing about this post: my wife will probably never read it. Now, before you judge her too quickly, it’s not because she’s not supportive or thinks that I’m a terrible bore of a writer (at least, I’m assuming she doesn’t think that).
Rather, it’s because she’s busy. Very very busy. Busy in a way that only a working mom can understand. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you may be a little bit surprised by that: “He makes it seem like he’s such an awesome dad and partner…so how can his wife still be so busy?”
Well, the answer is simple: we’re both busy because there is a LOT to do. But I’ve already written about the stresses on dads in my piece ‘Dispelling some of the myths about fatherhood’ – this piece is about my wife. So, let’s get down to her reality:
Her work is really important – not just as an essential source of income for our family, but also for all the moms her organisation supports. As the Project Leader for Embrace (an organisation that focuses on moms’ well-being), she carries the weight of knowing her role is critical to creating growing communities of support for moms across the country. That, by itself, is a lot.
Then she has her home life, with two young boys and a very needy husband (I am who I am, okay). While we share the load of running the home, she often can’t help but keep all the stresses, worries and plans in her head – it’s part of who she is and how she was raised. Anyone who has run a home knows that it’s a LOT too.
Somehow, with all of this going on, she has to find time for self-care, friends, extended families, exercise AND still keep up with modern culture. Again, I try my best to help her (especially with that last one), but I’ve got my own stuff to deal with too, which she also supports and helps with.
It’s all so so so much.
As a child of a hard-working mom, I know how hard it is to balance and find time for all of this, so the fact that she can do it with such grace and tenacity is always impressive to me.
Her hard work doesn’t just keep our finances and admin afloat; she’s defining what a mom and a woman look like to our boys. Do moms work? Yup, sometimes. Do they manage the home? Yup, sometimes. Do they take on emotional labour? Definitely. I think my sons will have a broad idea of who is supposed to do what in life, thanks to the hard work their mom puts into all the aspects of our lives.
“I think my sons will have a broad idea of who is supposed to do what in life, thanks to the hard work their mom puts into all the aspects of our lives.”
I have met many working moms over the past few years, and pretty much all of them have the same feelings of guilt and of never doing enough wherever they are. If you’re hard at work, then you’re missing out on something your kids are doing at school. Supporting your kids at school, then you’re not being the best employee or worker you could be. It seems to me that these moms are very much in a no-win situation – or at least, they feel like they are.
If you are a mom like that, let me tell you something: we see you. We see your long days, and your hair tied into a convenient bun. We see you racing to pick up your children as early as your work allows, and the work you do in the evenings to keep up. We see you stressing to remember everyone’s calendar, and how you keep the emotional energy in the home as high as possible. We see you feeling guilty when your child forgets his school project at home (even though it’s not your responsibility) and we see you wondering if your child is happy at aftercare. We see you working your butt off to give your children as much as you can to help them succeed in life. We see you.
And to my wife, whose birthday is this month, I see you do all of these things, and more, and I can’t tell you how much the boys and I appreciate it all.
And considering what I said at the very beginning…I’m impressed you’ve even had time to read this. We’ll add that to the list too.
AfroDaddy, a.k.a. Terence Mentor, is a place for parents, especially dads, to come together and share in the “duality of parenting” – the fact that being a parent can be fantastic, wonderful and beautiful, while simultaneously being exhausting, frustrating and awful. A husband and father to two boys born 18 months apart, AfroDaddy shares his unique view and experiences, while opening himself to new experiences, learnings and people. You can find him at AfroDaddy.