Just last night, a breakdown happened. It was something that has not happened in a long time for me. It’s not that I have developed a knack for keeping my mess together but being able to set them aside temporarily. I am the typical mother of the millennia- juggling work, motherhood, wife duties and all the sideshows trying to be sane whilst fulfilling all these.
As my two children ages 7 and 4 entered Gradeschool and Nursery, respectively, never have I ever felt the highest demand of all time since I became a mother. Taking care of the enrolment to school supplies, uniforms, and every day fetching, I literally felt my body numb only after a week. Over the weekend, I have never had me wanting to cover my self under the sheets for 12 hours or more. When I was single, I usually oversleep because of a hangover from the other night’s partying. None has prepared me for this demand.
Last week, I watched and listened to Sheryl Sandberg talks on TED about women leaders, why there are only a few of them. It has been very noticeable and even today in my own country and industry, the proportion of women leaders versus men has a substantial gap, with more men able to come on top versus women counterpart. But why is that? Women are expected to do everything, alongside career, family and everything else. I keep the list of to-dos of almost about everything and what really had me lose my mind yesterday was I had to deal with covering the school books while my husband was doing a re-run of the Gilmore Girls. These issues are important to talk about because I don’t mind my husband watching Conan or Designated Survivor or playing video games to ease his mind from hard day’s work especially that he also tries to juggle a full-time and a part-time job. He has to know though that it isn’t okay for me that while my partner sits and watches TV everything is handed over to me because my energy level is only so much.
My husband and I had this conversation last night and about how much I am asking that he be my true partner in everything. He can’t just assume I would be able to carry everything because I am the wife and the mother. The laundry, the cooking, taking care of the children’s needs, cleaning and the mundane stuff we often forget also takes so much of our energy piece by piece. In this side of the world, people get babysitters or house help but we live in a house with trust issues and I don’t mean that with negativity but of the reality that it isn’t easy finding and keeping a good house help today. These daily doses of parenting to-dos and lists that have to accomplished needed to be done together. Women do not have magical powers but we are expected to have one which is why the demand always levels up because we try to keep up. Women priorities always have family on top, career second but men always associate career and family as together and neither are separate. The association that when men surge careers up-the family also goes up alongside with it because it’s their job to provide. Family care today has shifted especially when the number of mothers providing financially has significantly increased over the years but the work women do inside the house has never changed. The expectations what women can do outside may have transformed but inside the house, they are still expected to be the one to hustle first and hustle most.
A housewife or a career woman or career mothers needed to have this dialogue with their partners because unless we have real partners do we really achieve our life’s purpose and fulfill what really is the legacy we ought to leave. Life is so much more and we can achieve more.