When people casually ask me: “How are you?” I take it (as convention demands) to be a friendly greeting, a question not intended to be answered. In cases where people really want to know how I am, I am generally at a loss. I seldom really know how I am.
Often, I find myself in a situation where I just function and work hard at what is needed to get the job done. It is the exception rather than the rule when I have time to reflect on my emotions and be intentional in my choices.
Even so, all what I do and how I do it wears on me and so when I stop to reflect on how I am my brain goes: “%$#@ ah ah well…good, I guess.” Then my rational mind catches up with me and I think (rather than say out loud): “Depending on your reference point, I am doing really well. I am doing exceptionally well compared to the people in South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, or North Korea.”
But still, often I feel life is hard. Being a grown-up is hard. But why is that?
Life is hard because we want things. With every want comes stuff we need to manage. Every goal in our lives, be it an educational degree, holding down a job – or more demanding yet, having a career, maintaining a place to live, being a parent, … every goal comes with responsibilities, management problems, and lots and lots of stuff. This makes our lives complex and hard. The more complex our lives the harder it gets.
On the other hand, a not so complex life can still be very hard when our needs are not met. When we starve or when we are sick, life is hard and stressful.
I should count myself lucky that all my basic needs are met. Being a mom, having a career, and attending school makes for a complex life and a hard life at time and yes, it wears me down sometime. I also love my difficult complex life. I had the chance to choose a less complex life and passed it up. Somehow I like things to be hard, mainly because I like to push myself and find out new things. I am just too curious and want to know more and more and more…
But the things that really wear me down and make my life miserable at times are things like these:
You cannot simply take a child for a car ride unless it is properly fastened by a proper car seat, that needs proper mounting and God forbid you got it second hand.
A young child will not brush her or his teeth just because you show them once or twice and give them a funny looking brush.
Sandwich bags needed for school lunches will run out 3 days before the school year ends.
Children will not stop asking for stuff.
A great meal you have prepared with love and lots of time is consumed in 20 minutes and you have start over again next time around
Young children will not go to bed just because they are tired. They will not stay in bed all night but come to you at 3 AM and don’t want to get up in the morning.
The air conditioner will break down in the middle of a hot summer day.
Teenagers will not calm down just because you model the behavior until your face is red.
The things that would truly make life easier are:
A transporter that can rockets my child out of bed, gets her fed, dressed, brushed, and fastened to the car seat together with all the bags she needs.
A magic want that will get my child changed into her ballet outfit in 5 seconds so I don’t have to chase after her five times before she finally lets me pull those pink tights up her tiny legs untwisting them twice, just to realize they are the wrong way and I am sweated through.
A machine that will give fair warning about anything that will break down in the next month and arranges pickup, repair, and drop off.
A perfect partner that shares the work half-half at home.
Here is a thought. Yes, this is really what we all need. A partner that not only helps out here and then but is committed to taking on half of all the nonsense life throws at us all.
My hypothesis is that many women in heterosexual relationships (who are moms) still don’t have that.
Some of us without such a partner are lucky to be financially able to pay for help or have other helpers such as grandparents, friends, coworkers, or even a support group.
It is really these little things that “only moms can do” or things that don’t count as big enough errands worth making fuzz over, such as buying the birthday and Christmas presents, shopping with children (this is why Amazon is so successful), snuggle with mommy when sick or scared of a monster, etc. that become baggage or the extra drain of energy that can pull you over to the dark side, as enjoyable as snuggling up with your little one may be.
And this is why women are still second in the workforce, and second in the political arena where decisions are made. We made large strides holding down advanced degrees and being professionals as well as moms. But we are still far from real equality. Will we ever get there? I don’t know. What do you think?
One does not decide to be a parent, one becomes a parent over time taking care of a child (biological or not). I was tortured into parenthood by my first-born. She would not know how to latch on to be nursed for almost two weeks and she would not sleep unless carried or strolled around for the first six months of her life. When she finally did sleep some, she would wake up at 4 AM demanding breakfast and play fun.
She made me question my entire existence. She made me feel every possible feeling a human can — from nervous breakdown to sheer bliss. She made me lay bare my very soul, forget everything I had ever known to be true and start from scratch.
Now I am conditioned. I am a parent who knows her priorities. When my children grow up and demand from me to back off, to let go, I will simply say: “Well too bad, you will just have to live with your creation cause I am not going anywhere. I will not stop loving and caring for you till the day I die!”