I Want A Gold Star
Sometimes as a parent and I think especially for moms, you can begin to feel that all the things that you do for your family go unseen and underappreciated. You are constantly trying to balance and anticipate everyone else's needs and meanwhile no one, including yourself, is giving any thought to your needs. It is often called “invisible work” or the “motherlode.” Although it is to be expected to a certain extent, that doesn’t make it any less bothersome when it all gets to be too much. And doesn’t everyone deserve a little acknowledgement now and then even for the mundane everyday tasks that are taken for granted.
I know that when I chose to become a mother I unwittingly agreed to take on all the responsibilities that come along with that role and usually I can carry on day-to-day happy to do my part. But sometimes, I start to feel invisible and every once in a while, I feel like hanging up a chart lined with gold stars acknowledging all the things that I do for my family.
I want kudos for knowing where everybody’s stuff is in the house even though I manage to forget just about every appoint I make for myself. I am constantly taking an ongoing rolodex of things scattered everywhere as I move about my day…the homework folder and stack of bills in the kitchen alcove, my 6-year old’s gymnastics uniform balled up in the right back corner of his closet, my oldest’s back pack tossed under the far left side of the couch and my 3-year old's Elsa dress in the washing machine because I forgot to put it in the dryer. Ask me where pretty much anything is and I can tell you. Just don’t ask me where I put my keys or cell phone.
I want a gold star for all the laundry I wash, load after load, week after week. It may never make into the draws folded but I always know the location of any article of clothing needed. I also know precisely how many days I can go without washing clothes before my children run out of underwear. I may have had to wash quite a few loads 2-3 times but in the end, everyone has clean clothes day in and day out.
Can I get a thumbs up for puzzling together school and extracurricular activity schedules. Have you ever tried to coordinate 4 kids’ schedules and still try to manage your own life? It’s near impossible. So, I wouldn’t mind a Woohoo for getting everyone where they need to go on time even though my toddler thinks it’s an excellent time to throw a tantrum and my older two manage to move slower than actual sloths. And maybe, just once, it would be nice to have a cheering section in the back of my car as I strategically taxi from one afterschool activity to the next.
I also want recognition for maintaining ongoing lists of groceries, household items and toiletries that everyone needs. I’d like a thanks for remembering who doesn’t like peach yogurt, what kind of honey my husband prefers, who likes pretzels and what everyone’s favorite meal is. And can I get pat on the back for being able to cook dinner, manage tantrums and check homework all while holding a 20-lb. baby. It would also be nice to get a round of applause and maybe even a couple ohs and ahs when I put a home cooked meal on the table at the end of a long day. Ok. Maybe that’s asking too much.
I just want some unsolicited kisses for constantly sharing my food, my space and my time. Give me a look of amazement for maintaining 3 different ridiculous conversations at once about princess makeup, ninja moves and magic tricks even though I can’t remember why I opened the pantry. And when I make it through the 20th tantrum of the day without losing my shit I would like a high five somebody that witnessed it and when I do lose it just a nod of understanding would be great.
I want a thank you for remembering all the birthday parties, play dates, school fundraisers and basketball award ceremonies. I would like fist bump for knowing when to sign up for summer camp, planning spring break and remembering that all the kids are due for their checkups and dental appoints. And a “You Rock” for keeping up with school projects, homework due dates, field trip forms and teacher meetings. I want a pat on the back for strategically planning Christmas gifts, Easter baskets and birthday celebrations for multiple kids and sometimes staying up all night to make the magic happen.
I am not complaining. This is the life I chose and it’s a job I love. I just want a little recognition and to know that my efforts are seen amid all the chaos. I know some naysayers will read this and say,” Well, maybe you should teach your children to be more appreciative!” Yeah well, we are working on that but they are all still under the age of 12 and its quite developmentally appropriate for them to be a little self-centered and mostly unaware of the things that are done for them. And I am sure some of you are saying, “You should get your husband to help out more.” He does and he deserves a cheering section too but I happen to be the one gifted with a talent for mundane things like organizing schedules, making list and multitasking while holding children. So yes, you can call it childish if you want, but I want a gold star for all the things I do for my family and I am positive I am not alone in this sentiment.