“No woman has ever had to do as much on her own as the modern mother. We don’t have the same family structure or the same neighborhood structure anymore. It’s really hard and every woman needs to cut herself a break.” – Sarah Ockwell-Smith
I liked this quote on Instagram yesterday, along with more than a thousand other people. Perhaps you can relate to it too?
The funny thing is yesterday was actually a harder day than usual. It ended with my realizing I forgot my keys and was locked out of our home with my 10-month-old daughter for more than an hour. In this case, the old neighbor structure still stood, thank G-d, as neighbors of mine graciously took us in while we waited for my husband to get home.
I have a way of self-sabotaging around times of transition. Transitions, changes make me anxious.
And so, yesterday when my husband was going to be coming home at 7:15 pm for the first time since we gave birth to our daughter, I was freakin’ out.
The saying goes that behind every great man is a greater woman. I have found this to be true, but flipped. I have a number of recent achievements: self-publishing two memoirs, birthing a child, getting up in the wee hours of the night and being present all day to raise and nurture said child, working 40 hours a week in addition to mommying (I feel so blessed to work in the preschool which she attends.) All things which I could not have done with as much gusto if it were not for the support of my husband.
For a while, I even took on an extra hour of work—going in at 7:30 instead of 8:30 in the morning—and my husband was always getting our daughter dressed and ready to help me get out of the house on time.
It’s the physical acts: his being a hands-on dad, his doing the dishes at night after I go to bed, keeping up with the laundry, cooking half the meals . But it’s more than that—it’s his endless believing in me and coaching me throughout my trials and tribulations and frustrations.
And so yesterday when he was set to get home from his job at 7:15, I was freakin’ out. He used to watch the baby from around 6-6:20 so I could snack, drink water, and simply zone out. Now he is getting home after 7 which means this down time will be GONE.
Gone. Gone. Gone.
The drama with which I say it may SEEM disproportionate, but my mind perceives it this way, thus the subconscious self-sabotage of not double-checking to make sure I had my keys yesterday morning.
And I know there are tons of people out there who have it worse—longer hours, no spouse, a spouse with longer hours, etc—but if I belittle my experience because of those who have it more intensely, well then, my psyche won’t be very healthy. I send thoughts of strength to EVERYONE—including MYSELF.