I had family over to my house recently. It was an unexpected drop-by visit, so I was in a social hostage situation, if we’re being precise.
I’d made big plans to do a boatload of nothing with my babe—a makeshift “girl’s day” because my husband was out fishing. I’m an indoors enthusiast, and I pointed out that our 7-month-old didn’t really need to be out in the weather. It wasn’t even cold out, but boy, that makes a fantastic excuse to stay in when I’m not feelin’ it!
At any rate, those plans to do nothing were quickly shat upon when the family dropped by. They pulled into my driveway, and I immediately panicked: the house was a disaster area. If you’ve ever had two parents with a full schedule and an infant who fills diapers and laundry baskets, you know the house is one of the first things to suffer (among sexy time, showering, and other such luxuries).
I hurried to the kitchen sink, balancing the baby on a hip as I whipped out some wipes to rub all over everything. While praying to God I took too long to answer the door, and they’d just leave. But, as it turns out, that virtuous patience gene didn’t skip my entire family: just me.
They came in, played with the baby, and stayed for a super casual two hours. Two hours of my sacred Saturday that consisted of my uncle asking why we don’t have cable twice, my cousins angsting over their phones, and my aunt glancing around and taking mental notes of the squalor we were living in. As they got up to leave and I excitedly walked them (or pushed them) towards the door, my aunt turned on one heel and said, “Look, I know you’re busy and all, but I think you’re getting a bit . . . lazy.”
It took every ounce of willpower within my soul to refrain from blurting out some equally harsh verbiage. So instead, I wished them well and closed the door behind them. I closed my eyes and gulped back the hot tears I could feel forming in my throat: lazy.
She said “lazy” to me as though it was a helpful or constructive thing rather than a truly hateful and negative ugly thing. She said she knew I was busy, but did she really?
Do you think she knew my job had me pulled in all directions from 8:00 am-5:00 pm every weekday? Did she know I came home feeling spent but had to conjure up some energy for the precious few moments I would get to play with/bathe/feed, and rock my girl? Did she know that my husband would want me for a few moments? That I’d need to make something for dinner. Or that I would have deadlines for school and writing too? Did she know sleeping is more like worrying with my eyes shut for me, as anxiety never lets me feel fully rested?
Lazy. It echoed the sentiments of a recent job performance I’d had—unintentionally implying my head wasn’t entirely in the game. To be fair? It really wasn’t. But I left the meeting feeling down on myself and my abilities and feeling like the laziest employee on the planet.
But here’s the thing:
I’m not lazy. I am just freaking exhausted.
This isn’t a plea for a lightened load or compliments. Instead, it’s a call to action for moms everywhere: we cannot adequately be everything for everyone every single day.
Something must give, and we have to determine what area that sacrifice might come from. The sacrifices made might be spread out across the board. However, giving 100 percent to everything in our lives is a dangerous path to embark upon. It is an unsustainable system for a human being.
As we’ve established already, moms are superhumans, but even superheroes get worn down if they’re not careful. Sure, we have great partners, but don’t we deserve to rest? Have hobbies that allow us a few spare moments out of the house and in our own element? Don’t we deserve to actually be mindfully present in these moments with our families instead of letting ourselves stress and exhaust things to death?
Too many questions, I know. But if there is one thing I want to reiterate, moms are the group of people who are the farthest from lazy. They’re simply spread too thin. I’ve never been an organized person in the ways I’d like to be. However, my disorganized chaos represents a system that works for me.
Despite the jokes of a dirty home, it’s merely untidy—I sanitize plenty of things with a dog and a baby around. My standards are far different from those of others, and I’m still easing myself into the notion that this is okay. It’s okay not to have an “aesthetic.” Putting my child, marriage, and career above having the cleanest house is okay. Above all else, it’s okay to lock the door and pretend you’re not home when you’d rather say, “bye, Aunt Felicia.”