When You Need A Break — a mother’s grievance.
Why is it when a mom needs a break (mentally or physically) the answer is always taking the children away? A friend and I have been lamenting to each other about this topic. We need help around the house, or just need someone to take care of us when we’re sick and the solution to this problem is: we’ll take the baby so you can have a break.
I don’t understand this concept. Taking the baby away solves one part of the equation, it doesn’t solve the rest. Why is it when we become mothers, we suddenly become our own caretaker? I’d even like to take it back to when we meet our partners. When we take on the role of being a caretaker to someone else we lose the privilege on having a personal caretaker or, one would say, we become our own caretaker.
Recently, the movie Encanto came out and became the instant favorite to all parents. Mom’s started to post memes on how relatable some of the characters are — especially Luisa and her song “Surface Pressure”. I cry every time I listen to this song.
I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous
I’m as tough as the crust of the earth is
I move mountains, I move churches
And I glow ’cause I know what my worth is
I don’t ask how hard the work is
Got a rough indestructible surface
Diamonds and platinum, I find ’em, I flatten ‘em
I take what I’m handed, I break what’s demanding
I get that for the longest time, women have been the primary caretakers. I understand that for generations we’ve always done what was expected of us to do without complaints or showing any sign of frustration. I feel that it’s starting to stop at my generation. The more we’re able to connect with others on social media, the more we see that this kind of life is NOT ideal for us.
This isn’t just for stay-at-home-moms or single moms, it’s for all the moms. The moms who have to take on the mental load of being an employee (if they’re working), a house manager, a secretary, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and sometimes a teacher.
A mom who has to figure out what is for dinner while trying to get their screaming toddler to take a nap. A mom who deals with an angry boss during the day and comes home to a frustrated partner because the house wasn’t cleaned up and a meal wasn’t planned out. A mom who’s been without a shower for three days in a row and struggles to find time to get ready for an outing with friends because they finally reached out after a long three weeks of silence. A mom with grown kids who’ve moved on to their own lives, but would like someone to check in.
When we ask for help, all we are met with is: “You’re a mom, this is what mom life is.” or “Oh, you’re just tired, here we’ll take the baby while you shower/nap/clean up.”
That feeling of helplessness can overwhelm a person. You want to ask for help but when you’re met with constant pressure to be a good mother/parent and not complain, it’s hard. It’s sad that in the past, asking for help was usually seen as a sign of failure. That when you finally have your breakdown, you’re met with a wall of shame. Thoughts like: You can’t even take care of yourself, how can you take care of your child? will sprinkle into your head and make you feel worse. So, why ask for help?
We ask for help because we cannot allow others to expect us to take on so many responsibilities. There’s a reason why the old saying “It takes a village, to raise a child.” comes to mind whenever we are seeking help. We ask for help because it is not healthy to allow that pressure to build inside until we blow up. I know times are changing and it’s becoming more accepted in society and that’s great. But while our generation is evolving we still have a lot of work.
- Teach your kids that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.
- Teach your kids to offer help when they see someone struggling.
- Talk to your partner about taking on the caretaker role every now and then.
- And when a mom reaches out and asks for help, for the love of all things good, ask how you can help.
Watch as she buckles and bends but never breaks
It’s hard being a parent, but I don’t want to stop being a mom. I don’t want my child to be whisked away just so I can have a break. I want help with the house manager duties or with taking care of my personal issues. I want someone to help me.
I just want to hear the words, “Let me take care of you.”
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