From One Martyr, To Another

Happy International Women’s Day for yesterday.

Did you get spoilt, woman? Gosh, I did. I woke up at 5:30, went for a run (with a male friend, because one can’t simply run alone these days), fought my way through traffic, paper work, emails, rude people and unappreciative humans. Fought my way back home after an incredibly stressful day. Fetched my child, went grocery, fed my child, bathed him, made dinner, put him to bed, did some work and then designed an invite for his first birthday party. Then I climbed into bed to sleep, but instead was kept awake by feelings of guilt, exhaustion and long lists of to-do items that are nowhere close to being checked off.

I’m so tired. And not in a jokey ‘a glass of wine and 5-day nap can cure anything’ way. I’m tired to my bones. My face aches from the constant tension in my jaw, I’m tired of constantly fighting my way through life, deadlines, traffic, to-do lists. I’m tired of the feeling of ‘what exactly did I achieve?’ that I feel at the end of every single day. I’m tired of feeling like I take it all on, and that I alone am responsible for the world.

I know I’m not alone, ladies everywhere are feeling the immense and massive pressure of being this ‘does it all, has it all’ woman. I hate to say it, but we have become our own worst enemies. We are all martyrs, and it has to end.

Recently, I read something in a novel that resonated with me, deep in my core:

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“But if a man and a woman work equally hard at things outside the home, who will ensure the children get to the dentist, eat the right foods, have vitamins, get dewormed and learn to share and be kind to others? At the same time, that person needs to ensure that there is toilet paper, shampoo, colouring pencils and three types of cereal….So, by this unquestionable logic, if men do 50% and women do 50%, and men (try as they may) are unable to take over more than 20% of the mothering, that’s another 80% heaped on you. Which is why us women are often not coping, and we need to find a way to fix it” – Jami Yeats-Kastner (Sam, Me and The Hard Pear Tree)

My wish for you all, this Women’s Day (snort) is that you give yourself the respect to just let irrelevant shit go, to rely on a partner or colleague to do their bit, and to be kind to yourself.

My wish for myself it to not take it all on, all the time. It’s to delegate chores and try not have an internal meltdown when I get let down, again. It’s to give myself a pat on the back and remind myself that I’m fucking great. I’m a great mom, I do great work, I have brains in my head and I don’t need anyone to validate me or my actions.

So, short of burning my bra (because it’s expensive, and I rely heavily on it to keep my mom boobs above waist level) I’m going to take a bit of a stand against modern society and tell you all that it’s OK to not always be everything to everyone. Be good to yourself, and go from there.

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A Little Patience, Please.

I just left a shopping mall in tears. No, not because I’d just spent my life savings on formula and nappies (although that had something to do with it) but because of a very impatient man who – after quite a trying morning – hit the final nail in my Blue-Monday coffin.

I arrived back at my car after a morning of shopping. Baby was sleeping, his diaper bag and my handbag were draped over his pram and I was clutching several large bags of items. As I unlocked my car a man in a large SUV pulled up behind me and indicated he was waiting for my parking bay. I’m sure other moms can relate, but there is something stressful about packing a car after a shopping trip. It’s a real life game of tetris – each action requires precision movement and skill. My car, for instance, is quite small, which means I have to stack it in a certain way if I have any hopes of getting home with all 4 doors shut.

So there I was, trying to hold down the pram with one leg as I lifted bags and packets and piled them in the back seta. When it came to clipping in Carter I realized that the person next to me had parked about 1 cm away from my passenger door. The side that the baby chair goes in. (Do you know what’s ironic? After I had parked in the bay that morning I realized I was a tad too close to the line, and decided to do the right thing and move my car so it would be fair to whoever parked next to me).

I felt a prickly sweat under my arms as I realized I would now have to climb into the opposite side of my car with the baby in his chair in order to clip him in. This also meant leaving my pram, cellphone and car keys outside wile I did so. Feeling bad as I had already taken what felt like 8 hours to lave the parking bay I looked back at the waiting car and mouthed a big ‘I’m so sorry!’ with what I hope felt looked like ‘gosh, aren’t I a silly woman’ face. His response? To throw his hands up in irritation and edge his car even closer to mine. Because yes, that’s going to help matters.

Finally, baby clipped in, bags in boot and pram folded away I was ready to go. Unfortunately the man was now blocking my reverse exit so I had to attempt a 9 point turn in order to get out of the way.

Prickly sweat now a river I left the mall and burst in to tears.

I have no idea why today of all days the rudeness and intolerance of one person hit me so hard. Perhaps its because I had spent the better part of an hour trying to get 4 km up the road to take my child for his vaccinations. Or perhaps it’s because my car was nearly hit twice with people driving illegally up the emergency lane, you know, because they are the only people on our roads with somewhere to be. Perhaps it’s because several people watched me drop a 6 pack of milk on the floor and looked away as I scrambled to retrieve them all, while apologizing to everyone I happened to be inconveniencing as I crawled under shelves to retrieve them. Perhaps it’s because I’m so tired of trying to be that one good person who always abides by the rules, arrives on time and tries to do the right thing.

Perhaps it’s time we all just started treating other people a little better, started being a little kinder and started realising that people are humans too.

Let’s all just have a little patience. Please.

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