One time, I clicked on one of these “tips to find more time in your day” style articles written for “busy mums”. One of the suggestions was to consider spending less time on the toilet. It was seriously like: “consider spending less time in the bathroom; you could gain back up to 10 minutes in your day”. It was not satire. It was bleak.
When you combine the traditional expectations that the wife and mother of a hetero family “run the household” with the modern expectations of intensive parenting and your own ambition to pursue a career, you get an impossible, soul-crushing amount of work. It is an exhausting and resentment-inducing mountain of physical and mental labour.
Suggestions to spend less time on the toilet or wake up earlier aren’t going to cut it. The only way not to drown is to reduce the number of things you have to do and care about. You have to answer the tough questions:
- Does it need to be done?
- If it has to be done, do you have to be the one who does it?
- Who can do it instead?
- How do you communicate your needs to the person/people who can do it?
That last one is the most difficult of all. Until you are honest and tell someone what you need, you can live in the fantasy that they would help you if they actually knew what you were thinking. If you lay it out on the table, if you are truly vulnerable and say “this is what I need” to someone, and they refuse to do it, the fantasy is broken. You have to face the reality of your relationship, and the prospect of doing that is often too intimidating.