In the past year I have read several articles about the “emotional labor” and “mental load” of motherhood. Moms plan/coordinate everyone’s schedules, arrange carpools, schedule doctors appointments, research and schedule contractors/repairmen, plan vacations, arrange teacher conferences, locate missing household items, keep track of homework due dates, plan/coordinate meals, manage clothing needs, and even make our spouse’s To Do Lists. Our own To Do Lists are never-ending, yet somehow we become helpers even after we have delegated tasks to other family members. For example, I make the grocery list when my husband does the food shopping and he often calls me while he is in the store to ask where items are located. Many of today’s moms have inherited the job of household manager, an unpaid position with no vacation days. Frankly, it’s unfair. A few of my friends boast of households with more equitable work distribution, but this doesn’t seem to be the norm. The more women I talk to, the more I realize that most of us are in the same predicament. It is incredibly frustrating.
Lately, I’ve noticed that I’m not just carrying the mental load for my family; I am also carrying the motivational load. I find myself motivating my family members to do the things they need to, but don’t want to do. This has turned me into the household nag. I get it. They don’t want to do their homework, pick up after themselves, put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, mow the lawn, etc. Here’s the thing though, I am not their servant. I am trying to teaching them about responsibility, respect, and fairness. In most cases, what I am asking them to do is minimal compared to what I do. So in addition to asking family members to help, I have to repeat my requests and try to motivate them to do the things they clearly don’t want to do. So nagging and motivating my family have been added to my To Do List. Peachy.
While the mental load of motherhood is never-ending and thankless, the motivational load of motherhood is down-right exhausting. It is often met with rolling eyes, sighs, and unkind tones. Truth be told, it’s a bit soul destroying. As mother, household manager, and motivational extraordinaire, here’s what I want my family to know…I have ZERO desire to clean the toilet, but guess what? I do it anyway. You know what living with three boys equals? A toilet perpetually accessorized with pee. I’m not talking about pee on the toilet seat that you can quickly wipe off. I’m talking about pee that gets in every nook and cranny of the commode…the nuts, bolts, around the floor base…EVERYWHERE. And if I don’t clean it up? It dries and smells disgusting. Honestly, it’s an assault to the senses. So, here’s the deal, sweet family—if I can motivate myself to clean up your dried, smelly pee from every nook and cranny of the toilet, you can motivate yourselves to do your homework, cut the grass, and pick up after yourselves. We don’t always get to play, relax, and do whatever we want. It’s called LIFE. Suck. It. Up. And maybe, just maybe, try working on your aim!