Are Moms Born Martyrs, Or Does Society Make Us That Way?

It was my turn to train this morning. My husband and I alternate days, so while he parented hard and got Carter ready for crèche, I hit a spinning class while it was still dark. I always keep my phone on me when training (because, mom) and at 6 am it beeped with a WhatsApp from my husband. (A bit of context to the story – last night I mentioned that Carters eye had flared up a bit at crèche and his teacher said if it got worse he shouldn’t come to school) So, 6am, me nowhere near the vicinity of my child, the following ensued:

Husband: “What are we doing about Carters eye”?

Me: “So-and so, so and so’s mom, has said she has eye meds (a mom on my WhatsApp group from crèche). She says she will bring to school for Carter

Husband: “So, do I take him to school?”

Me: “Your call, I don’t know how bad it is”

Him: “It’s fine now but it might build up”

Me: “Ok…”

Him: “So how do we get meds?”

Me: “Well, what I would do is to go ask his teacher if so and so’s mom dropped off the meds like she said she would. Otherwise, go to a pharmacy”

Him: “Ok, but if he doesn’t go to crèche then I won’t get the meds”

At this point, my spin had turned into a static as I frustratingly smashed out responses to what I considered to now be the world’s most frustrating conversation.

Me: “I’m leaving gym, I’ll be home in 20.”

And THAT my friends is where we turn into martyrs. Because after 15 minutes of a back and forth conversation that was going nowhere, I felt that unless I went home and sorted it out, it wouldn’t get done.

The thing is, in my husbands defence, he knew exactly what to do, because he’s a magnificent parent – in some ways better than me – but I think, like a lot of husbands, they rely heavily on us to take the guess work out of everything because we just make it so easy for them. Because of course last night I asked a mom group for advice before bed because this is what we do – we plan ahead. All the time.

There is always food in the house, handmade baby dinner is stockpiled in the freezer, toilet paper magically appears on the roll, spices and herbs don’t just finish and there’s always a tin of ‘how did that get there’ dog food just in case we run out of pellets.

I think as women, and moms (and yes, I am absolutely generalising) we take on everything for everyone and because we have been doing it for so long that it’s just become absolutely standard to let us run dry and bleed all over the floor, because we will still get it done.

If I think about the list of every-day items that are on my to-do list, I could vomit. Keeping the family alive aside, scope creep items such as presents and gifts for everything from Fathers Day to birthday presents for that colleague that no-one likes you but you feel sorry for. Dog vet visits, thank you notes, mentally prepping the hors d’ouvres  you’ve committed to making for a party that starts exactly 8 minutes after your work day has ended, restocking the fucking tomato paste. It all comes down to us. Even then, if someone rattled off a list as long as their arm to me I would still then offer to help, because this is what martyrs do.

So, manic bitching aside, what’s the answer? I think the only solution is to just actually trust in someone else to do it if they’ve said they will. But let’s be honest, that is a lot easier said than done, especially when the person (ie me) is an A type OCD control freak who likes things done properly, and done yesterday.

So, starting today soon I’m going to try my damndest to empower those around me to get their own shit done, and to learn to trust in the abilities of other people – because I know that they can do it – I just need to let them. This applies to all aspects of my life – personal and work. No more fixing everything for everyone, no more doing everything when I don’t have to. Except Googling ‘how to clear up a 1-year-olds gunky eye and prevent near-divorce in the processes.’

I feel like that should probably be top of my list.

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15 Things That Will Always Happen When You Work In An Open Plan Office.

1. An item of food in the communal fridge is immediately deemed as a free for all and must be laced with laxatives or brussel sprouts to avoid thievery.

Communal Office Food2. Colleague phone conversations are either too loud so you can’t hear yourself think, or too soft that you can’t eavesdrop on what they are saying

3. The aircon temperature can never be agreed on

4. Pens, unless chained to your desk, will grow tiny pen legs and walk. This rule applies to calculators, staplers and any other shiny item of stationery.

5. The rule of cooking: The colleague sitting closest to you will ultimately be the one re-heating fish and broccoli for lunch.

6. Your working hours become skinner fodder for everyone. “Leaving at 4:59 again hey Sue?”.

7. Booking a communal boardroom in advance only means said boardroom will never actually be available come the time you need it

8. The second a client arrives for a meeting the water cooler will be empty, the coffee finished and the receptionist will be on a tea break.

9. Whispered hallway conversations always make you feel as if you’re about to get fired.

10. Shit will always hit the fan at 4:45pm on a Friday afternoon.

11. Guaranteed – no matter how hard you have been working the entire day, the second you open Facebook your boss will walk past.

12. Nothing is private.

13. Dieting? Sorry for you. Birthdays mean cake, and lots of it.

14. You sit within ‘guess the deodorant brand’ range from everyone, if you’re lucky. If not, it’s more like ‘guess when last they wore deodorant”.

15. It is loud. ALL.THE.TIME.

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