It’s been so long since I posted, I wonder if I need to reintroduce myself. Instead, here is a link to post one: https://just-one-mom.com/2020/07/16/our-new-normal/.
I turned 33 back at the end of September, and it was indeed the first birthday to bother me. I don’t care about getting older. My hair has been showing its silver side for the past year or so. Admittedly I’ve been dying it purple, but that was just for fun and because I can.
I think what has gotten to me is I am finally at that age where, according to society, I don’t exist. I have many roles I play, and there are numerous tasks I take in hand, particularly now as my first grader is doing Distance Learning, and there is little to no acknowledgment for how much work it is.
I think I must be a victim of a generation. As much as I think it’s stupid to have participation trophies and such, they were still a thing as I was going to school, so perhaps I got too used to being told I did a good job.
I also think, generally speaking, stay-at-home parents need to hear it more than most. I remember reading somewhere (please don’t quote this) that managing a household on average is a 60-hour workweek. It’s more work than the average job, but you don’t get paid for it. There are no benefits, no sick days, or vacation. It is a job you never get to leave, and you are always working.
I don’t need a paycheck. It’s hard but can be fulfilling. What I want is the occasional “Thank you.”
“Thank you for ALWAYS managing dinner.”
“Thank you for washing my clothes.”
“Thank you for not murdering me in my sleep after my friends, and I made a mess in the home you spent all day cleaning.”
I don’t mind doing the work. I’m home, and it’s convenient, plus I like to keep busy. It’s just a lack of appreciation. Most people want to know the work they do is appreciated, even if it’s the housework. However, I live with little kids.
Little kids don’t know to say thank you for all the little things. I have taught them manners. I get a please and thank you when they ask for something, but rarely, if ever, a thank you for finding their favorite toys, mending the favorite clothes, or picking up fun special craft activities for them to do.
Sometimes the words “thank you” don’t even need to be used. Sometimes it’s little things, and my husband is a pro at this, like the working adult taking on tasks so the at-home parent can sit down for a bit. It is amazing what someone else doing the dishes can do to help the at-home parent feel appreciated, especially when the working parent has a physically taxing job.
I do what I can, so my husband, who has a very physical job, can rest at home. It’s how I show appreciation for the hard work he does and for the fact he is currently keeping us afloat. I have even started baking everything from bread to dessert and prepping pasta dough to save money. I get my six-year-old through remote learning. I do all of this on top of everyday tasks like laundry and picking up. It means the world to me when my husband gets off the couch and does the dishes or stays on the couch and folds the laundry.
I probably got away from my point a bit but overall, being middle-aged sucks. No one cares if you’re tired, you’re sick, you have a headache, your feet hurt, you’re frustrated and annoyed, or if you need a shower. You are an adult now, and you have to take care of everything else BEFORE you can address your own needs. Self-care is not a thing, and no one cares.
It is a considerable weight to carry and even worse when you live with someone who doesn’t care, doesn’t help, and seems to think they are entitled to skip the housework because they have a paid job.
Not being appreciated is hard, and it will get more challenging as we enter into the holiday season and the work load increases. However, I’ve got this. You’ve got this. We’ve got this.
Email me if you need support, ideas, a sounding board. I know how you feel. I know what you are going through. I know how to google things to help you, me, and Mr. McGee.
I can’t help with your dishes, but I am here for you.