Doing it All

There is this dream I have where I walk into my house after a day out at meetings (or shopping or the spa, if my subconscious is really feeling ambitious) and I'm greeted with the smells of a home cooked dinner waiting for me on the table.  It’s a balanced meal with meat and a side and veggies. Not just some slapped together cheeseburger on a paper towel with a handful of potato chips. And I didn’t have to buy the fixings for this dinner. Or prep it. Or even lift a finger to clean it all up. And in my dream, this isn’t Mother’s Day. It’s just an ordinary Tuesday.

I’ve heard there are homes where this stuff actually happens, like all the time. It’s not just some silly pipe dream. Apparently, there are spouses who cook more than pancakes, do the laundry without leaving it wrinkled in the basket, even revel in the pleasures of wiping down a counter.

No doubt, these are the same homes where kids clean up their own toys simply because ‘I took them out so it’s my job to put them back.’ These families probably have a pet unicorn, love to go yeti-hunting, and live in the lost city of Atlantis.

Not long ago, I had one of those mornings where I wanted to pull the covers back over my head seconds after waking. I just didn’t have the energy to put my feet on the ground and get on the merry-go-round of “clean this up, put that away, defrost this, cook that, ‘Can I have this?.’ ‘Can I do that?,’ serve, wash, wipe, and repeat.” Sometimes, the burden of being a mom-who-does-it all makes me feel like I’m being dragged through the rinse cycle.

When I finally mustered up the strength to brave that day, the above cartoon was waiting in my inbox, telepathically sent by my own mom-who-does-it-all. 

"SOMEBODY PAMPER ME! Oh yeah, I forgot. I'm a strong, independent woman... Shit."

It summed up my mood perfectly. And it made me feel a little bit better, this reminder that I wasn’t the only one who longed to be the caretakee once in a while instead of the caregiver. As the Chief Butt and Crumb Wiper for me and my brothers, Mom could clearly relate to my angst.

But then it occurred to me that this mood was all her fault. She raised me to be an independent woman and hammered home that anything worth doing is worth doing well. But the thing I've learned  about being a doer is, other people are happy to let you keep doing, even when you are totally done

Much better to be like my father, ambling through life oblivious to basic skills like operating the washing machine or boiling water. As kids, we just thought Dad was a little dumb and clumsy, like a bumbling Inspector Clouseau. But now I realize the genius of his ways. If you act clueless about certain tasks, people won’t want you to do them. Brilliant!

Ladies, it’s time to stop being so capable! Enough with doing it all! We need to slow down more and lower our standards, so those around us can step up and step in.

Armed with this revelation, I decided to host a well-needed girls night with some of my soccer friends, and the festivities went on until two in the morning. Like me, all the other moms were thrilled to escape the routine of their households and in no rush to go home and resume their caretaking roles.

Needless to say, the next morning I was dead dog tired. So I did something I never do. I stayed right there in bed, wallowing in my own lack of doing. The kids were perfectly capable of making their breakfasts and getting themselves ready for camp. I didn’t have to lift a finger! It wasn’t exactly a spa day, and nobody brought me breakfast in bed, but they did fetch my phone and computer for me when I yelled for them, and aside from that, they left me alone. Which may not be the level of pampering I’ve been dreaming of, but like I said, we need to lower our standards.

Sometimes, good enough is good enough. In fact, it felt pretty great.

Spoil yourself by pre-ordering my novel!  It's as delicious as coming home to a hot meal cooked by somebody else.

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